UNC Researchers Collaborate  to Deliver Solutions and Bring Hope | Tar Heels Together

UNC Researchers Collaborate  to Deliver Solutions and Bring Hope

Meet the Panelists

Lori Carter-Edwards 

’95 (PhD), Associate Professor of Public Health Leadership, Adjunct Faculty in Epidemiology and Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health 

Right now, we have to immediately respond to a community’s needs. As researchers and public health professionals, we have a responsibility to get information out to people. We believe what we find here is going to be impactful and that we’ll be able to share it with a lot of folks.

Lori Carter-Edwards

Lori Carter-Edwards is leading the COVID-19 Community Engaged Risk Communication (CERC) Project. She is working with colleagues at the Word Tabernacle Church, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), the N.C. Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, and UNC’s Department of Social Medicine to leverage rural, Black, faith-based social connections to spread critical COVID-19 information and study the method’s effectiveness for use in future public pandemics. Carter-Edwards is also the director of the Community and Stakeholder Engagement Program (CaSE) in the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS).  

Melissa Miller

PhD, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UNC School of Medicine

Putting out 1,000 tests a day has truly impacted our community, not only in terms of trying to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, but the ability to do research. To identify interventions or to study transmission patterns — it all starts with the test – and the impact of that is immeasurable.

Melissa Miller


Melissa Miller led the development of a rapid-result COVID-19 test for the UNC Health System that increased statewide testing capacity. On day one, Miller’s lab had the capacity to process 120 nasal samples for COVID-19 testing. By mid-May, capacity had increased to 1,000 a day; now it’s up to 2,500. She is the director of the Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Microbiology Laboratories at UNC Medical Center. 

Timothy Sheahan

PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

We’re testing combinations of therapeutics to see if we can improve upon the activity of single agents. The goal is to extend the window within which we have to treat people with COVID-19. With more effective treatments we can save lives, shorten hospital stays, and maybe even prevent people from going to the hospital in the first place.

Timothy Sheahan

Timothy Sheahan examines the host-pathogen interface in order to discover new methods for viral control. For the past 12 years, Sheahan has been studying the molecular mechanisms of viral pathogenesis in hopes of discovering viral and/or host proteins to target for antiviral therapy. Sheahan works closely with UNC Gillings School’s renowned epidemiologist and virologist Ralph Baric , PhD, on prominent and promising coronavirus treatment testing.   

Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD

Sr. Research Fellow and Scientific Lead
Coronavirus Vaccines and Immunopathogenesis Team
Vaccine Research Center, NIAID, NIH

Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD, is the scientific lead for the Coronavirus Vaccines & Immunopathogenesis Team at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Vaccine Research Center. Her team develops novel coronavirus vaccines, including mRNA-1273, a candidate vaccine against the virus that causes COVID-19. In partnership with Moderna, Inc., this potential vaccine is now in phase 1 clinical trial. Dr. Corbett earned her PhD in microbiology and immunology from UNC-Chapel Hill.

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