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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Eight endowed professorships awarded

Eight faculty members have been named to endowed professorships. They are:

Kenan Professors



Nancy Allbritton

Career at Carolina: Professor and chair of the UNC-NC State Joint Department in Biomedical Engineering since 2009 and professor of chemistry since 2007

Research specialty: World-renowned pioneer in the areas of bioanalytical chemistry and biomedical engineering who holds 11 patents, with eight patent applications pending; known especially for her work in the growing area of single-cell analysis and in cellular signal transduction underlying the heterogeneity of human cancer

Accomplishments: Her discoveries as a scholar and inventor have been the basis of new technologies for biomedical investigations that have led to the creation of several successful companies, including Cell Biosciences and Cell Microsystems.



Joseph Kieber

Career at Carolina: Professor of biology since 2004

Research specialty: International leader in the study of cell signaling in plants – how cells communicate with one another to regulate both growth and development. This is a critical question in understanding such things as how fertilized eggs develop as well as the causes of cancer and aging.

Accomplishments: His work has special relevance to the challenge of producing food in sustainable and efficient ways in response to climate change and the world’s increasing population. He has produced more than 90 peer-reviewed publications with more than 10,000 citations.



Gary Pielak

Career at Carolina: Professor of chemistry since 2000

Research specialty: Scientist known for cutting edge work on how proteins function in the complex environment of living cells.

Accomplishments: He is one of only two Carolina faculty members to receive the National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award, the most prestigious award given by the NIH. He has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles in the top journals in his field, resulting in over 5,000 citations and has had three manuscripts accepted at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) in one year. His international standing is evident from the nearly 50 talks he presented over the last four years.

Cary C. Boshamer Professors



Jianwen Cai

Career at Carolina: Professor of biostatistics since 2004

Research specialty: One of the top living experts on the analysis of multivariate, time-to-event data. Such analyses are fundamental to health research in a variety of domains.

Accomplishments: Her case-cohort expertise was used to elucidate how the relationship between mortality and body mass index changes with age – a discovery that fundamentally altered how physicians advise patients about weight as they age. She has published more than 160 peer-reviewed articles resulting in nearly 10,000 citations. She is currently president of the International Biometric
Society- Eastern North Atlantic Region. She is primary investigator for the Hispanic Community Health Study, the largest study ever conducted of Hispanic populations.



Blossom Damania

Career at Carolina: Professor of microbiology and immunology since 2011

Research specialty: Highly regarded scientist in the study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus and other related herpesviruses.

Accomplishments: Widely acknowledged as one of the most important researchers in virology in the world today, she has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles. The prestigious awards she has won include the American Association for Cancer Research Gertrude Elion Research Scholar (2004), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar (2005–2010), the American Heart Association Established Investigator Award (2006–2011), the Burroughs Wellcome Investigator in Infectious Disease Award (2006–2011) and Carolina’s Hettleman Prize (2008).



Beth Mayer-Davis

Career at Carolina: Professor of nutrition since 2008 and professor of medicine since 2009; chair of the Department of Nutrition in the Gillings School of Global Public Health since 2008.

Research specialty: An internationally recognized expert on diabetes, she is best known for her work on childhood diabetes, especially among minority populations.

Accomplishments: She has published 240 peer-reviewed articles, producing more than 10,000 citations. President Obama appointed her to the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health; she has also served as president of the American Diabetes Association
(ADA). She has contributed to the ADA Standards of Medical Care and Nutrition Recommendations for many years.



Dennis Mumby

Career at Carolina: Professor of communication studies since 2002 and former chair of the Department of Communication Studies from 2005 to 2013

Research specialty: A leading global authority in communication, especially organizational communication.

Accomplishments: One of the founders of critical organizational studies, Mumby wrote the highly influential 1987 essay “The Political Function of the Narrative,” which introduced the concept of narrative. His book “Communication and Power in Organizations” (1988) helped define the agenda for the entire field. He has written seven books, 30 book chapters and 24 peer-reviewed articles that have produced nearly 6,000 citations.



Louise McReynolds

Career at Carolina: Professor of history since 2006

Research specialty: Internationally recognized as one of the most prominent and interesting historians of late Imperial Russia.

Accomplishments: Through exhaustive and highly original research, McReynolds has done much to discount the idea that late Imperial Russia was not sufficiently industrialized for a middle class to develop its own political vision. Instead, by exploring the history of popular culture, McReynolds reveals the vibrant nature of the Russian middle class during this era. Her first book on this era offered a careful analysis of Russia’s newspapers; her second examined the leisure activities of Russians; her most recent book explored the cultural significance of murder that bears on Russia’s path to modernity.