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The award, which recognizes the research achievements of young tenured faculty, is made possible through a generous donation from Lenovo chairman and CEO Yuanqing Yang, with additional financial support from Mr. To Hing Wu.

Jonathan Juliano, MD, MSPH

Dr. Jonathan Juliano, associate professor of medicine from the division of infectious diseases is one of three researchers who have received the third annual Yang Family Biomedical Scholar Award. The award was made possible through donations from Yuanqing Yang, chair and CEO of Lenovo with additional financial support from Mr. To Hing Wu, an associate to Mr. Yang.

Juliano, who came to the UNC School of Medicine as a resident in 2005 and started as an assistant professor in 2011, is a member of the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Team at UNC Hospitals, and adjunct associate professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Juliano is widely regarded as a pioneer in the use of next-generation sequencing technologies to study malaria. His use of advanced genetic methodologies to explore the epidemiological and evolutionary factors that shape parasite populations, drive parasite genetic diversity, and allow the parasite to escape control measures has garnered international acclaim.

Prior to Juliano’s work, the diversity of malaria infections was not appreciated. He was the first to use molecular methods to demonstrate that traditional genotyping methods were unable to detect small numbers of co-existing drug-resistant strains of malaria, which could ultimately lead to drug failure. This work had direct impacts on public health policy in Africa, specifically influencing decisions about the re-introduction of chloroquine. When next-generation sequencing tools became available, his group was the first to use targeted next-generation sequencing approaches to characterize the diversity of parasites within individual human hosts and its potential impact on the development of drug resistance and vaccine escape. His work resulted in the development of new, best-in-class bioinformatics pipelines to support analysis of deep sequencing data and policy-relevant insights into drug resistance evolution and the effect of malaria control interventions in Southeast Asia.

Yen-Yu Ian Shih, PhD, associate professor of neurology, and Louise Henderson, PhD, MSPH, associate professor of radiology, were also named recipients of the Yang Family Biomedical Award.

Each faculty member will receive a generous grant to be used at their discretion for biomedical research projects at the UNC School of Medicine. The researchers are now members of the Yang Family Society of Biomedical Scholars. The third annual seminar to highlight their work will be held later this year.

Read more about the new class of Yang Family Biomedical Scholars here.