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News Briefs

For immediate use

June 7, 2006 -- No. 300

Local Angle: Morehead City
Photo note: See end of story


Damania receives $400,000 award
for research on infectious disease

Dr. Blossom Andrea Damania, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at UNC, has been named a 2006 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease.

She is the first Carolina faculty member to receive the award, which carries $400,000 in research support for five years. Damania, a tumor virologist, also is a research faculty member at UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The award supports researchers who are accomplished but also still early in their careers in the study of the origin and development of diseases.

Damania joined the UNC faculty in 2000. She studies Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), which is associated with a number of human malignancies. Her research focuses on how the virus stays hidden in the body and survives the lifetime of the host.

Damania's awards and honors include a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Scholar Award, the American Association for Cancer Research's Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Scholar Award and an American Heart Association Established Investigator Award. She also received awards from the American Herpes Foundation and was named a V Foundation for Cancer Research Scholar.

Damania earned a bachelor's degree with highest honors in biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College in 1992 and a doctorate in molecular biology and microbiology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. Before coming to UNC, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the New England Regional Primate Research Center at Harvard Medical School.


Rising junior from Morehead City earns
$8,000 NOAA scholarship, internship

Rising junior Charlie Waters of Morehead City, a biology and environmental studies major at UNC, has won an Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The award will provide $8,000 in academic assistance for his junior and senior years and a 10-week paid internship next summer at an NOAA or NOAA-approved facility. Waters also will receive travel expenses for participation in a Hollings Scholarship conference after the internship.

At UNC, Waters is a member of the Carolina Environmental Student Alliance and co-president of the club cross country and track team. He was valedictorian at West Carteret High School in 2004 and received a Pogue Scholarship from UNC, a merit-based award of $7,500 for each of four years of study.

The scholarships are designed to increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, boost public understanding and support for stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere and improve environmental literacy. They also aim to recruit and train students for careers in natural resource and science agencies or as teachers of oceanic and atmospheric science.

The awards are named in honor of Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina, who retired from the U.S. Senate last year after 39 years of service.

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Note: Waters can be reached at
Damania can be reached at

Photo: To download a photo of Damania, go to

UNC School of Medicine contact: Les Lang, (919) 843-9687,
News Services contact: L.J. Toler, (919) 962-8589