Brea Hampton, a PhD candidate in the Genetics & Molecular Biology (GMB) curriculum and member of the Department of Genetics, has been awarded a competitive five-year Transition to Aging Research Award for Predoctoral Students from the National Institute of Aging (NIA).
The goal of NIA’s Transition to Aging Research for Predoctoral Students program is to increase, retain and diversify the pool of trainees in aging and geriatric research. F99/K00 transition awards are highly competitive and serve to encourage and retain outstanding graduate students who have demonstrated potential in pursuing careers as independent researchers.
Brea Hampton is a fifth-year PhD student in the GMB curriculum in the Department of Genetics. She came to UNC in 2015 after completing her B.S. in Biochemistry at High Point University where studied host-pathogen interactions between the HIV-1 genome and a host protein Tat-SF1 in the lab of Dr. Heather Miller. Ms. Hampton then participated in UNC’s Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) working in the lab of Dr. Ronald Swanstrom (Distinguished Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics) where she studied biochemical factors that alter HIV-1 splicing during infection. In the fall of 2016, Ms. Hampton joined the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP) at UNC to pursue her PhD. Ms. Hampton’s graduate training is highlighted with distinguished awards including a position on the competitive GMB T32 training grant in her second year of graduate school and being selected for the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Gilliam Fellowship, which included internal selection and nomination from UNC.
Ms. Hampton’s F99/K00 fellowship titled, “Evaluating the role of cytomegalovirus and age on lung immune homeostasis and responses to respiratory infections” will build upon her graduate work studying the impact of genetic variation on immunity. Under the F99 portion of this award she will finish her dissertation work at UNC in the labs of Dr. Mark Heise (Professor, Department of Genetics, Department of Microbiology & Immunology) and Dr. Marty Ferris (Associate Professor, Department of Genetics). After completion of her PhD, Ms. Hampton will transition to a competitive aging-related postdoctoral fellowship, funded under the K00 portion of the award for up to four years.