Vicky LeGrys, a well-respected educator and researcher, is set to retire from the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science in July 2021. LeGrys joined the faculty in 1983 and was promoted to professor in 1995. Her scholarly work involved the laboratory diagnosis of cystic fibrosis (CF). She applied her clinical and scientific expertise to improving the quality of the CF sweat test by standardizing the procedures used at more than 100 CF care centers. Her research addressed key issues in the performance of the test and has provided guidance to clinicians. She has visited more than 68 hospital laboratories in the United States and has delivered approximately 140 presentations nationally and internationally. Additionally, she has authored more than 45 peer-reviewed articles, written two books, and has contributed to leading clinical chemistry textbooks.
LeGrys has chaired committees of the Clinical & Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI), served as a consultant to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), and developed nine peer-reviewed clinical practice guidelines. Her research efforts have been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the CFF, the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation, and the Legacy of Angels Foundation.
In the division, LeGrys taught more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of biochemistry, laboratory math, clinical chemistry, clinical chemistry laboratory, basic skills laboratory, clinical laboratory methods, and method validation. She was the course director for the clinical rotation in clinical chemistry. She has worked persistently with students in and out of the classroom to ensure competency. Students praise her for delivering clear lectures on state-of-the-art content, presenting complex material in a manageable format, providing constructive feedback, and guiding their decision-making skills. They develop essential problem-solving skills and have benefitted from LeGrys’s unending support.
LeGrys has made major contributions to the service mission of the division, including as division director, admissions chair, and coordinator of the master’s of clinical laboratory science — medical laboratory science program. Her contributions have been recognized in the division with the Louise Ward Excellence in Teaching Award and with the Department of Allied Health Sciences’ Dr. Lee McLean Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring. As part of the faculty mentorship award, colleague Tara Moon, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM, described LeGrys’s mentoring style as unselfish and tireless. Colleague Ryan Evans (’14 MS MDS), said LeGrys was often generous with her time and explored ideas and solutions rather than providing micromanaged direction.
“Her assistance was widespread, ranging from the cursory, such as navigating administrative aspects of course sites, to the profound, including discussions on teaching philosophies and methods of ensuring a clear, fair, and goal-oriented curriculum,” Evans said.
Stephen Hooper, the DAHS chair and associate dean of medicine, said LeGrys’s contributions to the field of clinical laboratory science are innumerable.
“As an expert in cystic fibrosis sweat testing, she has contributed to the evidence base in this field and, ultimately, has contributed to improving patient care,” Hooper said. Additionally, she is an esteemed mentor, jovial colleague, and a well-respected teacher.”
Hooper said LeGrys’s work within the division has also contributed to building North Carolina’s infrastructure in laboratory sciences, including a number of leaders in the field, and the state of clinical laboratory sciences in North Carolina is much improved given her contributions.
“The department wishes her nothing but the best in her upcoming retirement.”
LeGrys plans to spend her time in retirement traveling internationally once she is able to.
“I have enjoyed a rewarding career at UNC-Chapel Hill,” LeGrys said. “I’m very proud of the students I have had the opportunity to teach and to mentor. The CLS faculty have been both my friends and my colleagues, and I appreciate their support and dedication over the years.”
Stephen Hooper, PhD, has served as chair of the DAHS since 2013. The DAHS is housed in the UNC School of Medicine. Evans, PhD, has also served as an adjunct instructor.