RENOWNED MOUSE GENETICIST HEADS NEW GENETICS DEPARTMENT
After the National Human Genome Research Institute and Celera Genomics announced on June 26
that they could map the complete hunlaIl
genome, speculation began flying about
research possibilities, negative and positive.
Thanks to a $2.4 million grant from the
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UNC
will playa major role in the research that
some say is the biological equivalent to
walking on the moon. The University has
hired Dr. Terry Magnuson, a geneticist
from Case Western Reserve University in
Cleveland and an international expert on
mouse genetics, to head the new genetics
department, which will be housed in a
100,000-square-foot human biology research
building currently under construction and
expected to be completed in winter 2002.
Magnuson is bringing with him his 15-
member laboratory group from Case Western,
and he also has acquited corrunitments from
some top assistant professors in tlle country.
They include David Threadgill from Vander-
bilt University, Fernando de Villena from
Temple University and Charles Perou from
Stanford University. The grant from the
Hughes Institute also allows the School of
Medicine to hire 10 new faculty members,
which includes four junior faculty positions.
Dr. Jeffrey Houpt, dean ofthe School of
Medicine, has contended that to remain a
leading medical school or a leading university,
UNC must have a strong genetics prograrll.
He said Magnuson chose Carolina over
other universities with more resources
devoted to genetics because he likes the
feel ofUNC's research community.
"The strength of the basic and clinical
sciences and the interactive, collegial environ-
ment were very impressive;' said Magnuson,
who will be Sarah Graham Kenan professor.
Magnuson's main goal is to expand the
University's genetic research to all areas of
genetics, from plants to humans. UNC has
been conducting research for several years,
but it has had no way to apply the research
to medical terms. The new program will
provide a venue to apply the results medically;
which will contribute to the ability to pro-
duce effective clinical innovations in the
treatment ofsome diseases, Magnuson said.
"A basic research program in genetics
and genomics within the context of a
major university such as UNC represents
an exciting paradigm for bench-to-bedside
research," Magnuson said. "The next great
challenge is upon us-to provide mearling
to this vast catalog ofinformation. Genetics
is a tool to get at a function."
The University's genetics research will
have a great impact on science, but it also
will greatly affect the delivery of health care,
the legal system and other aspects of culture
and society, Magnuson said.
Dr. William Marzluff, associate dean for
research at the School of Medicine, said
Magnuson brings leadership and experience
to the University that will enable it to make
an immediate impact in the field of genetics,
and his research efforts will reach other
University departments. "[Magnuson's] broad
vision will result in the development of the
progranl throughout the whole campus, not
just the School of Medicine," Marzluffsaid.
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isn't If, but
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
CHARGE AGAINST PEPPERS
DISMISSED; DAVIS RELEASED
Carolina football and basketball player Julius Peppers was cleared of an assault charge on Aug. 4
after he and the man who accused him met
with a court-sanctioned mediator.
Peppers will have nothing on his record.
Andre Harris of Mebane filed a com-
plaint with the Orange County magistrate,
clainring Peppers hit him in the face outside
Time-Out, a 24-hour restaurant in Chapel
Hill, in the early morning hours ofJuly 21.
According to Harris' complaint, Peppers was
in the middle of a fight involving several
people. The complaint resulted in a mis-
demeanor charge of assault and battery.
In a practice not widely used in North
Carolina, Orange County sends all citizen-
generated charges to its Dispute Settlement
Center. The parties involved, who can bring
attorneys, meet with an officer of the District
Court who serves as mediator. Ifthey cannot
reach an agreement, the matter goes to trial.
Randy Griffin, an assistant district
in this issue
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