Meitzen Wins National Award for Neuroscience Outreach

John Meitzen, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at NC State University, has been named a 2016 recipient of the Society for Neuroscience’s (SfN) prestigious Next Generation Award.

SfN is the largest international neuroscience society, with nearly 38,000 members. The Next Generation Award is a national honor that recognizes SfN members who have made outstanding contributions to public communication, outreach and education about neuroscience.

Meitzen was recognized for his role as one of the pioneers of the annual Brain Awareness Night at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, which will be held for the fourth time in March 2017. The event features hands-on brain and behavior exhibits, talks from NC State students and a keynote by a prominent neuroscientist.

“The event is a lot of fun to organize and has been really successful,” Meitzen said, noting that the 2016 event attracted more than 300 attendees. In the future, he hopes to expand it to include targeted outreach to middle and high school educators.

The award also cited Meitzen’s work in creating a senior capstone course in the Department of Biological Sciences that focuses on an innovative inquiry-based approach to neuroscience. “This approach encourages active learning and engages students in neuroscience at multiple levels of analysis,” Meitzen said. “Developing and teaching it has been a very rewarding experience as I’ve seen students grow in their understanding.”

Meitzen calls the Next Generation Award “fantastic recognition of our growing neuroscience program at NC State,” noting that he has seen expansion of neuroscience research, outreach, interest and education across the university since he arrived on campus nearly four years ago. “It’s an exciting time to be a neuroscientist at NC State,” he said.

Mackay Wins Prestigious Wolf Prize



Trudy Mackay, William Neal Reynolds and University Distinguished Professor in NC State’s Department of Biological Sciences, was awarded today the prestigious Wolf Prize. Mackay was awarded the prize for agriculture; the award is given in a number of disciplines, including agriculture, chemistry, math, medicine, physics and the arts.

The prize is known as one of the world’s most prestigious awards for academic achievement and often serves as a harbinger for Nobel Prizes; the Times of Israel reports that 14 of 26 winners of the Wolf Prize in physics later won Nobel Prizes, for example. The prize comes with an award of $100,000.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Mackay studies the genetic and environmental factors affecting variation in quantitative, or complex, traits. Her groundbreaking work largely focuses on the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly.

Her work to create the publicly available Drosophila Genetic Reference Guide, more than 200 lines of fruit flies that differ enormously in their genetic variation but are identical within each line, has been a boon to researchers around the globe interested in studying characteristics that vary and are influenced by multiple genes – traits like aggression or sensitivity to alcohol, for example.

Funding from multiple National Institutes of Health grants powers Mackay’s work, much of which is conducted with husband and colleague Robert Anholt, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Biological Sciences at NC State.

Wolf Prize winners were announced earlier today in Israel’s Knesset by Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Israeli Nobel laureate Dan Shechtman. An official ceremony will be held in Jerusalem in June.

The Wolf Prize is presented annually by the Wolf Foundation, founded by Dr. Ricardo Wolf, a German-born inventor and former Cuban ambassador to Israel.

January 13, 2016

Longtime NC State Professor LeBlanc Named Head of Biological Sciences

January 14, 2016  | 

Dr. Gerald LeBlanc, a prominent toxicologist who has been on the NC State faculty for close to three decades, has been named the new head of the university’s Department of Biological Sciences. He assumed his new role on January 11.

LeBlanc has been with NC State since 1989 and is currently a professor in the department. His leadership experience includes serving as director of the Toxicology Program and as interim Biological Sciences department head.

Gerald LeBlanc

Gerald LeBlanc

As head of the department, LeBlanc oversees academic, administrative and budgetary matters for more than 1,800 students and 165 faculty, staff and postdoctoral researchers — one of the largest academic departments at NC State. The department, which combines people and programs in biology, genetics, microbiology and toxicology, was created in 2013 to boost interdisciplinary educational opportunities and research collaborations both within the biological sciences and at the discipline’s intersections with the physical, mathematical and earth-system sciences.

LeBlanc’s research focuses on environmental endocrine toxicology — mainly, how environmental signals such as light and temperature regulate biological reproduction and development processes and how environmental chemicals can disrupt these important processes. His research program has been continuously funded since 1990 by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Air Force.

LeBlanc has authored more than 150 research articles in a variety of prestigious academic journals and 17 textbook chapters. He has served on numerous federal and international science advisory committees, panels and boards, including the National Research Council’s committee on Ecological Risk Assessment and as chairman of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Endocrine Disruptors Methods Validation Advisory Committee. He also has been a steering committee member, session chair and keynote speaker for several national and international scientific symposia; an associate editor or editorial board member for numerous scientific journals; and a consultant or expert witness in a number of lawsuits involving toxicity of chemicals.

LeBlanc received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Massachusetts, a master’s degree in biology from Bridgewater State University, and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of South Florida. He also did postdoctoral research in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School.

Faculty Search in Neuroscience

The new Department of Biological Sciences at North Carolina State University in the newly formed College of Sciences seeks outstanding candidates for tenure-track faculty positions at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor.
We seek candidates whose research programs use cutting-edge quantitative and genetic approaches that integrate across multiple levels of biological organization to address fundamental problems in neuroscience, while bridging and augmenting existing research programs in the department.
Candidates must hold a Ph.D. and must have demonstrated the capacity to develop and/or maintain a high-quality independent research program. Support will include attractive start-up packages, laboratory space, and an exceptionally interactive research environment.
Visit to apply for position number 00104921. Complete a candidate profile online, attach a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statement of research interests (1-2 pages), statement of teaching philosophy (1 page), and names and contact information of three individuals willing to write letters of recommendation. Positions will remain open to applications until October 15, 2015.
For additional information please contact Ms. Kathleen Wilson, Department of Biological Sciences (
NC State University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

Individuals with disabilities requiring disability-related accommodations in the application and interview process, please call 919-515-3148.

NCSU Grad awarded Brody Scholarship

!!!CONGRATULATIONS to Catherine Thriveni!!! Catherine is a May 2015 Biological Sciences graduate in the Human Biology concentration, with minors in Creative Writing and Spanish, and a Park Scholar.  She is currently studying abroad at the University of Manchester, UK. The Brody Scholarship is awarded to only three students in each incoming class at ECU School of Medicine. It includes full tuition, room and board for four years of medical school and a stipend for summer enrichment. The goal of the Brody Scholarship parallels the goals of ECU in serving the people of Eastern and under-served NC.

Catherine picture


NIEHS Center for Human Health

Congratulations to Rob Smart who masterfully crafted his NIEHS Center for Human Health which received the thumbs up this week ! In these lean times at NIH it is extremely difficult to get any funds, but Center grants are exceptionally rare. Rob has persisted and been rewarded for careful planning and crafting a wonderful team. The University should also be congratulated for supporting Rob in the planning stages of this project.

A round of applause for Rob and his team (listed below).

Jane Hoppin Deputy Director and Leader Human Population Science Team

Carolyn Mattingly Co-Director Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core

Cathrine Hoyo Co-Director Integrative Health Science Facility Core

Michael Bereman Leader Systems Technologies Core

Keith Linder Director Comparative Pathology Core

Heather Shive Associate Director, Comparative Pathology Core

Catherine LePrevost Community Outreach and Engagement Core

David Reif, Leader Bioinformatics Team

Fred Wright, Associate Leader, Bioinformatics Team

Heather Patisaul Co-Leader Molecular and Cellular-Based Systems and Model Organisms Team

Phil Sannes Co-Leader Molecular and Cellular-Based Systems and Model Organisms Team

Chris McGahan, Director Career Development Core

Jamie Bonner, Director, Pilot Project Program

David Collier, ECU Brody School of Medicine Liaison

Ricky Langley, NC DHHS Liaison

Susan Sumner, Leader, RTI NIH Metabolomics Core

Julia Storm Associate Director Community Outreach and Engagement Core

Greg Cope Associate Director Community Outreach and Engagement Core



Holladay Medal for Excellence

I am pleased to announce that our own Trudy Mackay is recipient of the 2015 Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence, in recognition of the contributions to the university of Alexander Q. Holladay, who served as its first Professor of History and its first President.

The purpose of this award is to recognize members of the faculty who over their careers have made outstanding contributions to the University through their achievements in research, teaching, or extension and engagement. This award is intended to be the highest award made by the University in recognition of faculty achievement and a reward in recognition of the achievements and contributions of a faculty career at North Carolina State University. The award consists of a medal and a framed certificate presented at Spring Commencement. In addition, a permanent plaque is inscribed with the recipients’ names and displayed in the Faculty Senate Room. The award recipients are decided upon by the Board of Trustees, who will be presented with nominations by the University Affairs Committee of the Board in consultation with a university selection committee and the Provost.

Tragedy in Chapel Hill

We are in equal proportions sad, horrified and angry. On Tuesday, one current and two former NC State students; Yusor Mohammad, (who went by the name Yusor Abu-Salha as a student) was a recent graduate of our department. She was killed alongside her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, a sophomore NC State, and her husband, Deah Shaddy Barakat, a May 2013 NC State graduate and second-year student in the School of Dentistry at Chapel Hill. These young people represent the best and brightest that is NCSU and we mourn our loss and grieve this senseless tragedy.

Yusor graduated with a degree in Biological Sciences, Human Biology concentration just this past December.  She was known by many in our department not only as an outstanding student, but also as a kind, humble, articulate, and mature young woman.  Yusor was dedicated to her studies, well respected by her peers, and very excited about working toward and achieving her goals.  We join with all of NC State in expressing our deepest condolences to the families and friends of Yusor Abu-Salha, Deah Shaddy Barakat, and Razan Abu-Salha.

The NC State Counseling Center has counselors available to assist the NC State Community.  They can be reached at 919-515-2423.  Please do not hesitate to take advantage of their services.

February 11, 2015

Warmer Temps Limit Impact of Parasites, Boost Pest Populations

Research from North Carolina State University shows that some insect pests are thriving in warm, urban environments and developing earlier, limiting the impact of parasitoid wasps that normally help keep those pest populations in check.

NC State: Warmer Temps Limit Impact of Parasites, Boost Pest Populations
PCT Pest Control Technology | November 23, 2014
Emily Meineke, Rob Dunn, Biological Sciences, featured

2014-2015 University Faculty Scholar

Congratulations to ERIC STONE – recently named a 2014/15 University Faculty Scholar!

The University Faculty Scholars Program was established in 2012 by Chancellor Woodson to recognize and reward emerging academic leaders among our faculty. Each year, approximately twenty (20) tenured or tenure-track faculty scholars are identified to receive this honor.  Faculty members selected as University Faculty Scholars will carry the title for a five-year period and receive a $10,000 annual supplement that may be used for supplemental salary and benefits or programmatic support.