UNC Research

The Known Unknowns

In 2016, a group of North Carolina researchers published evidence of high rates of PFAS in the Cape Fear River basin. While this unregulated family of chemicals is used in the production of everyday goods, its impact on human health is largely unknown. For the past year, scientists from UNC-Chapel Hill, five other UNC system universities, and Duke University, have researched these potentially dangerous chemicals found in drinking water sources across the state.

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Tuned into Neuroscience

There are a host of ways neuroscientists can study the brain. Some analyze its chemistry, others its structure. UNC researcher Flavio Frohlich examines its electrical system, what he calls the “language of the brain,” and investigates how miscommunication in these signals can play a role in psychiatric illnesses.

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Augmented Health Care

Henry Fuchs is always looking 20 years ahead, and two decades from now the computer scientist thinks augmented-reality eyeglasses will be the norm. Fuchs and his team of students and colleagues are developing an augmented-reality program to aid in laparoscopic surgery training and, maybe one day, revolutionize minimally invasive surgery.

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A Veteran’s View

During his deployments to Afghanistan in 2012 and 2014, Reuben Mabry relied on his artwork for respite. Now a master’s student in UNC’s studio art program, he uses his eight-year career in the U.S. Army as the foundation for his work, creating paintings about the indoctrination of military members.

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Back Where it all Started

Jared Richards recalls childhood memories walking through the halls of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. and the awe of all that surrounded him. Now a research internship is making it possible for Richards to return to museum and contribute to the world-renowned institution.

Stepping into the Lab

For the past year and a half, Jackson Richards has been working with Jason Franz, assistant professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, to investigate balance impairment and fall risks in adults due to aging and neurological disease or injury. Their goal is to introduce new rehabilitative approaches for preserving mobility and preventing falls.

In Your Own Backyard

Climate change affects the timing of spring leaf growth, insect activity, bird migration, and breeding. Allen Hurlbert, associate professor in the Department of Biology, leads undergraduate students in surveying arthropods – like caterpillars, beetles and spiders – to see if plants, insects, and birds all respond to climate change to the same degree.

Making Rounds in Rocky Mount

A group of high school students start their summer mornings walking up and down business and residential streets of Rocky Mount. Their routes are dotted with stops to talk to business owners and curious residents wondering what kids in bright green t-shirts are doing all over town. As the teens make their rounds, they update business information into a phone app.

Over 800 miles away, students in Chicago start their day the same way, and have been for almost 10 years.

Both parties work for MAPSCorps – a nonprofit that employs local teenagers to map businesses in their community. The information is updated every year, and the data are gathered on a free, online mapping program.

UNC researchers have teamed up with counterparts at the University of Chicago, community partners, and local teens to map businesses in Rocky Mount and help the public discover resources in Nash and Edgecombe counties.

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The Rhymes in my Head