Bowman Earns the James W. Woods Junior Faculty Award

As part of the award, Natalie Bowman, MD, MPH, will receive $3,000 to support her research and proposed studies of the gastrointestinal manifestations of Chagas disease.

Bowman Earns the James W. Woods Junior Faculty Award click to enlarge Natalie Bowman, MD, MPH

Natalie Bowman, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases, has been awarded the James W. Woods Junior Faculty Award. This UNC School of Medicine award supports promising young members of the school’s clinical faculty early in their academic career. It is an important achievement and demonstrates the high respect with which award winners are held by their colleagues.

Bowman’s research focuses on vector-borne and parasitic infections in Latin America, such Chagas disease – a disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted by large triatomine insects and causes cardiomyopathy and gastrointestinal megasyndromes. She has studied manifestations of Chagas disease in congenitally infected infants, children infected by vectors, and HIV-infected patients experiencing reactivation. Most recently she is collaborating with researchers in Bolivia to evaluate whether alterations in the gut microbiome underlie the Chagas-associated pathology doctors see in clinics. Her project will use samples collected in Bolivia and analyzed at UNC to determine whether gastrointestinal manifestations of Chagas disease are associated with particular alterations of the gut microbiome.

In her award nomination letter, Dr. Wesley Burks, Dean of the UNC School of Medicine, called Bowman’s research, “a fine merging of clinical skills and lab research objectives in a valuable molecular epidemiology investigation.”

Bowman says, “I am delighted and honored to receive this award. I look forward to applying this award to learn new things about the pathogenesis of Chagas disease. The infection is one of the most important parasitic infections in the Americas, yet remains on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of neglected tropical diseases. I truly thank the James W. Woods Award committee for this honor and opportunity.”

Bowman is a North Carolina native and grew up in Greensboro. She received her AB in Chemistry from Harvard University, followed by an MPhil in Biochemistry at Cambridge University, UK. She went on to attend medical school at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. After graduating from medical school in 2007, Bowman completed her residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, then returned to her home state for a fellowship in infectious diseases at UNC. During her fellowship she obtained an MPH in epidemiology, and in 2014 Bowman was hired as an assistant professor.

The Woods Award was established through the generosity of the late Dr. James Watson Woods, a cardiologist, who was a professor in the School of Medicine from 1953 to 1983. Woods was an acknowledged leader in the school with a distinguished record of clinical and educational service as well as scholarly productivity in the area of hypertension research that spanned from animal models to clinical trials.

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