Chemist receives NIH award to support innovative research

Kevin Weeks, a chemist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has received an award from the National Institutes of Health to support innovative research on creating new drugs that work by binding to RNA.

Weeks, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, was tapped for a EUREKA (Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration) Award, which funds transformative research projects with potential to have a significant impact on many areas of science.

The award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the NIH, is worth approximately $1.2 million over four years.

“Because many serious human illnesses involve RNA components — including the RNA genomes of viruses like HIV and Hepatitis C — the potential impact of this project is exceptionally wide-ranging,” Weeks said.

Previously, Weeks and his lab created the first-ever model of an entire HIV-1 genome, a discovery that has widespread implications for understanding how viruses like HIV infect humans.

Read more about Weeks’ research.