September 30th, 2011
The State of North Carolina announced today that Distinguished Professor Trudy Mackay will receive the North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor the state bestows. The award will be presented on November 10, 2011. Created by the General Assembly in 1961, and administered by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the award recognizes significant contributions of individuals in the fields of fine arts, literature, public service, and science over time. Since 1964, more than 250 North Carolinians have received the prestigious award. Past award recipients have included some of the country's most distinguished artists, poets, writers, performers, journalists, scientists and public servants.
Professor Mackay was noted by the awards committee for being the world's leading expert in the theory and application of quantitative genetics, which underlies most human and animal diseases. Dr. Mackay has transformed the study of genetics through her numerous seminal contributions, literally writing the textbook for the field (Falconer and Mackay, 1996, ‘Introduction to Quantitative Genetics'). Furthermore, Dr. Mackay is a tireless supportor of women and under-represented groups in science, having trained 26 female gradaute students and post-doctoral fellows in North Carolina and directed NCSU's university-wide National Institutes of Health-funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity. Dr. Mackay is one of the few individuals elected to both the Royal Society in the United Kingdom and the National Academy of Sciences in the US, and she was awarded the O. Max Gardner Award in 2007 from the University of North Carolina, being recognized as the faculty member who has "made the greatest contributions to the welfare of the human race." Dr. Mackay's work in quantitative genetics has contributed to the understanding of health concerns including diabetes, cancer, glaucoma, alcohol abuse, high blood pressure, and longevity.