Researchers use genes as early warning system for harmful algae blooms

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Researchers use genes as early warning system for harmful algae blooms

 

New technique can help researchers forecast the appearance of a harmful algal bloom, providing communities time to mitigate economic distress from fish kills and poor water quality

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Dec. 2, 2016) – In one of the most comprehensive studies to date, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have sequenced the genes of a harmful algae bloom, unveiling never-before-seen interactions between algae and bacteria that are thought to propagate their growth. The work also opens up the possibility of forecasting the appearance of a bloom and taking measures to prevent it – work that can save millions, even billions of dollars, in economic losses worldwide.

 

“This technique has given us one of the most detailed looks to date into the strategy algae use to grow uncontrollably, leading to devastating consequences in our coastal communities,” said Adrian Marchetti, who led the research in UNC’s department of marine sciences. “It is also one of the first efforts to get the algae to tell us what’s going on in their natural environment, which wasn’t possible to this degree before. Now, states have the potential to be more prepared than ever to warn the public about the potential of a harmful bloom and mitigate their effects.”

 

Harmful algal blooms occur when colonies of algae—simple plant-like microorganisms that live in the sea and freshwater—grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, oysters and other shellfish, marine mammals and birds. Algae can grow uncontrollably when too many nutrients overload the water system, making conditions ripe for a bloom especially when combined with increased temperatures and a dry spell after a heavy rain.

 

In the past decade, harmful algal blooms have increased not only in the Neuse River Estuary, off the coast of North Carolina where the study took place, but have been reported in every U.S. coastal state. In the U.S. alone, experts estimate that harmful algae blooms have been responsible for more than $82 million in annual economic losses due to fish kills and poor water quality that makes water undrinkable and limits recreational use. With climate change, harmful algal blooms are anticipated to rise, further affecting our coastal and lake communities.

 

“There isn’t a way to prevent these blooms just yet, but the ability to predict them opens up that possibility, should future technologies or strategies arise that allow researchers and state officials to do so,” said Weida Gong, a graduate student who led the research with Marchetti.

 

Gong, Marchetti, an assistant professor in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, and colleagues, including Hans Paerl, one of the world’s foremost experts on algal blooms, sequenced a harmful bloom in the Neuse River Estuary, which empties into Pamlico Sound, and compared it to algae in an area of the estuary that were not experiencing a bloom. The comparison allowed the researchers to see which genes algae (specifically the blooming dinoflagellates, the main driver of this bloom) express when growing rapidly against the genes they express under normal conditions.

 

Marchetti, Gong, Paerl and colleagues found that, when in bloom, algae ramp up the expression of genes that help facilitate the exchange of vitamins and other nutrients with bacteria in what may be a mutually beneficial relationship. For example, the algae expressed genes that make their surfaces sticky, making it easier for the bacteria to attach and acquire nutrients from the algae and vice versa. The exchange is also a lot more intimate than ever known to be before, such that the algae appear to produce nutrients in the form that bacteria can absorb and vice versa.

 

Until now, methods to understand microbial interactions within an algae bloom have been very limited. In order to see how algae respond to increased nutrients, researchers had to take the algae out of their natural environment and test them in a lab. They would also have to test which species are present and how each was affected, a very time intensive process that still did not provide much information about how algae were interacting with other microorganisms in their environment. With these new sequencing techniques, all the researchers have to do is sequence the microbes in the water, which tells them which species are present and how they respond.

 

“That’s the power of this technique,” said Paerl, a distinguished professor at UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences. “It gets the algae to tell us how they respond to changes in their natural environment – and that’s the best way for us to understand the cause and effect relationship that is going to help intervene in targeted and meaningful ways to protect our communities.”

 

The work will appear in the Dec. 2 issue of The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology.

 

– Carolina –

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

YouTube video of Adrian Marchetti: Watch here

 

Communications and Public Affairs contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

 

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kosorok elected AAAS fellow

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UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kosorok elected AAAS fellow

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Nov. 21, 2016) – Michael R. Kosorok, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill biostatics professor, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

 

With this announcement, Carolina now boasts 72 fellows among its current faculty.

 

Election as a fellow, a tradition that began in 1874, is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers for their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.

 

Kosorok, W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, was honored for his distinguished contributions to biostatistics, in survival analysis, empirical processes and semiparametric models, statistical learning theory and personalized medicine, and for extraordinary administrative service.

 

Kosorok has led a number of National Institutes of Health grants, including a Big Data to Knowledge in Biomedicine grant to train students from multiple disciplines to develop career-long relationships with big data. He co-leads the National Cancer Institute’s Statistical Methods for Cancer Clinical Trials to develop new methods for the design and analysis of cancer clinical trials.

 

Since 2006, he has become the chair of biostatistics, professor of statistics and operations research and member of the University’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. He serves as director of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute’s biostatistics core and as research fellow at the Cecil B. Sheps Center for Health Services Research.

 

Among his honors are fellowship in the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and American Statistical Association and numerous invitations to give distinguished lectures throughout his career.

 

The AAAS will honor Kosorok and 390 other fellows on Feb. 18 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during its 2017 annual meeting in Boston.

 

—Carolina—

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

UNC Communications and Public Affairs contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health: David Pesci, (919) 962-2600, dpesci@email.unc.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Study finds disparities in drinking water quality in Wake County, N.C.

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Study finds disparities in drinking water quality in Wake County, N.C.

 

Predominantly black neighborhoods excluded from municipal water service have poorer quality drinking water than nearby neighborhoods with access to municipal services.

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Nov. 17, 2016) – A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reveals inequities in water quality in central North Carolina.

 

In Wake County, some predominantly African-American neighborhoods completely lack access to the municipal water system. As a result, residents are exposed to notably higher quantities of microbial contaminants via well water.

 

The study’s corresponding author is Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her co-author is Frank Stillo, an alumnus of the same department who currently works in UNC’s Department of the Environment, Heath and Safety.

 

The researchers’ findings, titled “Drinking Water Quality and Health Disparities in North Carolina Neighborhoods Excluded from Municipal Water Service,” were published online Nov. 10 by the American Journal of Public Health.

 

In previous studies, MacDonald Gibson and colleagues identified neighborhoods in Wake County that depend on private wells for drinking water. In many cases, these neighborhoods are home to largely African-American populations, but are surrounded by mostly-white neighborhoods that do have municipal water access.

 

After identifying these neighborhoods, researchers went on to determine that residents are more likely to visit an emergency room for acute gastrointestinal illness than are individuals from nearby neighborhoods with public water system connections.

 

Continuing the investigation, the most recent study shares the results of direct water quality surveys conducted by the research team in these same areas. Laboratory testing revealed that residents are indeed being exposed to significantly higher quantities of microbial contaminants, including bacteria associated with human fecal waste.

 

Nearly 30 percent of the 171 private well water samples tested positive for coliform bacteria, and more than six percent tested positive for E. coli. In samples from households on the municipal system, results for both contaminants were only a fraction of one percent.

 

Based on these findings, the study’s co-authors estimated that more than one-fifth of the underserved communities’ 114 annual emergency department visits for acute gastrointestinal illness could be prevented if municipal water service were extended.

 

—Carolina—

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

UNC Communications and Public Affairs contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health: David Pesci, (919) 962-2600,

dpesci@email.unc.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists discover method for sculpting how chemicals spread in fluid flows

 

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Scientists discover method for sculpting how chemicals spread in fluid flows

 

Solely adjusting the aspect ratio of a pipe – regardless of its shape – precisely controls how medicine, pollutants, nutrients and chemicals travel down it and hit their target

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Nov. 17, 2016) — Art was created with proportions in mind so spaces would make mathematical sense. Now two mathematicians from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and their team have created art of their own: a method that precisely sculpts how fluids spread chemicals as they travel to hit their target.

 

The work, to appear in the Nov. 17 advance online issue of Science, has profound implications in fields such as medicine, chemistry and environmental management, for example, where having the ability to precisely control how drugs, chemicals and pollutants approach their destination is potentially critical for optimizing their effect, potency and lifespan.

 

“You might want a chemical, for example, to hit its target all at once or you might want it to build up gradually,” said McLaughlin, chair of UNC-Chapel Hill’s department of mathematics. “Until now, scientists had little control on the exact way for a chemical to do that. This work gives them a simple method so that they can achieve either of these goals — or anything in between.”

 

McLaughlin and his colleague, Roberto Camassa, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, revealed that the secret to such control lies solely in the relative dimensions of the tube, not the properties of the fluid or the chemical dissolved within it. Specifically they showed that the relationship between a pipe’s width and height — or aspect ratio — governs the shape of the chemical spread as it flows with the fluid down the tube.

 

A circle and square are just as wide as they are tall, while an ellipse and rectangle are wider in one dimension than the other. By squishing the tube away from being a perfect circle, the researchers showed that they can change the way that a solute reaches its target: Solute traveling down a skinny pipe barrages its target fast, but if the same solution travels down a fat pipe, the solute crawls slowly upward to its target until the big punch hits at the end.

 

They found that precisely the same effect occurs in rectangular ducts, such that in skinny ones, solute arrives at the target strong, like a heavy punch; if you stretch the rectangle into a square, the solute reverses its approach, arriving in a slow and gradual upward swing.

 

“That was the big surprise,” said Camassa. “We stumbled upon this incredible disconnect between two different geometries. It’s one of nature’s universal principles governing the shape of solute spreading and it can be used to optimize results in many industries that deal with chemicals dissolved in fluid flows.”

 

The implications reach far and wide, particularly in microfluidic devices, which contain miniaturized components for routing and processing very small amounts of fluids. They are used in health care for making small, biological test kits or for precisely manufacturing drugs. This new work can be used to optimize microfluidic devices for any particular goal. For example, researchers can potentially optimize the delivery of cancer drugs or antibiotics to minimize damage to surrounding tissues and thus minimize side effects.

 

Economics also play a big role, explained McLaughlin and Camassa, who are both in UNC-Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences.

 

Precision elliptical pipes may be difficult and expensive to manufacture. But the new work shows that rectangular pipes, which are easier and cheaper to produce, can do the same job, delivering a fluid with calculated precision given the right aspect ratio. As a bonus, rectangular ducts stretch solute much less than ellipses, an effect that can be important in delivering more highly concentrated substances, another factor when considering cost and shape of a pipe.

 

The team, including graduate students Manuchehr Aminian and Francesca Bernardi, and postdoctoral scholar Daniel Harris, has revealed one of nature’s universal principles governing how fluids spread solute in microfluidic environments.

 

“It’s sort of a slam dunk, having analysis, computation and experiment, all these approaches confirming each other, ” said McLaughlin. “It says that this phenomenon is really there and can be used for far-reaching applications.”

 

–Carolina–

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

UNC Communications and Public Affairs contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

 

 

 

 

UNC-Chapel Hill scientists devise more accurate system for predicting risks of new chemical products

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UNC-Chapel Hill scientists devise more accurate system for predicting risks of new chemical products

 

A new structural alert system could reduce years and millions of dollars from bringing a new drug or product to market

 

(CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Nov. 15, 2016) — The approach used by regulators to initially screen new chemical products for toxic effects is wrong almost half the time, according to scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They have proposed an improvement that could increase accuracy to as much as 85 percent, saving millions of dollars and years of development time for new drugs and other products while improving safety.

 

Regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, that are charged with evaluating new drugs and other chemical products rely on an initial screening of a product’s molecular structure. Any groups of atoms that are believed to be linked to chemical toxicity trigger a structural alert. A product that generates a structural alert is sent back for more testing.

 

Researchers led by Alex Tropsha, K. H. Lee Distinguished Professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, determined that structural alerts are accurate in predicting toxicity only about 50 to 60 percent of the time. They developed a computational approach that uses statistical analysis to determine how trustworthy an alert is. Their improvement augments the simple-but-often-wrong thumbs up or thumbs down currently provided.

 

“A lot of chemicals are incorrectly identified as potentially toxic even though in the end they are not toxic and that could have been predicted,” Tropsha said. “Companies are forced to run a lot of unnecessary and costly experiments, and because companies run these checks themselves before submitting their products to regulators, there are products that never see the light of day because they are flagged as toxic when they are not.”

 

However, some make it to market after the alerts have been later deemed nontoxic. For example, Lipitor, the best-selling drug of all time that treats cholesterol, has five elements in its molecular structure that are flagged as structural alerts, but is not toxic.

 

By layering a technique called quantitative structure-activity relationship, or QSAR, modeling over the existing alerts system, the UNC-Chapel Hill researchers are able to account for the structure of the entire chemical molecule and assign a numerical value to the chance that an alert is accurate. Their innovative strategy is published in the journal Green Chemistry.

 

“Structural alerts are a convenient system, but there are few consequences for being wrong even though the stakes are potentially very high,” Tropsha said. “If the alert is right, then it’s ‘we told you so.’ If it’s wrong, ‘well, it was just a warning anyway.’ But unfounded alerts unnecessarily add years and millions of dollars to the cost of bringing a new drug or product to market without improving safety. That is unacceptable, we think.”

 

Tropsha’s group plans to make their system freely available to regulators and scientists as web-based computer software.

 

“We want to alarm regulators that structural alerts over-predict toxicity while missing truly toxic substances, and offer them much more accurate tools to support regulatory decisions,” Tropsha said.

 

– Carolina –

 

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy contact: David Etchison, (919) 966-7744, david_etchison@unc.edu

UNC Communications and Public Affairs contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

 

 

 

Pollution emitted near equator has biggest impact on global ozone

 

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Pollution emitted near equator has biggest impact on global ozone

 

Where the world emits is more important than how much it emits, suggesting that the southward shift of emissions toward the equator is driving the increase in total ozone

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Nov. 7, 2016) – Since the 1980s, air pollution has increased worldwide, but it has increased at a much faster pace in regions close to the equator. Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill now reveals that this changing global emissions map is creating more total ozone worldwide compared to the amount of pollution being emitted, signaling an effect that could be difficult to reign in without strategic policy planning.

 

“Emissions are growing in places where there is a much greater effect on the formation of ozone,” said Jason West, who led the research at UNC-Chapel Hill with former graduate student and first author Yuqiang Zhang. “A ton of emissions in a region close to the equator, where there is a lot of sunlight and intense heat, produces more ozone than a ton of emissions in a region farther from it.“

 

The work, to appear in the Nov. 7 advance online issue of Nature Geoscience, provides a much-needed path forward on where in the world to strategically reduce emissions of pollutants that form ozone, which when present in the lower atmosphere, or troposphere, is one of the primary causes of air pollution-related respiratory problems and heart disease. (In the upper atmosphere, or stratosphere, ozone helps protect against the sun’s ultraviolet rays.)

 

To drive home the point, West explained that China’s emissions increased more than India’s and Southeast Asia’s from 1980 to 2010, but Southeast Asia and India, despite their lower growth in emissions during this period, appear to have contributed more to the total global ozone increase due to their proximity to the equator.

 

The reason is that ozone, a greenhouse gas and toxic air pollutant, is not emitted but forms when ultraviolet light hits nitrogen oxides (basically combustion exhaust from cars and other sources). When these pollutants interact with more intense sunlight and higher temperatures, the interplay speeds up the chemical reactions that form ozone. Higher temperatures near the equator also increase the vertical motion of air, transporting ozone-forming chemicals higher in the troposphere, where they can live longer and form more ozone.

 

“The findings were surprising,” said West. “We thought that location was going to be important, but we didn’t suspect it would be the most important factor contributing to total ozone levels worldwide. Our findings suggest that where the world emits is more important than how much it emits.”

 

Zhang, West and colleagues, including Owen Cooper and Audrey Gaudel, from the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, used a computer model to simulate the total amount of ozone in the troposphere, the part of the atmosphere where ozone is harmful to humans and agriculture, between 1980 and 2010. Since emissions have shifted south during this period, they wanted to answer, what contributed more to the increased production of ozone worldwide: the changing magnitude of emissions or location?

 

“Location, by far,” said West, associate professor of environmental sciences in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

 

The findings point to several strategies for reducing ground-level ozone across the world, such as decreasing emissions of ozone precursors in regions close to the equator, particularly those with the fastest growth of emissions. However, concerns exist for policy makers.

 

“A more challenging scenario is that even if there is a net reduction in global emissions, ozone levels may not decrease if emissions continue to shift toward the equator,” said Cooper. “But continuing aircraft and satellite observations of ozone across the tropics can monitor the situation and model forecasts can guide decision making for controlling global ozone pollution.”

 

–Carolina –

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

UNC Communications and Public Affairs contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

 

Unvaccinated Adults Cost the U.S. More Than $7 Billion a Year

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Unvaccinated Adults Cost the U.S. More Than $7 Billion a Year

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C.—Oct. 12, 2016) – Vaccine-preventable diseases among adults cost the U.S. economy $8.95 billion in 2015, and unvaccinated individuals are responsible for 80 percent, or $7.1 billion, of the tab, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 

Researchers at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, led by Associate Professor Sachiko Ozawa, studied 10 vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, which will be published today in the journal Health Affairs, examined the actual cost of inpatient and outpatient care, cost of medication and the value of productivity lost from time spent seeking care.

 

The 10 vaccines protect against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, the herpes zoster virus that causes shingles, human papillomavirus, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal disease, pneumococcal disease, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and chickenpox.

 

The flu was the most costly disease with a vaccine available, accounting for nearly $5.8 billion in health care costs and lost productivity in 2015. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 42 percent of U.S. adults received the flu vaccine during the 2015-2016 flu season. Other notable diseases with significant economic burdens include pneumococcal disease, such as meningitis and pneumonia, which is associated with nearly $1.9 billion in costs, and herpes zoster that causes shingles rounding out at $782 million.

 

“We believe our estimates are conservative and highlight the potential economic benefit of increasing adult immunization coverage and the value of vaccines,” Ozawa said. “We hope our study will spur creative health care policies that minimize the negative spillover effects from people choosing not to be vaccinated while still respecting patients’ right to make informed choices.”

 

The statistical model researchers developed determined the unvaccinated cost to the U.S. economy at $9 billion. Inpatient and outpatient care accounted for 95 percent of costs with lost productivity making up the other 5 percent.

 

The new UNC-led research is a more comprehensive review of the economic burden of vaccine-preventable diseases among U.S. adults than previous studies, as the focus to date has been on one or a few specific vaccine-preventable diseases. The researchers consulted existing research and data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database in their analysis.

 

The study was funded by the pharmaceutical company Merck, a leading producer of vaccines.

 

–Carolina–

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

UNC Communications and Public Affairs contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

UNC Media Advisory: Media invited to cover garden ceremony, flag placing and annual memorial stair run, Sept. 9 and 11

Not for publication

 

Media invited to cover garden ceremony, flag placing and annual memorial stair run,

Sept. 9 and 11

 

UNC-Chapel Hill remembers those who died and served on 9/11

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C.—Sept. 8, 2016) – Media representatives are invited to cover upcoming 9/11 events at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill including an ROTC-organized third annual memorial stair run to honor and remember the 2,996 victims and to recognize the heroic efforts of first responders that day.

 

The memorial run will take place at 6 a.m. at Kenan Memorial Stadium on Friday, Sept. 9. ROTC students and community members, including local firefighters and police officers, will climb 2,076 steps, the same number of steps that were in each of the World Trade Center Towers. Chapel Hill Fire Chief Matt Sullivan and Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue will participate.

 

Two student organizations also are honoring those who died on 9/11. UNC’s College Republicans and the Young America Foundation will place 2,996 flags, one for each victim, around the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower Sunday, Sept. 11, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

 

The General Alumni Association will also hold a small ceremony for the six alumni who were killed on 9/11 on Sunday, Sept. 11, 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. The event will be held at the Memorial Garden outside the Alumni Center. Chancellor Carol L. Folt will attend the ceremony and will be joined by Doug Dibbert, president of the UNC General Alumni Association.

 

Memorial Stair Run RSVP: For planning purposes, media planning to cover the stadium run should RSVP no later than Thursday, Sept. 8, 3:30 p.m.

 

Memorial Stair Run Media Check-In: Media must check in at Gate 2 at Kenan Stadium no earlier than 5:45 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 9. On-site contact for the event will be Michael McFarland, (919) 265-3932, mike_mcfarland@unc.edu.

 

Media Parking: Parking for the stair run will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis along Stadium Drive, outside of Gate 2.

 

-Carolina-

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina. 

 

UNC Communications and Public Affairs contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu

 

UNC-Chapel Hill to launch new advertising campaign Saturday

For immediate use

 

UNC-Chapel Hill to launch new advertising campaign Saturday

 

‘UNC With Me’ will debut during ESPN’s broadcast of the Carolina vs. Georgia Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Sept. 2, 2016) – Using one of the most iconic structures on campus, the Old Well, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s new advertising campaign highlights the lasting global impact of the Carolina community. The campaign includes a television commercial debuting Saturday, Sept. 3, print advertisements and a social media engagement effort.

 

“The Old Well is more than a familiar Carolina icon; it represents the spirit Tar Heels take pride in demonstrating on campus and wherever they go in the state, the nation and the world,” said Joel Curran, vice chancellor of communication and public affairs. “This new campaign employs the Old Well and real examples of Carolina’s presence and impact on our world to celebrate something UNC students and alumni know so well: ‘Carolina isn’t just a place you go. It’s a place you take with you.’”

 

The commercial opens with familiar Chapel Hill scenes: a musical production at PlayMakers Repertory Company, the stands of Kenan Stadium and laboratory space in the Genome Science Building. It then branches out to the North Carolina coast and the world beyond, bringing the Old Well along for the journey:

 

  • Carolina researchers trek down the Llaima volcano in Chile, part of a multi-university team gathering data on one of South America’s most active volcanoes;
  • Isabella Bartolucci and Mariana Abdalla, students from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism, capture documentary video footage of maternal health initiatives in Malawi;
  • Art gallery visitors browse through an exhibit by visual artist Stacy Lynn Waddell, an alumna of Carolina’s master of fine arts program; and
  • Graduate student Danielle Keller and lab technician Mariah Livernois from the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences study marine life off the coast of Morehead City.

 

A companion social media effort encourages students, alumni, faculty and staff to share stories of how they are influenced by their time at the University. Social media posts that use the hashtag #UNCWithMe will live on a campaign microsite, UNCWithMe.com, allowing Tar Heels to share their unique stories – whether they are volunteering down the street or conducting research halfway around the world.

 

Developed in partnership with Raleigh-based communications firm Capstrat, the campaign is the second for the University in the last six years. In 2014, UNC-Chapel Hill produced an updated version of a popular, long-running television commercial incorporating the famous words of Carolina alumnus Charles Kuralt, enlisting current faculty, staff and students to recite portions of the speech he delivered at the University’s Bicentennial observance in 1993.

 

As part of its multiyear broadcast partnership with the ACC, ESPN provides member institutions with one 30-second advertising window during the network’s games featuring competing schools. The commercial will also be available online at UNC.edu and UNCWithMe.com.

 

“I want to thank Sarah Derreberry, director of advertising and communications strategy at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the creative team at Capstrat for their inspired work on this campaign,” said Curran. “I also want to thank our students, faculty, staff and the more than 300,000 living alumni for keeping us close by always taking Carolina with them wherever they go.”

 

 

-Carolina-

 

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

Communications and Public Affairs contact: Michael McFarland, (919) 962-8593, mike_mcfarland@unc.edu

Temperature helps drive the emergence of different personalities in spiders

For immediate use

 

Temperature helps drive the emergence of different personalities in spiders

 

Spider societies with diverse personalities enjoy success despite extreme temperature shifts

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C.—July 21, 2016) – Like people, animals have personalities. And their personalities differ, sometimes hugely, on traits like shyness and aggressiveness. Among the big questions are where those differences come from, why they exist, and how they are maintained. Now researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have uncovered an unexpected benefit of these personalities: to protect societies from extreme temperature changes.

 

A male subsocial spider Anelosimus studiosus with prey in a messy web typical of this widespread species. Austin, Texas, USA.

A male subsocial spider Anelosimus studiosus with prey in a messy web typical of this widespread species. Austin, Texas, USA. Alex Wild.

The work, led in part by Spencer Ingley, a postdoctoral fellow at UNC College of Arts and Sciences, is particularly relevant at a time when the planet’s climate is projected to increase on the order of 3 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. It could also have far reaching implications on how to restore animals in their different habitats in an increasingly changing world.

 

 

“We live in a time of global change,” said Ingley. “Scientists are seeing that these changes can have a huge impact on individual organisms and groups of organisms. But people have rarely looked at personalities and how the personalities of groups can alter their response to these changes, particularly in different temperature environments.”

 

This work focused on the tangle web spider, known to scientists as Anelosimus studiosus, which lives in North Carolina and across North and South America. In this species, individual spiders have either one of two personalities: docile or highly aggressive. Together, they not only share the same living space but also share in the duties of brood care and capturing of prey.

 

Ingley and his team, which included researchers from Israel, Australia, and the U.S., looked at the effect of temperature – 75 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit – on the spiders’ ability to survive and reproduce as an individual and within a colony. They found that aggressive spiders were less likely to survive and reproduce at higher temperatures. But the opposite was true for docile spiders: as the temperature heated up, the better they reproduced and survived. The researchers saw the same pattern when the colonies were made up of all aggressive individuals or all docile ones.

 

But when a colony had different personalities – a mix of aggressive and docile spiders – the aggressive spiders didn’t die in hot temperatures and docile ones didn’t die in cooler ones.

 

In other words, not a single aggressive spider was able to reproduce at 93 degrees Fahrenheit and most of them died at that temperature. But when Ingley and his team added docile spiders to the mix, the aggressive spiders thrived in that diverse community at that temperature.

 

“Some aspect about living in a diverse society shields these aggressive spiders from selective pressures that would otherwise kill them,” said Ingley. “Without these diverse personalities, these spider societies would be more susceptible to extreme fluctuations in temperature – and it is interesting to think if our own society could benefit from diversity in a similar way.”

 

View the paper online.

— Carolina —

 

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 308,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

 

UNC Communications and Public Affairs contact: Thania Benios, (919) 962-8596, thania_benios@unc.edu