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People briefs

For immediate use

Jan. 9, 2007

Note: To download photos, see end of release

UNC biology scholar wins $500,000
Burroughs Wellcome Fund award

Dr. Ajit P. Joglekar, a postdoctoral scholar in biology in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences, has received a $500,000, five-year award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. He is the first at UNC to win the award.

The 2007 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Awards at the Scientific Interface go to early career researchers with backgrounds in the physical/computational sciences whose work provides innovative approaches to tackle important questions in biology. Twelve awards were given nationally in 2006.

Joglekar's research focuses on the protein machinery - known as the kinetochore - that helps cells divide.

"Movement of chromosomes, the genetic material in a cell, is critical for dividing them equally between daughter cells as a cell divides," said Joglekar, whose mentor is biology professor Dr. Ted Salmon. "Errors in this process of chromosome segregation lead to human disease and aging. I am studying the structure and action of the protein machinery that generates forces needed to achieve accurate chromosome segregation."

Joglekar received master's and doctorate degrees in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Pune University in India.


Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
elects UNC professor DeSimone as fellow

UNC chemist Dr. Joseph DeSimone has been elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.
The College of Fellows' 1,000 members are considered trailblazers and outstanding bioengineers - leading the way in advancement of new technologies that improve medical care and produce higher-quality food for people throughout the world.

DeSimone pioneered environmentally friendly processes for manufacturing and dry cleaning, researched the use of fuel cells for portable power and explored the use of nanotechnology for cancer detection and drug delivery. He is inventor of record for more than 100 patents; the majority are assigned to UNC.

DeSimone is the William R. Kenan Jr. distinguished professor of chemistry and chemical engineering in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC and North Carolina State University.

DeSimone also is director of the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Environmentally Responsible Solvents and Processes, of which UNC is a partner, and the UNC Institute for Advanced Materials, Nanoscience and Technology.

In 2005, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He also was elected a 2007 fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has won major awards from the American Chemical Society.


WUNC reporter Inge garners
fellowship to explore race issues

A reporter for North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC is one of ten U.S. journalists who will explore American racial topics this month as part of a national fellowship.

Leoneda Inge, a reporter for the station, will take part in a weeklong conference on race and journalism beginning Sunday (Jan. 14) in Los Angeles. The conference is presented though the Racial Justice fellowship program, a unit of the University of Southern California's Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism.

Racial Justice Fellows will take part in sessions with scholars, advocates and other experts to discuss civil rights, equity and opportunity. Topics to be covered include the November ballot proposition on affirmative action in Michigan and two Supreme Court cases involving the assignment of public school students.

Fellows will publish or broadcast projects on racial issues as part of the program and will present them at a follow-up conference April 10-14 at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Created in 2000 with funding from the Ford Foundation, the Institute for Justice and Journalism supports journalists committed to covering complex, often polarizing issues with context and depth.

North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC is a service of UNC, broadcasting at 91.5 FM in the Triangle and Triad, at 90.9 FM in Rocky Mount and Wilson, and at 88.9 FM on the Outer Banks.


Soldier advocate receives civilian honor
for work with UNC military support program

The North Carolina National Guard recently honored a staff member with UNC's Citizen-Soldier Support Program for her efforts to help military personnel and their families in western North Carolina.

Deborah Reed, of Canton, N.C., received the North Carolina National Guard Civilian Commendation Medal and a citation during a hometown ceremony in November. Reed's citation noted her five-year service to the National Guard and described her as "a constant source of strength that has allowed the unit morale to flourish."

Reed's first work with military support programs began in 2002 when she organized a letter-writing campaign and later a homecoming ceremony to support the 211th Military Police Company when it was deployed to Afghanistan. Reed joined the staff of the Citizen-Soldier Support Program in 2005 and led efforts to restore a veterans' memorial in Canton, oversee a Veterans Day event in Cherokee and facilitate a yellow ribbon campaign in Waynesville.

The Citizen-Soldier Support Program, a collaborative effort led by UNC, is designed to serve the families of National Guard and Reserve personnel who are being deployed in unprecedented numbers and for lengthier terms of duty.

Unlike active military personnel who live on or near the military post at which they serve, Guard and Reserve members are dispersed across the state. Families of deployed Guard and Reserve members face challenges related to their geographic dispersement, and they also might lack the benefit of informal family networks that grow up around military bases and posts.

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Photo URLs:

College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Spurr, (919) 962-4093 or
Citizen-Soldier Support Program contact: David Hunt, (919) 962-0132 or