Dr. Melinda Beck

Melinda Beck, PhD

Professor Emerita
Department of Nutrition


Melinda Beck, PhD, serves as interim chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Dr. Beck has been a faculty member at UNC since 1992 and joined the Department of Nutrition faculty in 1996. Currently, she is a professor of nutrition and the associate chair for academics within the department.

In Beck’s laboratory, researchers study the relationship between host nutrition and the immune response to infectious disease, including an ongoing clinical study of the mechanisms that impair influenza vaccine response in obese adults compared with healthy weight adults.

Beck earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of California; a Master of Science in biological sciences from California Polytechnic University; and a doctorate in microbiology/immunology from The Ohio State University

She previously has served as director-at-large in the American Society for Nutrition and on the UNC-Chapel Hill Appointments, Promotions and Tenure Committee. She also has chaired the University’s Education Policy Committee and been part of the Graduate School Administrative Board.

Melinda Beck in the Gillings News

Honors and Awards

Commeorativa Centenario del Natalicio de Pedro Kouri, medal given for outstanding contribution to science
2003, Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Pedro Kouriâ, Havana, Cuba.

E.L.R. Stockstad Award
2001, American Society for Nutritional Sciences Associate Editor, Experimental Biology and Medicine

Representative Courses

NUTR 175, Intro to Food Studies: From Science to Society

NUTR 240, Introduction to Human Nutrition

NUTR 861, Advanced Nutritional Biochemistry: Nutrition & Immunology

Research Interests:

Aging, Diabetes, Infectious Disease, Obesity

Key Publications

1H NMR-Based Profiling Reveals Differential Immune-Metabolic Networks during Influenza Virus Infection in Obese Mice. M Beck, T Ebbels, J Milner, J Saric, P Sheridan, J Wang (2014). PloS one, 9(5), e97238.

Obesity and influenza infection severity. Melinda Beck, J. Milner (2014). Future Virology, 9(3), 223-225.

Overweight and obese adult humans have a defective cellular immune response to pandemic H1N1 influenza A virus. M Beck, J Handy, M Hudgens, E Karlsson, T Noah, H Paich, S Schultz-Cherry, P Sheridan, S Weir (2013). Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.).


  • BA, Zoology, University of California, 1978
  • MS, Biological Sciences, California Polytechnic University, 1983
  • PhD, Microbiology/Immunology, The Ohio State University, 1987