Dinner With Faculty: Dorothy Erie

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Thursday, March 21 | 6:30 p.m.
The Carolina Club, 106 Stadium Drive, Chapel Hill
Price: $45; Carolina Alumni members save $15

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Dine and discuss issues with UNC faculty in a small-group setting, limited to 10 guests. Read the faculty bio and find additional dinner details below.

Dinner details:

Dinner at The Carolina Club begins at 6:30 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) and includes three courses plus coffee and tea. Lunch begins at 12 p.m. and includes a meal and drink.  No jeans, please.

Contact Catherine Nichols ’89, senior coordinator of faculty relations and travel, if you need to modify your registration or cancel, (919) 270-3524 or

Bio: Dorothy Erie

Dorothy has been a professor in the Chemistry Department at UNC for twenty-nine years and is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dorothy grew up in Baton Rouge, LA. She grew up with eight older brothers and sisters, who were a great support group but torturous at times, great life training. Her mother was from a small village in south Louisiana and her first language was French, her father from Chicago. Dorothy, along with her siblings, grew up with a passion for food and cooking (her mother was a superb cook), dancing to zydeco (or any) music, being outdoors, and French language and culture. Her love of science was cultivated by her sister Marie, who is seven years older and studied chemistry and physics.

Marie was always telling her about cool new science stuff and helped her with her science projects. Marie also introduced her to the emerging field of biophysics, which has gone on the shape her career. Dorothy’s interest in science took on new focus in tenth grade, when she was taught evolution and Mendelian genetics by Sister Jean. To this day, she still remains fascinated with DNA and how proteins both protect it and decode its messages. Dorothy went to LSU and majored in chemistry with an emphasis in biology and a large dose of French on the side.

Dorothy did not take a linear path. In her second year, she had the opportunity to study French for a year in France with a Louisiana program to maintain their French culture. One year turned into two, where she enrolled into the “Fac de Science”. After returning she completed her degree in Chemistry and moved 1000 miles north to UW-Madison where she obtained a MS and then to Rutgers for her Ph.D. in physical chemistry. From there she crossed the country to postdoc at U. Oregon and then another postdoc at Berkeley before coming to UNC.

Her favorite part of her job is mentoring students. The research in her lab has been focused in three areas: mechanistic studies of transcription elongation, structure-function studies of DNA repair, and development of novel techniques to study proteins and DNA at the single molecule level. Outside of the lab, she is an avid hiker and biker and loves to tinker building bikes, ebikes, and various construction projects large and small. On any given evening, you could find her dancing in her living room, something she has done since her childhood.

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