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University Research Week is an annual celebration of Carolina’s research excellence and an effort to increase participation by students, of all levels, in research activity. Through multiple unique virtual events, the campus community will become more familiar with UNC’s world-class research and the strategic initiatives that make it one of the top research institutions in the world.

This year’s featured events include a virtual symposium on UNC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, talks from the 2020 Hettleman Prize winners, and a workshop for students who are interested in pursuing independent research. Additional panel presentations, workshops, lectures, and more will fill out the week. Please check the website often as new event information is added daily.


3 p.m. I Monday, October 19
Hettleman Lectures
Attend these TEDX-style presentations from the four winners of the annual Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, given to researchers conducting innovative work in their fields. This year’s winners are: Mohit Bansal, computer science; Andrea Bohlman, music; Angela Smith, urology; and William Sturkey, history.

7 p.m. I Tuesday, October 20
Getting Involved in Research
Learn how to enter the research community at UNC, from identifying research opportunities and faculty mentors to understanding how the Office for Undergraduate Research can support your research efforts. The workshop will include a student panel on how they got involved in research and a faculty panel to discuss what faculty look for in students to mentor.

11 a.m. I Wednesday, October 21
“Human Nature” Panel Discussion: Editing Along Ethical Boundaries
Vice Chancellor for Research Terry Magnuson, RENCI Director Stan Ahalt, and Center for Bioethics Director Eric Juengst will discuss “Human Nature,” which tells the story of the biggest tech revolution of the 21st century: CRISPR. The film is a provocative exploration of CRISPR’s far-reaching implications — from reshaping the biosphere to designing children — through the eyes of the scientists who discovered it, the families it’s affecting, and the bioengineers who are testing its limits. The film is available for viewing now by clicking the links on the event page!

5:30 p.m. I Wednesday, October 21
Tackling COVID-19: UNC Researchers Collaborate to Deliver Solutions and Bring Hope
In nearly every school and department across campus, our researchers are examining the myriad issues raised by the coronavirus pandemic. They are at the forefront of developing tests and therapeutics, monitoring the genetic evolution of the virus, and exploring future health impacts faced by COVID-19-positive patients. Join Tar Heels Together for an exclusive insider’s discussion on Carolina’s sustained, holistic response to the COVID-19 pandemic featuring an expert panel of dynamic frontline researchers including Lori Carter-Edwards, professor of public health leadership; Melissa Miller, professor pathology; and Timothy Sheahan, assistant professor of epidemiology.

4 p.m. I Thursday, October 22
Telling the Regional Story: The Narratives that Unite and Divide in North Carolina
Presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, this event will connect the UNC and Duke communities, exploring how history informs the present for North Carolinians. The discussions is based on recommendations from the Academy’s report Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century which urges conversations on crafting new narratives of the American past.

7 p.m. I Friday, October 23
Say Their Names: An Evening of 00:08:46 Play/Monologue Readings
In collaboration with the theatre advocacy group Honor Roll!, playwrights are joining forces to produce plays and monologues about Black, Indigenous, and other women of color who have died at the hands of law enforcement. These readings and reflections are inspired by the #SayHerName campaign, which brings awareness to the names and stories of Black women and girls who have been victims of police violence and the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The readings will be followed by a reflections panel discussion.