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The Self-Made Scientist

Andrew Hinton was working in the shipyards around Norfolk, Virginia, when his young daughter was diagnosed with severe food allergies. That diagnosis, as stressful as it was, gave him the passion to change the course of his life, which led him to the UNC School of Medicine where he is enrolled in the Biomedical and Biological Sciences Program and beginning work towards earning his PhD.

Andrew Hinton

Like a lot of young men from Virginia's Tidewater region, Andrew Hinton found himself working in the shipyards. And like a lot of those men, it was practicality not passion that led him there.

Hinton was looking for a way out of a bind. His grandmother, his anchor, his support, had recently passed away. All of a sudden, his college classes became a secondary concern. He needed to make some money. So he enrolled in an apprenticeship program typically offered to recent high school grads.

"They told me if I did the apprenticeship I could work and they would also pay for me to finish school," Hinton said.

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Thanks to a UNC research project, she can walk again

As UNC geneticist Jonathan Berg gears up to lead a $9.7-million renewal of the NCGENES project, we look at a story from the original study and how it changed the fortunes of a woman from Goldsboro, NC.

CHAPEL HILL, NC – When she was six, a mysterious ailment caused Elizabeth Davis to walk on her toes. Kids began making fun of her. Doctors couldn't figure out why she walked like this. Then her condition got worse. She began using crutches. Eventually, she didn't want to leave the house and would rely on a wheel chair. She went on a diagnostic odyssey for decades and her condition never improved despite various treatments and even surgeries until she came to Jane Fan, MD, a neurologist at UNC who thought Elizabeth's condition had an underlying genetic component that typical diagnostics couldn't find. Fan thought Elizabeth might benefit from enrolling in NCGENES – North Carolina Clinical Genomic Evaluation by NextGen Exome Sequencing.

This was a four-year $6.4-million NIH-funded initiative led by Jim Evans, MD, PhD, the Bryson Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Medicine. Researchers sequenced the genomes of hundreds of people to develop best practices for diagnostic tools, some of which clinical geneticists now use to help guide health care for North Carolinians and people around the world.

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Striking a Balance

People with cerebral palsy (CP) are now living longer than they ever have before. But a longer life with CP can include more complex health issues that providers are struggling to accommodate.

One physical therapist at UNC wants to change that.

When Sarah Dowd was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2013, the news hit her like a shock wave. Her family has no history of cancer. She was only 48 years old.

For anyone facing a cancer diagnosis, the physical, mental, and emotional challenges are immense, but Dowd had to face an additional hurdle — she has cerebral palsy.

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Kenan Charitable Trust Awards $1.5 million to UNC Health Affairs Schools

The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust has awarded the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill $1.5 million to establish interprofessional clinical experiences for health professions students in rural areas of the state, launching the UNC Rural Interprofessional Health Initiative (RIPHI).

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation's first public university, serves North Carolina, the United States, and the world through teaching, research, and public service. The proposed UNC Rural Interprofessional Health Initiative is a joint effort of the health professions schools at UNC, each of which has a similar mission – improve and promote the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians, improve public health and eliminate health inequities, advance and advocate for health care through education, practice, research, innovation and collaboration.

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Media Contact:

Michelle Maclay, Communications Director