Dr. Mary Ann Lila, director of NC State’s Plants for Human Health Institute on the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, has been named the first David H. Murdock Distinguished Professor.
Three Murdock professorships were created with a $2 million gift to NC State from David Murdock, owner of Dole Foods and other businesses. Murdock’s gift was matched with $1 million from the North Carolina Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund, and the $3 million total used to create endowments that fund the three professorships.
Lila, who was named to direct the institute in 2008, is an internationally known scientist. Her research focuses on three areas: studying health-enhancing compounds in blueberries and other berries, isolating phytochemicals that counteract malaria, and working with scientists and students from around the world to explore natural products for biomedical use.