Mackay Earns North Carolina Award

Dr. Trudy Mackay received the 2011 North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor, for her groundbreaking research that examines how physical and behavioral traits are affected by genes and the environment.

Because all organisms have similar genetic systems, her work with fruit flies could lead to advances in the treatment of human diseases. It could also help doctors develop treatments tailored to individual patients based on their genomic profile.

Mackay’s current challenge is to find the biological pathways that translate genetic differences into cellular changes. “It’s a great unsolved puzzle,” she says. “But once we understand the genetics behind complex traits we will transform medicine. Treatment won’t have to be trial–and–error.”

Her work in quantitative genetics has contributed to the understanding of varied health concerns including diabetes, cancer, glaucoma, alcohol abuse, high blood pressure and longevity.

The William Neal Reynolds and distinguished university professor of genetics and entomology, she is a key leader for the university-wide Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Mackay is one of the few individuals elected to both the Royal Society in the United Kingdom and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. She received the O. Max Gardner Award in 2007 from the University of North Carolina system.

Five Elected AAAS Fellows

Five NC State faculty members were elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) by the organization’s council in November. They will be recognized for their contributions to science and technology at the Fellows Forum on Feb. 18 during the AAAS annual meeting in Vancouver.

NC State's newest AAAS fellows are:

  • Dr. E. Allen Foegeding
    William Neal Reynolds Distinguished
    Professor of Food Science
  • Dr. Fred Gould
    William Neal Reynolds Distinguished
    Professor of Entomology
  • Dr. Harald Ade
    Professor of Physics
  • Dr. Jerzy Bernholc
    Drexel Professor of Physics
  • Dr. Sastry G. Pantula
    Professor of Statistics

More than 50 NC State faculty are AAAS fellows and 20 are members of the national academies.

Innovators, Entrepreneurs Honored

NC State honored four faculty members for advances in biomaterials, nanofibers, physics education and technology commercialization at the 22nd annual Celebration of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The event also celebrated the work of more than 30 inventors in 14 university departments and six colleges. The awards included:

2011 NC State Innovators of the Year

  • Dr. Kenneth Swartzel is the co–author of 22 patents focusing on biomaterials. His inventions have sparked seven start–up companies in North Carolina and generated millions in licensing revenue for NC State. He is coordinator of bioprocessing programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
  • Dr. Orlin Velev is part of a team working on a soft memory device that functions well in wet environments — work that could spark the development of biocompatible electronic devices. His work in nanotechnology includes electrical and photonic functionality, biosensors and microfluidic devices. He is the INVISTA Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

2011 NC State Entrepreneurs of the Year

  • Roger Debo is director of the Technology and Entrepreneurship Commercialization program in the Poole College of Management. More than 420 graduate students have participated in the program, which has spurred creation of new ventures employing over 350 people and assisted more than 40 companies attract $250 million in capital.
  • Dr. John Risley is a professor of physics whose drive to improve physics education led to the founding of WebAssign in 1997. Today, WebAssign is an online homework, quizzing and testing service that serves millions of students and teachers worldwide.


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Dr. Trudy Mackay’s genetics research earned her a 2011 North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor. Her current research may transform medicines.