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Michele Hayward, a research director at UNC Lineberger, was honored on Monday by 97.9 WCHL with the Hometown Heroes Award.


For her work bringing patients, doctors and scientists together to advance personalized medicine approaches to cancer treatment through a complex clinical trial, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Michele Hayward was honored Monday with the Hometown Heroes Award.

The award, which is presented by Performance Auto Mall, is given by 97.9 WCHL to recognize a member of the community each day.

Hayward, a research director at UNC Lineberger, was nominated for her work helping to manage a clinical trial known as UNCseq. The trial is designed to use next-generation sequencing to find genetic mutations in patients’ tumors that can be targeted with specific cancer treatments. The trial is an example of how UNC Lineberger researchers are working to advance personalized medicine approaches to cancer treatment.

Hayward coordinates staff involved in the trial, including referring physicians and research staff, and she serves as the interface between the study and patients who are involved. She has been working on the study since the trial’s inception at UNC.

“Across the country, cancer centers are working to implement clinical sequencing, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the group that has worked to make this a reality at UNC,” Hayward said.

In an interview with, the trial’s principal investigator D. Neil Hayes, MD, MPH, a UNC Lineberger member and an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine, said Hayward has helped to move this complex trial forward. The work involves working with patients during a difficult time of their lives, as well as bringing together scientists, physicians and new technologies.

“Michele is able to collaborate both with researchers in a basic science laboratory and to talk to patients about their cancer,” Hayes said. “She’s compassionate and collaborative, and is critical to a trial that’s become one of our flagship clinical programs.”