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Blossom Damania, PhD, Boshamer Distinguished Professor of the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Pharmacology and Vice Dean for Research, was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) April 23!

Dr. Blossom Damania
Dr. Blossom Damania, PhD, recently elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS)

Blossom Damania’s research is focuses on virus-associated cancers, cancer biology, signal transduction and immunology.  A paper published April 28 in Cell Reports, describes findings from “a new study that Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, a virus linked to three human cancers, uses the host cellular protein ADAR1 to reactivate itself from a dormant phase and replicate. The findings could point to a potential therapeutic target to prevent Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus from growing and spreading.” (Learn more in this article, “Researchers identify protein involved in reactivation of virus linked to cancer.”)

Damania and her lab are also involved in efforts by the UNC Viral Genomics Core “to set up high-throughput, high-sensitivity COVID-19 viral load assays to augment hospital operations and to support clinical trials and pre-clinical studies. In addition, they are implementing next generation sequencing assays to characterize COVID-19 strains and other infectious agents in clinical research studies.” (`~learn more in this article, “Meet UNC School of Medicine’s COVID-19 Research Heroes.”)

From the American Academy of Arts & Sciences website:

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and others who believed the new republic should honor exceptionally accomplished individuals and engage them in advancing the public good.

Two hundred and forty years later, the Academy continues to dedicate itself to recognizing excellence and relying on expertise – both of which seem more important than ever.

Today, the Academy announced its newest members with the election of 276 artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders in the public, non-profit, and private sectors.

“The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in surgical suites, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms,” said Academy President David W. Oxtoby. “With today’s election announcement, these new members are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the Academy’s work to advance the public good.”

~excerpt from the AAAS announcement of new members, April 23, 2020