College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Dr. Trudy Mackay, William Neal Reynolds and Distinguished University Professor of Genetics in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, received the O. Max Gardner Award in 2007. The highest faculty honor presented by the UNC Board of Governors, the award recognizes one faculty member from the UNC system’s 16 campuses as having “made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.” Mackay studies the genetic and environmental factors affecting variation in quantitative or complex traits. Her groundbreaking work in the study of locations in the genome where variations occur largely focuses on the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, a fruit fly with a genetic match for 75 percent of known human disease genes. Most recently, after genetically modifying fruit flies to be either extremely sensitive or extremely resistant to alcohol, Mackay and her colleagues found that some fruit fly genes undergo changes when sensitivity to alcohol changes. A number of these genes, they report, are similar to genes found in humans, suggesting that they may be good targets for studying human predisposal to alcoholism.

College Awards 10-Year Comparison 1998-2007

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has officially approved BioUD™ as the first child-safe insect repellent, providing parents with an alternative to the widely used DEET. BioUD™ was developed by Dr. Michael Roe, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life sciences, and commercialized by HOMS, LLC, a North Carolina based biotech company. The agent is now on the market in a project called Bite Blocker®. This green technology was developed by Roe four years ago using a naturally occurring compound found in wild tomato plants. The product demonstrates 100 percent repellency against mosquitoes and ticks up to three hours after application and 99 percent repellency up to 4.5 hours in forest and marsh conditions. Products in the pipeline include insect repellents formulated for clothing, tents and camping gear, as well as wood infestations and restaurant food prep surfaces.

 

Dr. Trudy Mackay

Dr. Michael Roe