Time + Tenacity: The Formula for Breakthroughs in UNC Research
Time and tenacity — two essential components for successful research endeavors at UNC-Chapel Hill. With more than 200 years of research under its belt, Carolina houses an ever-growing list of discoveries and inventions, many of which span several decades.

From 1793 to Today


Captain James Lovell, a NASA astronaut who was navigator on the Apollo 8 mission and commander of Apollo 13, trained at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in the mid-1960s.

Eyes in the Sky

Ever since the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina has proudly proclaimed to be “first in flight.” Less well-known is Carolina’s connection to deep space — from the first astronomical observatory on a college campus, to the first planetarium in the South, to one of the first administrators at NASA. Read more…

Elizabeth Davis spent 21 years trying to receive a correct diagnosis from doctors about her condition, which prevented her toes from uncurling, causing her to walk with crutches for the most of her life.

The Cure Code

When Fred Sanger figured out how to sequence DNA in 1975, the world changed — and so did UNC. Since its founding in 2000, the UNC Department of Genetics has continuously made the top-five list of NIH program funding and has grown to include 80 faculty, who have taken the world of research and medicine by storm. Read more…

The FPG Child Development Institute was founded by Nancy (left) and Hal Robinson, two UNC psychologists, in 1966.

From Turmoil to Triumph

The major political events of the 1960s set the stage for the founding of the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, which forever changed education research and practice. Read more…

Abecedarian Project co-creaters Isabelle Lewis (left) and Joseph Sparling work with an early study participant. The project, one of the world’s oldest and most oft-cited early childhood education programs, celebrates its 45th anniversary this year.

The ABCs of Early Childhood Education

Smarter. Healthier. Better prepared for the world. Those are just a few of the benefits early childhood education can have over the course of a lifetime — benefits made evident by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute’s Abecedarian Project researchers, who have spent the past 45 years following up with their original research subjects. Read more…

This portrait of Dean Kemble, gifted by the class of 1955, hangs in Carrington Hall in the UNC School of Nursing.

The Nursing Pioneer

After becoming founding dean of the UNC School of Nursing in 1950, Elizabeth L. Kemble recruited faculty, oversaw construction of a building and dormitories, and even handpicked the first class of students. She spent the next 18 years dedicating her life to this school. Read more…

Kings of Chemistry

How an unexpected discovery transformed the world and made Morehead, Venable, and Kenan household names at UNC-Chapel Hill. Read more…

Through the Looking Glass

UNC’s computer science department laid the groundwork for 3-D computer-generated graphics and continues to push the boundaries of virtual environments today. Read more…

In 1984, BJ Campbell — founding director of the UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) — and other HSRC researchers conducted field observations of seat belt use in Chapel Hill as part of an early incentive campaign called “Seat Belts Pay-Off.”

Hedging High Stakes and Human Behavior

How the UNC Highway Safety Research Center changed America’s driving behavior — saving lives and making our roadways safer. Read more…

Photo Courtesy of Kenneth Brinkhous (right) began studying the first known canine carriers of hemophilia in 1947. His research with dogs led to the creation of a blood laboratory, known today as the Francis Owen Blood Research Laboratory — which led to multiple advancements in hemophilia including a blood test, treatments, and knowledge of the disease.

Blood, sweat, and tears

UNC began treating blood disorders in 1947 — setting the stage for major breakthroughs in hemophilia and HIV. Read more…