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'A powerhouse': Dr. David Weber receives Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service award

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Dr. David Weber receives the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award during the 230th University Day celebration in Memorial Hall on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. Photo Courtesy of Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill.

Though Dr. David Weber is an adviser to the World Health Organization and serves on various national and statewide medical  boards, he said his most rewarding work is mentoring students.

“Dr. Weber is one of the most amazing persons I’ve ever met,” his colleague Evelyn Cook, associate director of the Statewide Program for Infection Control and Epidemiology, said. “He’s probably one of the smartest physicians I’ve ever had the pleasure to get to know.” 

On Thursday, Weber became the 13th recipient of the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award during UNC’s 230th University Day. The award was presented by Beth Moracco, the University’s chair of the faculty and recipient of the Graham Award in 2021. 

The award is a mark of outstanding service on the part of a faculty member at UNC. 

“It’s clearly a great, great honor,” Weber said. “It’s always nice to receive acclaim from your colleagues.”

The award memorializes former UNC President Edward Kidder Graham. It calls to mind Graham's goal of sharing discoveries from the University beyond the boundaries of the UNC campus.

As an associate chief medical officer at the UNC Medical Center, medical director for the Statewide Program for Infection Control and Epidemiology and an adviser to the World Health Organization, Weber is doing just that, Cook said.

“He’s kind of a powerhouse, I think,” Amanda Brown Marusiak, a fourth-year doctoral student, said. “He has his hands in so many things.”

Weber said his most important work is to share his knowledge. He specializes in infectious disease research, specifically healthcare-associated infections, and said he is passionate about his work because he can actually cure most of his patients. 

“Most other areas of medicine, you make people live longer and live healthier, but you don’t really cure people,” he said.   

Weber has mentored more than 50 master's and Ph.D. students at UNC and gives lectures about infectious disease research across the country. He has also authored or co-authored more than one thousand publications, including over 450 scientific papers cited in PubMed, a database for biomedical literature. 

Much of his work over the past few years has focused on COVID — 50 of his papers cover the disease.  

“By teaching, you get that multiplier effect,” Weber said. “If I can both help the world and train other people, and each of those people go out and train another 50 people, you have a much bigger impact.”

Cook said one of Weber’s best traits is his ability to communicate with others and make them feel respected. 

“He is so personable with people. He responds to them in a way that makes them feel at ease,” she said.

Despite a busy schedule, Weber makes himself available and responsive to his students, Brown Marusiak said.

“He’s kind of always making sure that I am prioritized as a person,” she said. 

Weber said the ability to break down boundaries and communicate with others makes UNC a special place for research. 

“Really, it's a collaborative world, and the most progress is being made when you collaborate across different disciplines,” Weber said. “People should be synergistic and add to each other, and UNC is the best place I’ve ever seen for that.” 

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