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News Briefs

For immediate use

Sept. 11, 2007

UNC schizophrenia research center receives $10 million renewal grant

A schizophrenia research center based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a 5-year, $10 million renewal grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The renewal grant, to be paid in annual installments of more than $1.9 million, will enable the center to continue its ongoing research program of five projects, said John Gilmore, M.D., the center’s director and principal investigator.

The Silvio O. Conte Center for the Neuroscience of Mental Disorders, also known as the UNC Conte Center, brings together a diverse group of experts from UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University and the University of Utah to conduct comprehensive studies of brain development in the earliest stages of life through early adulthood, when schizophrenia is typically diagnosed. It was established in 2002 with an initial 5-year grant from the NIMH of more than $9.3 million.

The projects include two human clinical studies and three basic science studies.  The two clinical studies study brain development in normally developing children and in children at high risk for schizophrenia in the first years of life, and during puberty and adolescence, two phases of rapid brain development thought to be affected by schizophrenia.  The three basic science projects study how different genes that increase the risk of schizophrenia in humans change how the brain develops in animal models, Gilmore said.

Two recent journal publications are based on UNC Conte Center work. One, published in the February 2007 issue of Radiology, found that 26 percent of babies born vaginally experienced intracranial hemorrhages or bleeding in and around the brain.  The other, published in the Feb. 7, 2007, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, found that the regions of the brain that control vision and other sensory information grow dramatically in the first few months following birth, while the area that controls abstract thought experiences very little growth during the same period.

School of Medicine contact: Stephanie Crayton, (919) 966-2860 or

Chemistry professor receives Fulbright to study in Russia

UNC-Chapel Hill chemistry professor Malcolm D.E. Forbes has received a Fulbright Scholar award to study in Russia.

Forbes will conduct research at the International Tomography Center in Novosibirsk, Russia, beginning in mid-2008 and continue to live and work in Siberia for eight months.

While in Russia, Forbes will carry out research on free radical interactions involved in the degradation of pharmaceutical compounds in the environment, lecture on reaction mechanisms at Novosibirsk State University and write a textbook with Russian colleagues on the field of spin chemistry.

Forbes is one of about 800 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad next year through the Fulbright Scholar Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The program, established in 1946, operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Fulbright Scholars have the opportunity to observe political, economic, educational and cultural institutions; to exchange ideas and to embark on ventures important to the welfare of the world’s inhabitants.

Fulbright Scholars are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Forbes, who has been at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1990, received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Weaver Spurr, (919) 962-4093,


Aldrich wins national entrepreneurship mentoring award

Howard E. Aldrich, Kenan professor and chair of sociology in UNC-Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences, won a mentoring award from the entrepreneurship division of the national Academy of Management.

Aldrich, who also is an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Kenan-Flagler Business School, was honored in August for his work with graduate students at the academy’s annual meeting in Philadelphia. The theme of the conference was “Doing Well by Doing Good.”

Aldrich, who has been at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1982, researches entrepreneurship, the origins of new organizational populations, gender differences in business management and organizational evolution. Among his research projects is a study of the process by which entrepreneurial teams are founded, and it focuses on the similarity and differences between team members.

He has served on the boards of a number of startup companies, particularly in the high-tech and information technology sectors.

In 2000, the academy’s organization and management theory division recognized Aldrich for a distinguished career of scholarly achievement. That same year, his book “Organizations Evolving” won the academy’s best management book award.

Founded in 1936, the academy serves more than 18,000 members in 102 nations.

College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Spurr, (919) 962-4093,