December 14, 2016
Five faculty members in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health were awarded 2017 IBM Junior Faculty Development Awards.
The recipients are Annie Green Howard, PhD, clinical assistant professor, Michael Love, PhD, assistant professor, and Xianming Tan, PhD, research associate professor, all in the Department of Biostatistics; Christopher Baggett, PhD, research assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology; and Kun Lu, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering.
The awards, which are administered through the Committee on Faculty Research and Scholarly Leaves in the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, are each in the amount of $7,500. The recipients shared how they intend to use their awards:
“My research involves the gut microbiome, which has a profound effect on human health through its key role in a wide range of host-related functions,” said Lu. “With this award, I will conduct a study investigating gut microbiome alterations and associated health changes that arise from pesticide exposure.”
Other plans range from conducting pilot research to determine the optimal frequency of data collection in ecological assessment studies, to working on statistical methods for the analysis of RNA sequencing data, to covering conference fees and travel.
“This award will allow me to conduct testing of new algorithms to determine how cancer patients who are undergoing bone marrow transplantation comply with wearing a Fitbit,” Baggett said. “We want to figure out how many hours per day patients are wearing their Fitbit, as well as how many hours of use are needed to consider a day a valid period of activity measurement.”
These examples begin to demonstrate the breadth of research supported by the Junior Faculty Development Awards, as well as the range of topics – from cancer to environmental exposure – currently under investigation at the Gillings School.
“I’m happy that the proposed work was viewed as worthy of the award,” Love shared. “I think it means that work in the area of statistical/quantitative methods, or data science, is also seen as a valuable part of basic and translational research.”