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Responding to a Stanford University professor’s dire need for a bone marrow transplant, members of the UNC community are helping the Be The Match organization organize a bone marrow transplant donor registry drive on campus Thursday, May 23, in The Pit from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sri Kalyanaraman, an associate professor in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Elise Rice, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology, learned that Stanford professor Nalini Ambady needs a marrow transplant within weeks and that her students, friends and family are organizing transplant donor drives in several cities in the U.S., Canada and India, among others.

Kalyanaraman and Rice contacted the Ambady family, who put them in touch with Betsie Letterle at Be The Match. Letterle and her team from Be The Match will conduct the donor registry drive at UNC on Thursday.

“I am really hopeful about this registry drive because it allows individuals to potentially change lives,” said Rice. “Obviously, our immediate goal is to help identify a donor for Dr. Ambady, but in doing so, we expect that expanding the registry will allow other patients to be matched with donors as well.” She said new donors added to the registry in the past month through drives for Ambady had already been matched with five other patients.

“Our campus community is incredibly caring and compassionate,” said Kalyanaraman.

Kalyanaraman and Rice said that they were working with local restaurants and bars to organize more drives for people who would like to be involved but who are unable to attend the Thursday event in The Pit.

For more information, contact Kalyanaraman at or Rice at

Published May 21, 2013.