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Three exemplary physician-scientists at the UNC School of Medicine – David Margolis, MD, Ada Adimora, MD, MPH, and Janet Rubin, MD – have been named Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professors.

Three exemplary physician-scientists at the UNC School of Medicine, David Margolis, MD, Ada Adimora, MD, MPH, and Janet Rubin, MD, have been named Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professors.

The Sarah Graham Kenan Professorships were established in the UNC School of Medicine in 1968 to honor the memory of Sarah Graham Kenan, daughter of William Rand Kenan, Sr. Recipients will receive funding for five year, renewable terms.

Nominees were reviewed first by a committee of distinguished professors at the School of Medicine, and then by the Dean’s Advisory Committee (DAC), the University’s Health Sciences Advisory Committee (HSAC), the Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure (APT) Committee, and the Board of Trustees.

“These professorships, established to honor Sarah Graham Kenan, are some of the most prestigious awards in the School of Medicine,” said Joanne Jordan, MD, MPH, Vice Dean, Faculty Affairs and Leadership Development. “We thank the selection committee for their hard work choosing among a highly qualified and accomplished set of nominees and congratulate our newest awardees.”

About this year’s honorees:

Ada Adimora, MD, MPH, is a professor of medicine and epidemiology at UNC. Board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, she is a physician epidemiologist with more than 20 years of clinical experience in the treatment of patients with HIV disease. She studies the epidemiology of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Her work has characterized the epidemiology of heterosexual HIV transmission among African Americans, highlighted the role of sexual network patterns in the spread of HIV, and underscored the importance of macroeconomic and social forces in racial disparities in the U.S. HIV epidemic. Adimora is the principal investigator of the UNC site of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). She is the former chair of the HIV Medical Association.


David Margolis, MD, is a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and microbiology and immunology at UNC. He directs the UNC HIV Cure Center, a partnership between Carolina and pharmaceutical company GSK. He is also the principal investigator of CARE – the Collaboratory of AIDS Researchers for Eradication. Curing HIV is his main research focus. He believes a cure could come from a combination of antiretroviral therapy to stop viral replication, latency reversing agents to unmask viral reservoirs, and immune therapies to clear these latent reservoirs. Margolis also treats patients at the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic.


Janet Rubin, MD, practices endocrinology as a member of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. She has adjunct appointments in Bioengineering, Pharmacology and Pediatrics. Her NIH funded laboratory investigates how physical factors regulate mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. Recent findings include that the nuclear envelope is a mechano-sensory site, and that intranuclear actin regulates osteogenesis. These studies use cellular techniques as well as a running mouse model. She also serves as Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine, a position she has held since 2015.

See a full list of the UNC School of Medicine’s Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professors