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Congrats to Brian Taylor on the Tanner Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching!

January 20, 2021

Department of Biology’s Brian Taylor has been named the Tanner Award recipient for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Congratulations, Brian!

According to The Well, “Carolina honored 25 faculty members and teaching assistants for their accomplishments with 2021 University Teaching Awards. Given annually, these awards acknowledge the University’s commitment to outstanding teaching and mentoring for graduate and undergraduate students.
‘Throughout a challenging year in the midst of a global pandemic, the winners quickly adapted to new ways of teaching. They persevered to maintain their focus on helping students become critical thinkers and problem solvers, while inspiring them to take on the most important challenges facing society,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert A. Blouin. “Our award winners are shining examples of the University’s commitment to effective, innovative teaching.’ The University Committee on Teaching Awards, which oversees the selection process, encouraged students to nominate deserving faculty and graduate teaching assistants for the awards. The committee sought nominations with specific examples that display the nominees’ care for students, mentorship and effective use of classroom methods.”

Read more about the award recipients here.

Brian Taylor Published in The Journal of the Royal Society: Interface!

January 13, 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Brian Taylor for his publication in The Journal of the Royal Society: Interface. The paper is titled “Long-distance transequatorial navigation using sequential measurements of magnetic inclination angle”. The authors are as follows: Brian Taylor: Lead and Corresponding author, Ken Lohmann, Luke Havens, Cathy Lohmann, and Jesse Granger (Duke University Graduate Student).
Congratulations to Dr. Taylor and his co-authors and we are excited to see what else they have in store! Read the article here.

Congratulations to Isai Salas-Gonzalez on SCIENCE Paper!

January 12, 2021

Congratulations to doctoral student Isai Salas-Gonzalez who is the co-first author of a SCIENCE paper published together with former Dangl lab post-doc Gabriel Castrillo and members of the Castrillo and Salt labs at the University of Nottingham in the UK. Isai and his co-authors show that the root bacterial microbiome can influence the development of the root endodermis and thus define how the endodermis influences nutrient uptake. This depends on the root microbiota’s ability to manipulate the plant hormone Abscissic Acid. The work is important because root endodermal nutrient uptake ultimately defines nutrient levels in our food. Read the paper at: and an accompanying Perspective at:

State Record Fungus Found by UNC Biology Student!

January 11, 2021

Just last month, UNC Biology undergraduate student “Corbin Bryan was coming to campus to drop off some fungi he had collected over the autumn and noted scores of red-capped fungi fruiting abundantly in the mulched beds adjacent to Coker Hall.” Bryan took some samples of the mushrooms and brought them to another undergraduate Biology student, “Dan Meyers and with Herbarium Associate Dr. Van Cotter. Together they came up with a tentative identification of Leratiomyces ceres (“Chip Cherry” or “Redlead Roundhead”), a potential new species of mushroom for North Carolina.”

Read more about this exciting discovery here.

Dr. Copenhaver named AAAS fellow!

November 24, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Gregory Copenhaver for being named an AAAS fellow!

Three faculty members of the College of Arts & Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Fellows are recognized for their research; teaching; services to professional societies; administration in academia, industry and government; and communicating and interpreting science to the public. They are elected annually.

Dr. Copenhaver was chosen for his distinguished contributions to the field of plant molecular genetics, particularly for novel insights into plant reproductive biology.

Congratulations to Lillian Zwemer for DTH feature!

November 16, 2020

The Daily Tar Heel published an article about students’ favorite classes from the fall 2020 semester as the last day of classes is Tuesday, November 16. UNC Biology’s own Professor Lillian Zwemer was featured as one of the favorite professors from this semester.

From the article: “Ritika Desai, a sophomore neuroscience major, said her favorite class was Biology 202: Molecular Biology and Genetics with professor Lillian Zwemer. She said she appreciated Zwemer’s accommodating attitude and use of… online resources to make learning as easy as possible. “I find myself adopting new perspectives and problem-solving strategies,” Desai said. Zwemer said many of the strategies she used this semester were thought up by the biology department as a group over the summer. She said even though she had to cut some of the content of the course to accommodate the fall semester’s shorter schedule, the online format of the class can be just as good — if not better — for some students. “I think for a certain type of student, like a student who learns a certain way, it’s a very good fit,” Zwemer said. “But I think not every student learns that well.” She said in an email that one of her main priorities this semester was to build a sense of community among her students by holding weekly group office hours where students can ask questions and engage with each other in a relaxed environment. She encouraged students to send her pictures of their pets or the people in their lives to share with the rest of the class during these sessions.”

To read the full article and see some of the other featured classes and professors, click here:

Nimchuk Lab has Two Publications in Current Biology!

November 5, 2020

UNC Biology’s Zachary Nimchuk lab has two new publications in Current Biology both looking at how peptide signaling in plants controls auxin-mediated development. One of the studies was led by Nimchuk lab postdoc Daniel Jones and graduate student Amala John.

Highlights from “CLAVATA Signaling Ensures Reproductive Development in Plants across Thermal Environments”: “CLAVATA (CLV) signaling mediates continuous flower outgrowth in Arabidopsis thaliana; CLAVATA2/CORYNE function alongside CIK-family co-receptors; CLV signaling promotes auxin-mediated floral primordia growth in colder temperatures; High temperatures bypass CLV signaling, upregulating auxin through ELF3.”

Read more on this article here:

Highlights from “Auxin-Regulated Reversible Inhibition of TMK1 Signaling by MAKR2 Modulates the Dynamics of Root Gravitropism”: “MAKR2 is co-expressed with PIN2 and regulates the pace of root gravitropism; MAKR2 controls PIN2 asymmetric accumulation at the root level during gravitropism; MAKR2 binds to and is a negative regulator of the TMK1 receptor kinase; Auxin antagonizes the MAKR2 inhibition of TMK1 by delocalizing MAKR2 in the cytosol.”

Read more on this article here:

Alan Weakley featured in the NYTimes!

October 22, 2020

UNC Biology’s Alan Weakley has been featured in an NYTimes story called, “How Many Plants Have We Wiped Out? Here Are 5 Extinction Stories.” Weakley’s extinction story focuses on large-flowered Barbara’s-buttons, a plant native to two western counties in North Carolina, which had been mistaken for a different species for the majority of its existence.

Read more here:

Congratulations to Gidi Shemer and the new inductees of Phi Beta Kappa!

October 21, 2020

From the website: “Phi Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most honored college honorary society, has inducted 194 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students as new members. Friday’s induction ceremony featured remarks by Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and a keynote address by biology Teaching Associate Professor Gidi Shemer.”

Biology majors inducted include:
Olivia Faye Madalone
Laura Ellen Crook
Matthew Russell Mueller
Joseph William Coggin
Grace Lane Fulton Henley
Forrest Jefferson Bell
Joseph Vincent Osti III
Sage Lee Atkins
Lacy Henry Bryant III
John Kwiatkowski III
Alexandros Mixail Pistiolis
Kassidy Jyll Blankenship
Dan James Meyers
Ceren Onasci
Fiona Jane Wissink
Deep Upadhyay
Renee Kate Li
Nikolas James Tsiouplis
BrianPaul Robert
Sydney A. Thai
Ahmed Abdelkarem Belghith
Henry Bolling Williamson
Mahler Carew Revsine
Jorge Ricardo Santana

See the full list here:

Daniel Matute featured in Carolina Arts & Sciences Magazine!

October 20, 2020

Congratulations to Daniel Matute and the Matute Lab for their feature in the Carolina Arts & Sciences Magazine! The article focuses on “Resilient Mindsets,” in organisms and in humans. From the article: “Finding answers to big questions about evolution requires a particular mindset. For biologist Daniel Matute, that mindset includes a trait often found in our planet’s hardiest organisms: resiliency.”

Read the article here: