Seven School of Medicine faculty members named first Teaching Champions

Frank Church, PhD, Kurt Gilliland, PhD, Edward Kernick, DPM, Marianne Meeker, PhD, Gwendolyn Sancar, PhD, Sarah Street, PhD, and Arrel Toews, PhD were selected as the first cohort of teaching champions.

Faculty members were selected for excellence in teaching the basic sciences to first and second year medical students. Each faculty member will receive salary support for their time in the classroom and with students. They will also have more opportunities for faculty development programs, to attend conferences related to education, and to continue their important work as master teachers. The teaching champions were nominated by their chairs and selected by a committee led by Dr. Warren Newton, Vice Dean for Education. Please join us in celebrating UNC’s teaching champions!

Please read more about each of the faculty members selected.

Frank Church, PhD
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Church is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.  He is an accomplished independent investigator and an award-winning educator. Dr. Church’s research focuses on proteases and their inhibitors that are involved in thrombosis and hemostasis and a variety of other disease processes, such as tumor metastasis. He is senior author on most of his numerous publications, with his graduate students and post docs often as first authors. Dr. Church has received a remarkable number of teaching awards, from department-level awards to University-level honors.

Kurt Gilliland, PhD
Cell and Developmental Biology

Dr. Gilliland is Wallace ’69 and Phyllis Baird Medical Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. Dr. Gilliland studies the normal human lens as well as age-related nuclear cataracts using confocal and electron microscopy. He is director of curriculum support and innovation at the School of Medicine and has been honored many times for excellence in teaching and has served as Richard H. Whitehead Lecturer.

Edward Kernick, DPM
Cell and Developmental Biology

Dr. Kernick, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, studies limb development and molecular mechanisms of wound healing. Dr. Kernick teaches Structure and Development and the clinical anatomy elective to medical students; human gross anatomy and functional neuroanatomy to physical therapy students; and gross anatomy and regional human anatomy to dental students at UNC. Dr. Kernick has been recognized many times for teaching, from within the School of Medicine as well as the School of Dentistry and the Student National Medical Association.

Marianne Meeker, PhD
Cell and Molecular Physiology

Dr. Meeker is a lecturer in the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology and is interested in exploring the potential of serious gaming in medical education.  In her work, Dr. Meeker uses interactive digital formats to engage the twenty-first century student learner in relating basic science knowledge to clinical outcomes. Dr. Meeker has taught a variety of topics in physiology for over a decade to first-year dental students, first-year pharmacy students, and undergraduates, as well as medical students.

Gwendolyn Sancar, PhD
Biochemistry and Biophysics

Dr. Sancar’s research interests are in cellular responses to DNA damage, DNA repair, and elucidation of certain signal transduction pathways. She directs the first medical school course of the first year, Molecules to Cells and teaches scientific writing courses. In recent years, she has taught beginning and advanced graduate students, undergraduates, and allied health students.

Sarah Street, PhD
Cell and Molecular Physiology

Dr. Street is Research Instructor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology. Dr. Street directs a first-year course, Integrative Function and Its Cellular Basis, for which she was awarded the Freshman Basic Science Teaching Award in her first year of leadership. She has also taught graduate students and nursing and pharmacy students.  Dr. Street is a postdoctoral fellow in the Zylka laboratory; her current project focuses on determining the function of ectonucleotidases in pain circuits.

Arrel Toews, PhD
Biochemistry and Biophysics

Dr. Toews, professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, teaches Molecules to Cells, a first-year course. He is a member of many medical school committees related to the medical student experience and teaching. In recent years, Dr. Toews has won University and School of Medicine teaching awards, and delivered the Richard H. Whitehead Lecture.

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