news-category: Alumni

Gardner-Webb Alumna Dr. Carrie Mae Long Receives Prestigious Award

Dr. Carrie Mae Long, second from left, and the work of her team of researchers, were recognized with the Pathogens 2022 Young Investigator Award.
Dr. Carrie Mae Long, second from left, and the work of her team of researchers, was recognized with the Pathogens 2022 Young Investigator Award.

Researcher and her Team Recognized for Their Work on Q Fever

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Dr. Carrie Mae Long, a 2011 Gardner-Webb University alumna with a degree in biology, is the winner of the Pathogens 2022 Young Investigator Award. Pathogens, an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal, presents this honor annually to recognize excellence in the field.

“It’s really good to see my group be recognized for all the work they have been doing,” Long stated. “It’s exciting to get some visibility among the greater scientific community, because we are really passionate about what we do.”

Long is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Independent Research Scholar. She works in the Laboratory of Bacteriology at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (Hamilton, Mont.), a component of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Long obtained her Ph.D. in immunology and microbial pathogenesis in 2016 from West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown. This background gave her a unique perspective for bacteriology research. “I quickly realized that I could help fill in some of the major knowledge gaps,” she commented.

She leads a group of three researchers and their focus is studying Coxiella burnetii, immunology, vaccinology, Q fever, animal modeling, guinea pigs, and bacterial vaccine development. Long explained that “acute Q fever” is the most widely recognized form of the disease, and it can be described as a severe flu-like illness. Another form is “chronic Q fever,” which is characterized by persistent focalized infections and typically occurs in immunocompromised people or those who have heart problems. “My group focuses on Q fever countermeasure development,” she stated. “We want to develop better vaccines and treatments for Q fever.”

Long described the sense of accomplishment she feels at leading her own lab. “It is one of the most rewarding and exciting endeavors of my career to date,” she asserted. “My passion for mentoring trainees is only matched by my love of science. Each day brings new challenges and victories. I truly feel that I have found my purpose through science and leading a team of outstanding people towards discoveries that will ultimately improve human health. I firmly believe there is nothing better than coming into work every day and interacting with a team diligently and emphatically working towards a common goal.”

Her scientific achievements are documented in 21 peer-reviewed publications, including six first-author manuscripts in well-respected journals. She shared her appreciation for all of her mentors who helped her to develop her leadership skills. “At GWU, I was exposed to faculty and fellow students whose enthusiasm, diversity, and dedication amplified these same attributes in me,” she observed. “Being educated at a liberal arts college has helped me to embrace diverse ideas and approach problems with both creativity and logic. I firmly believe that we are all scientists, and I derive pure joy from helping anyone achieve this realization. Overall, I am indebted to all of my mentors, current and past, who have encouraged and guided me.”

Click here to read a previous story about Long’s accomplishments.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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