READDI co-founder and scientific adviser Ralph Baric is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s epidemiology department and professor in the UNC School of Medicine’s microbiology and immunology department. He is one of the world’s foremost authorities in the study of coronaviruses, noroviruses and dengue viruses, and is responsible for UNC-Chapel Hill’s leading role in coronavirus research.
For the past three decades, Ralph has warned that the emerging coronaviruses represent a significant and ongoing global health threat, particularly because they can jump, without warning, from animals into the human population, and they tend to spread rapidly. Ralph has led the world in recognizing the importance of zoonotic viruses, with detailed studies of the molecular, genetic and evolutionary mechanisms that regulate the establishment and dissemination of these viruses within newly adopted hosts. Specifically, he works to decipher the complex interactions between a virus and cell surface molecules that enable entry and cross-species transmission of RNA viruses.
A member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Ralph earned a Doctor of Philosophy in microbiology and a Bachelor of Science in zoology from North Carolina State University.