Geneticist Dr. Trudy Mackay will receive the North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor, on Nov. 10.
Mackay’s groundbreaking research in quantitative genetics has contributed to the understanding of health concerns such as diabetes, cancer, glaucoma, alcohol abuse, high blood pressure and longevity. She studies genetic and environmental factors affecting variation in complex traits, using the fruit fly, a model organism.
Mackay, the William Neal Reynolds and Distinguished University Professor of Genetics and Entomology, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2007 she received the O. Max Gardner Award, the highest faculty honor from the University of North Carolina system.
She has authored or co-authored 140 refereed publications and several books, including the principal textbook in quantitative genetics. She has been a strong supporter of women and underrepresented groups in science, training 26 female graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in North Carolina and directing the university’s National Institutes of Health initiative to maximize student diversity.
Here are the 2011 North Carolina Award honorees:
> Science: Dr. Trudy F.C. Mackay
> Literature: Ron Rash of Cullowhee
> Public Service: Charles E. Hamner Jr. of Chapel Hill and H. Martin Lancaster of Raleigh
> Fine Arts: Vollis Simpson of Lucama and Branford Marsalis of Durham
The awards are administered by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.