Around Campus

New faculty enhance research, innovation

Carolina schools' latest hires will treat disease with gene therapy, train students for pharmaceutical jobs and more.

Graphic with headshot photos of five faculty members. Their names, listed as follows, are underneath their photos: Patricia Termini; William Payne; Erika Yazawa; Tess Thompson; and Mya Roberson.
(Zack Hall/UNC Creative)

Carolina hired 204 new faculty members over the summer. In this cross-section of the latest hires in the University’s professional schools, meet five faculty members who are:

  • Experimenting with gene therapy to treat disease.
  • Finding ways to improve support for people with cancer.
  • Preparing students for regulatory jobs in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Seeking ways to increase equity in cancer care.
  • Studying the use of technology in art and creative endeavors.

William “Willie” Payne

School of Information and Library Science

Payne, an assistant professor, studies how technology can help people to express themselves creatively. In collaboration with STEM from Dance, Payne produced the coding environment danceON that helps people to leverage their body movement while engaging in artistic practices across data science computing and dance. Payne also developed the music notation software SoundCells with blind musicians at the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School.

Payne earned three degrees from the University of Colorado Boulder ­— a bachelor’s in music composition and a bachelor’s and master’s in computer science. He completed a doctorate in music technology at New York University.

Mya Roberson

Gillings School of Global Public Health

Roberson is an assistant professor of health policy and management. She is a social epidemiologist and health services researcher working to achieve equity in cancer care delivery, especially among Black people in the southern United States. She bridges patient engagement with approaches using large healthcare data such as administrative claims and electronic medical record data. Roberson’s research includes work on population-level trends in cancer treatment, survivorship care for people living with metastatic breast cancer and improving access to genetic and genomic services delivery for marginalized populations.

Roberson’s degrees include a bachelor’s in public health from Brown University and a master of science in public health and doctorate in epidemiology, both from Gillings.

Patricia “Tricia” Termini

Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Termini is an associate professor in the school’s pharmacotherapy and experimental therapeutics division. She directs the new master of professional science in regulatory science program, which trains regulatory professionals for the pharmaceutical industry and contributes to North Carolina’s economy.

Termini has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and consulting industries focused on regulatory affairs strategy, execution and project management. She has worked on pre-approval and post-approval regulatory activities in therapeutics areas including dermatology, infectious disease, oncology and rare diseases.

She holds a bachelor of science in marine science from Stockton University and a master’s in regulatory affairs and quality assurance from Temple University.

Tess Thompson

School of Social Work

An assistant professor, Thompson studies the social context of health and illness, with the goal of improving health, social and psychological outcomes for people affected by cancer. She examines ways to support people with cancer, their friends and family members, studying how food, housing and transportation needs affect them. At UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, she will collaborate on cancer prevention and control, survivorship and caregiving.

Thompson earned a doctorate in social work and a master of public health from Washington University in St. Louis; a master of English studies from University of Oxford; and a bachelor’s in English from Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Erika Yazawa

UNC School of Medicine

Dr. Yazawa is an assistant professor of neonatal-perinatal medicine in the school’s pediatrics department. She will work in the gene therapy center on a technique to transport genetic instructions to specific parts of the body to treat disease more effectively.

Dr. Yazawa received a bachelor of science from Boston College and completed a doctor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. She was a pediatrics resident at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and trained in neonatal-perinatal medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Coming soon: a look at some new faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.