Dr. Terry Magnuson is the Sarah Graham Kenan professor and founding chair of the department of genetics in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. He is organizing a campuswide center for genome sciences.

He graduated from the University of Redlands, majoring in biology. His thesis work was completed in the Sloan-Kettering division of Cornell University, focusing on cell surface organization during early mouse development. Magnuson completed postdoctoral work at the University of California at San Francisco, where he characterized several developmental mutations affecting the early mouse embryo.

In 1984, Magnuson moved to Case Western Reserve University, where he worked his way through the ranks to professor and director of the Developmental Biology Center, and developed a research program focused on the use of genetics and genomics tools toward understanding how the mammalian embryo is patterned. He came to UNC-Chapel Hill last summer.

Magnuson's honors include a National Institutes of Health New Investigator Award, the March of Dimes Basil O'Connor Award, the Pew Scholars Award and election (twice) as the "outstanding graduate mentor" of the year. He is a founding member of the International Mammalian Genome Society and serves as an elected member of the Secretariat of this society.
In addition, he is an elected member of the board of the Society of Developmental Biology. He has also served as co-chair of the mouse Chromosome 7 committee and was chair of the Genetic Basis of Disease Review Committee for the NIH. He serves on the editorial advisory board of two journals, Development and Mammalian Genome, and is co-editor-in-chief of a third journal, Genesis: The Journal of Genetics and Development.

Magnuson also served as co-director of the summer course known as the Molecular Embryology of the Mouse at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. His research continues to focus on genomics and mammalian developmental genetics.

The genome projects are generating an unprecedented amount of information regarding the identification and structure of genes. The comprehensive catalog of all known human genes together with their nucleotide sequence will intensify research efforts on exploration of gene function, both individually and collectively, at the molecular, cellular, organismal and population levels...

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Dr. H. Shelton Earp III, director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a 1970 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. After a medical internship at Vanderbilt University and service in the U.S. Army, he returned to Chapel Hill where he performed his residency and fellowship, joining the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty in 1976.

He is the Lineberger professor of cancer research and a professor in the departments of medicine and pharmacology. In his role as director he helps coordinate clinical care and research in the School of Medicine, other health affairs schools and UNC Hospitals. He has helped establish cancer epidemiology and prevention research programs with faculty in the School of Public Health.

His laboratory conducts basic research on the behavior of cancer cells, studying signals that regulate cell growth, differentiation and death. His group recently has isolated and sequenced two new genes involved in a cell's decision to divide or die. He has authored 100 biomedical-research papers and serves as the principal investigator on four grants.

Earp has been the recipient of several School of Medicine teaching awards, including the Kaiser Permanente Excellence in Teaching Award, and has served on boards and chaired national review committees for the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute. He is an elected member of the American Association of Professors, the American Society of Clinical Investigation and was recently elected to the board of directors of the American Association of Cancer Institutes.


Some gene mutations are carried by the germ cells, sperm or egg, from parent to child; these can result in inherited illnesses. Mutations, both spontaneous or caused by environmental exposure, also occur in the body's other cells during the course of our everyday existence. These single mutations in our non-germ cells are often harmless and the cell simply dies. Mutations in growth regulatory genes, however, can start a cell down the path to cancer...

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Dr. Richard Boucher received a bachelor of arts degree from Yale University in 1966 and his M.D. from Columbia University in 1970. He joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine faculty in 1977 and became a professor of medicine in 1985.

Boucher has directed the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, since 1990 and the Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center since 1988. He is co-director of the UNC Gene Therapy Center and serves on the medical school dean's advisory committee. Boucher has published more than 300 articles on cystic fibrosis and gene therapy. In 1992, he helped develop a gene "knockout" mouse model for cystic fibrosis.

Boucher received the Doris Tulcin Cystic Fibrosis Research Award and the Paul di Sant'Agnese Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and an Established Investigator Award for the American Heart Association, among other honors. In May 1997, he was named William Rand Kenan professor, department of medicine.

Boucher is the principal investigator of two Program Project Grants and one Specialized Center of Research Grant from the National Institutes of Health. The Boucher lab continues its major interest in the functions of airway epithelia in health and disease. Clinical studies include trials of novel drugs and gene transfer vectors for cystic fibrosis and mechanisms of exacerbations in chronic bronchitis.


The genomics revolution has afforded unparalleled opportunities to understand in detail the pathogenesis of human diseases and design and implement novel, revolutionary therapies. However, the genomics revolution requires that a sequence of "follow-on" technologies be developed...

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Dr. Jeff Dangl is the John N. Couch professor of biology and a member of the curriculum in genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received bachelor's degrees in biology and modern literature from Stanford University in 1980. His doctoral work was in the genetics department of Stanford Medical School.

In 1986, he was awarded a National Science Foundation Plant Biology Fellowship to pursue postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute of Plant Breeding in Cologne, Germany, in the department of Professor Klaus Hahlbrock. In 1989, he began his own group at the Max Delbrück Laboratory, also in Cologne. From 1986 to 1995, the Dangl lab contributed significantly to the use of Arabidopsis genetics as a tool to analyze plant-pathogen interactions. The group was among the first to isolate a plant disease resistance gene, to show that the pathogen molecule triggering this resistance gene was a virulence factor and to isolate a series of mutants that misregulated the hypersensitive cell death associated with plant disease resistance responses.

In 1995, the Dangl lab moved to UNC-Chapel Hill. Dangl is a past member of the North American Arabidopsis Steering Committee and the NSF Eukaryotic Genetics Grants Panel. He serves on editorial boards for CELL, The Plant Journal, Trends in Plant Science and Current Opinion in Plant Biology. Research in the Dangl lab is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the NSF, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Syngenta. The Dangl lab collaborates with Syngenta researchers to understand how plants respond to pathogens, with the aim of engineering plants that can resist infection with less chemical input.


During the week of Dec. 10, 1999, an international consortium announced that it had completed the first genome sequence of a higher plant. This small weed, Arabidopsis thaliana, according to a report in Science, could offer a window into the genetic makeup of all plants, including important crops. One scientist predicted that the genome sequence might lead to the development of crops better suited to developing countries, plants designed to soak up more carbon dioxide and other applications yet to be imagined.

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