Li, Wang named 2012 recipients of Jefferson-Pilot Award

Yun Li, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics and the Department of Biostatistics, and Zefeng Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, were selected to receive Jefferson-Pilot Awards this year.

Li, Wang named 2012 recipients of Jefferson-Pilot Award click to enlarge Yun Li, PhD
Li, Wang named 2012 recipients of Jefferson-Pilot Award click to enlarge Zefeng Wang, PhD

Dr. Li's research interest is in statistical genetics.  Her research focuses on the development and application of statistical methods and computational tools for discovery of human genetic variation, with a particular focus on complex human diseases and traits.

The scientific quality and timeliness of her work has been recognized by the awarding of two NIH R01 grants to her as the Principle Investigator, both of these grants were funded on their first submission.

“In a word, I would describe Dr. Li as ‘dynamo,’” said Terry Manguson, PhD, Sarah Graham Kenan Professor and Chair, Department of Genetics. “She seems to exert maximum effort in all of her academic and scholarly activities, including her independent and collaborative research and her teaching.”

Dr. Wang’s research is focused on defining the RNA splicing code. His approach effectively combines experimental molecular biology with computational modeling and bioinformatics.

Since arriving at UNC, Dr. Wang has received an Alfred Sloan Fellow Award, a Kimmel Scholar Award and a Beckman Young Investigator Award.  He has two NIH grants, a R01 and a R21, both on different aspects of defining the RNA splicing code.

“I am incredibly impressed by Zefeng’s intellect and research abilities,” said Gary Johnson, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology. “But just as important, I am impressed and thankful for his great citizenship as a faculty member in Pharmacology.”

Drs. Li and Wang will each receive $20,000 to be paid over a four-year period in equal installments of $5,000 per year to support of their scholarly endeavors.
The Jefferson-Pilot Fellowship Award is given annually to promising junior faculty to explore new ideas in research, teaching or clinical treatment.  The fellowship program aims to offer recipients greater freedom to explore new ideas and ways of teaching students and treating patients or to investigate biological problems.

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