Drs. Anne Justice and Vineet Menachery, postdoctoral fellows in epidemiology at the Gillings School, have received The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s 2014 Postdoctoral Awards for Research Excellence. They accepted their awards from Dr. Barbara Entwisle, distinguished professor of sociology and vice chancellor for research, and Dr. Mark Heise, chair of the advisory committee on postdoctoral scholars and professor of genetics at UNC, at a November 17 reception.
The research excellence awards are given annually by the UNC office of postdoctoral affairs in recognition of the research promise demonstrated by individual postdoctoral scholars in any and all disciplines at UNC. They are designed to assist recipients in their continued professional development by supporting them in conference travel, purchasing books and lab materials, and engaging in other professional scholarly activities.
Dr. Justice obtained a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Kansas in 2011, focusing upon human population genetics of Latin America. She came to work as a postdoctoral fellow in the The Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology in the Cardiovascular Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory, under the direction Drs. Kari North and Gerardo Heiss.
She is involved in several projects investigating the genetic characterization of anthropometric risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), including body mass index (BMI), weight change and central adiposity. She also has studied the relationship between genetic variants and nutrition, physical activity and smoking and their influence on adiposity in ethnically diverse populations.
Dr. Justice will continue to integrate her skills as an anthropologist, population geneticist and epidemiologist to bring together biocultural, genetic and public health perspectives to investigate complex questions related to cardiometabolic risk across the life course.
Dr. Menachery earned a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from Clemson University in 2004 and a doctorate in immunology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2010. Since joining the laboratory of epidemiology professor Dr. Ralph Baric, Dr. Menachery has worked to understand the host immune response to highly virulent respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and pathogenic flu strains including H1N1-2009 and H5N1.
His work, which advances platforms for coronavirus treatment, evaluation of pathogenic potential, and the role of host genetics in respiratory disease outcomes, has been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Together, his research has potential to produce important findings for the recognition, treatment and alleviation of emerging virus infections and human disease.
Eight other postdoctoral scholars from across UNC also received the award.
Information about past winners and the application process is available on the UNC Research website.