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Blood, sweat and tears

Ian B. Buchanan, MD, MPH
Kenneth Brinkhous (right) began studying the first known canine carriers of hemophilia in 1947. His research with dogs led to the creation of a blood laboratory, known today as the Francis Owen Blood Research Laboratory — which led to multiple advancements in hemophilia including a blood test, treatments, and knowledge of the disease.
Photo courtesy of the Francis Owen Blood Research Laboratory

Bruising. Unexpected bleeding. Joint pain and swelling. Daily needle injections. Social isolation. All of these struggles are part of the daily routine for someone living with hemophilia — a rare disorder that prevents the blood from clotting due to one of two missing proteins. A person with hemophilia can experience spontaneous bleeds, usually in soft tissue like muscles or joints — which swell, tighten and heat up, leading to movement loss in the joint. Bleeds in the brain can cause seizures, while those in the lungs can block airways.

Compound those symptoms with that of HIV infection: body rash, fever, sore throat, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, severe headaches. Add to that the development of AIDS, which prevents the body from fighting off infection. In the 1980s, that was life for nearly 10,000 people with hemophilia who had contracted the deadly blood borne disease through weekly blood infusions.

In 1981, researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill found themselves at the epicenter of this perfect global storm. But it was the curiosity of one man —nearly thirty years prior — that set in motion events that would open a vast field of research at UNC and draw in hundreds of researchers across the university.

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Announcing leadership appointments

Dr. Roper has appointed several faculty members to leadership positions in the School of Medicine. The UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine senior executive team has been expanded, as well.

Dear Colleagues,

I write to you today about changes to our leadership structure in the UNC School of Medicine. Effective immediately, I am appointing several faculty members to new administrative positions.

Wesley Burks, chair of the department of pediatrics, will become Executive Dean of the School of Medicine, following the departure of Marschall Runge from UNC. Wesley joined UNC in December 2011 as chair of pediatrics, and is an internationally-renowned expert in pediatric allergy. In this position, he will focus on the School’s teaching and research missions. Wesley will continue to hold his positions as chair of pediatrics and physician-in-chief of the N.C. Children’s Hospital.

Paul Godley, Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development, will become Vice Dean for Finance and Administration, succeeding Cam Enarson, who is transitioning to the new role of Senior Vice President for Carolina Value in the UNC Health Care System. We will conduct an internal search for the position of Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Faculty Development.

John Buse, chief of the division of endocrinology and metabolism in the department of medicine, and deputy director of the NC TraCS Institute will become Director of the Institute, and serve as principal investigator for the NIH CTSA grant that funds the NC TraCS Institute. He succeeds Runge in this role. He will continue in his role as division chief.

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UNC’s Structural Biology Core Facilities Help Move Research Forward

For a laboratory to synthesize proteins -- the cell’s key movers and shakers – it takes time, expertise, and equipment. Some laboratories choose to invest in their own space to generate home-baked proteins, whereas others outsource the job to commercial companies that charge a premium for the desired experimental ingredient.

But a third option exists at UNC that many researchers might not know about – the Antibody and the Protein Expression and Purification Core Facilities in the Center for Structural Biology (CSB). Michael Miley, PhD, director of both core facilities, says these on-site entities can produce milligram amounts of high quality, purified proteins at a fraction of what commercial entities charge.

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Big Science More Important Than Ever

Dr. Marschall S. Runge

The following is an opinion piece by TraCS director Dr. Marschall S. Runge, originally published on the Huffington Post website on 5/12/2014.

Alvin M. Weinberg introduced the term "big science" into the national lexicon in 1961. Big science is research that requires the coordination of massive resources, including thousands of our best minds and cutting-edge technologies to solve massive, complex problems.

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