SPIRE's 6th Annual Distinguished Scholar Seminar

Fellows from the SPIRE Postdoctoral Fellowship Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosted Dr. Joseph C. Dunbar, professor and chairman of the department of physiology of Wayne State University on Oct. 28, 2005. This was the Fellows' annual contribution towards bringing scientific expertise and research excellence to UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Dunbar's seminar, titled “The Brain: Its Role in Obesity and Hypertension,” was enthusiastically received by the audience.

Dr. Lerea and Dr. DunbarDr. Dunbar's lab concentrates on the relationship between diabetes and obesity and the cardiovascular complications of diabetes. In addition to his research, Dr. Dunbar is involved in increasing diversity in the sciences and has contributed many years of service to organizations including the Minority Opportunities in Research division of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the Minority Access to Research Careers review committee, and the Board of Directors for the American Diabetes Association. “We were very excited and honored to have Dr. Dunbar as our distinguished scholar speaker,” stated Dr. Leslie Lerea, director of SPIRE. “His scientific expertise in the area of health disparities, as well as his dedication and commitment to enhancing science education, are both strongly aligned with the goals of the SPIRE program.”

This was also a special day for a group of undergraduates from many of North Carolina's historically minority universities partnering with the SPIRE program. Students from Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, North Carolina Central University, Shaw University and UNC-Pembroke participated in a full day of activities including: a breakfast panel with faculty members of UNC-Chapel Hill graduate programs, an information session on undergraduate summer research programs, a roundtable discussion with graduate students, and lab tours at UNC-Chapel Hill. These activities were designed to promote their interest in scientific research and provide valuable information on how to pursue their scientific dreams. The day culminated with Dr. Dunbar's seminar.

Students working in lab

“I was an undergraduate at Johnson C. Smith University, and also one of Dr. Dunbar's students in the Minority Biomedical Research Support Program at Wayne State University, so it was personally rewarding for me to welcome Dr. Dunbar and the undergraduates to UNC-Chapel Hill,” stated Dr. Dinitra White, SPIRE Fellow.

UNC-Chapel Hill media contact: Claire L. Bury, (919) 843-5915 or bury@unc.edu