March 2007

      RENCI’s focus on futuristic disaster planning takes shape
Disasters — from hurricanes and floods in eastern North Carolina to landslides in the mountains — require responses that no one organization can address alone. The Renaissance Computing Institute brings together technologies and communities to respond. For example, RENCI is testing the unmanned aerial vehicle shown to the left. Equipped with a digital camera and programmed to receive transmissions from low-power sensors in remote locations, the vehicle can gather data from areas too dangerous or too remote to be reached by humans. In a hurricane or severe storm it can compile sensor data to pinpoint the location of flood damage or mudslides.

      Download Carolina wallpaper photos for your computer desktop
Remind yourself of Carolina every time you use your computer! Just download a new resource intended to dress up your computer desktop and leave room for software icons. Click the headline to go to a special “Wallpapers” Web site offering varied scenes of Carolina life -- glimpses from one of America’s most beautiful campus, intense action from Tar Heel basketball and soccer, and more! Carolina plans to change these images every few months, so please visit this site often. Also share your feedback at

      Media law, policy focus of new collaborative center
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Law just launched a new Center for Media Law and Policy at Carolina. The center will serve as resource for students, professionals and scholars and help provide solutions to problems as traditional legal standards are challenged by rapid technological changes. Federal Communications Commission Chairman and UNC alumnus Kevin Martin, shown at left speaking to a student, came to campus this month to help launch the center.

      Carolina needs your ideas for
Carolina wants to know what you think would improve its web site, We know that changes are overdue, so please help us plan by sending your ideas. Tell us what features you use now and what would be most useful to you in showing the vitality and relevance of Carolina's programs and people. Please send your comments to

      Thorp named College of Arts and Sciences dean
Holden Thorp, Kenan professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry, has been named the next dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, effective July 1. Thorp is a 1986 Carolina chemistry graduate who joined the faculty in 1993. He has directed the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center and helped found companies based on his university research. “He is a highly regarded chemist, a wonderful classroom teacher, and a North Carolina native with many diverse interests,” Chancellor James Moeser said. “He has served the university well in several leadership roles.”

      Pharmacy rises to 8th in NIH research funding
The School of Pharmacy ranks eighth among the nation's pharmacy schools in grants and contracts awarded by the National Institutes of Health. That is the result of an analysis conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. School researchers were awarded more than $8.2 million in NIH funding in 2006, up from $5.8 million in the previous year. The school ranked 14th in NIH funding in 2005. The success in attracting more NIH support reflects a push to build the school's research enterprise, Dean Bob Blouin says.

      UNC, GE Healthcare create center for breast cancer imaging
Carolina has partnered with GE Healthcare to establish a Center for Research Excellence in Breast Cancer Imaging to advance research and technological developments to detect, diagnose and treat breast cancer. With funding from GE Healthcare, the center will perform breast imaging research projects including evaluations of image processing in improved digital mammography. The center will be directed by Etta Pisano, (left) Kenan Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering.

      Follow the Heels during their NCAA tourney appearances
Keep up with the men’s and women’s Tar Heel basketball teams as they begin March Madness with appearances in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournaments to determine this year’s national champions. This official Department of Athletics website includes game updates, news conference transcripts, highlights, statistics and more.

The online FYI Carolina is for alumni, parents of current students and friends of the university. Through this free service, the Office of University Relations provides opportunities for you to learn about people, events and issues at Carolina. If you have comments or questions, email, telephone, (919) 962-8593 or write to the Office of University Communications, 210 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill, NC 27599-6210.