• Welcoming Carolyn Coyne
    January 26, 2021

    We are pleased to announce that Carolyn Coyne, PhD will join the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and the …

  • Duke Minisymposium on Pathogenic Human Viruses – April 7, 2021
    January 20, 2021

      SAVE THE DATE 18th Annual Duke Minisymposium on Pathogenic Human Viruses Wednesday, April 7, 2021 1:30-5:00 PM Zoom links …

  • Thursday Seminar Series
    January 19, 2021

    Bas van Steensel, Ph.D. Head of Division of Gene Regulation, Netherlands Cancer Institute, the Netherlands “Probing principles of gene regulation …


John RawlsRawls Elected to American Academy of Microbiology (AAM). Congratulations to John Rawls on being one of 65 new Fellows elected into AAM. Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, an honorific leadership group within the ASM, are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. Rawls, a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology in the School of Medicine and leader of the Duke Microbiome Center, studies how host-microbiome interactions in the intestine regulate digestion, inflammation, and energy balance. By comparing zebrafish, mouse, and humans, his lab has uncovered conserved mechanisms of host-microbiome communication. His recent work showed that specialized sensory cells in the intestine called enteroendocrine cells perceive specific microbial products and communicate that information to the nervous system and the brain. To read more click here.

“This is an exemplary recognition of John’s landmark and paradigmatic studies on the microbiome, development of novel zebra fish models, and elucidation of mechanisms via which the host senses both microbial signals and small molecules/nutrients in the GI tract with broad implications for health and disease” – Joseph Heitman. 

“This is great news and a well-deserved honor for John. Congratulations, John” – Rodger Liddle

Nielsen Elected to American Academy of Microbiology (AAM). Congratulations to Kirsten Nielsen, Post-doctoral Fellow Alumnus in the Heitman lab, on being one of 65 new Fellows elected into AAM. The American Society for Microbiology is one of the largest professional societies dedicated to the life sciences and is composed of 30,000 scientists and health practitioners. ASM’s mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences. To read more click here.

McMillan graphical abstract featured on the cover with Cell Reports. Plant-microbe interactions 101 just added a new chapter!  Learn about how outer membrane vesicles from pathogenic and commensal plant bacteria activate protective plant immune responses in the latest publication from the Kuehn lab.  Vesicles may be small, but these complex biological packages play a big role in inter-kingdom interactions, suggesting a promising role as tools to probe plant immune responses. Read the full story here and be sure to check out the cover of the issue!

Congratulations to the Heaton Lab. Congrats to the Heaton lab who published a new study describing how fetal inflammation can be controlled during a maternal viral infection. To read the paper that was published in Science please click here.

Catching up with Deborah Springer. Deb Springer, former fellow in the Heitman Lab, has been spending her lab time on the fight against COVID19. Now with a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences, immunology, and infectious diseases from the University at Albany, she works as a lead science in assay development, translational genomics, for Q2 Solutions in North Carolina. Her hours in the lab these days ultimately help advance COVID-19 research. To read more on Springer’s journey please click here.

Kristin Thole earns certification from the national board for health and wellness coaching (NBHWC). OBGE congratulates Kristin Thole, OBGE Health & Wellness Coach, on earning national certification from the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). Kristin, who provides Health & Wellness Coaching to PhD students in the School of Medicine, received her training with the Duke Integrative Health Coach Professional Training Program.

Health & Wellness Coaching is not just about one’s physical well-being, it is about the whole person: their values, goals, work, balance, fulfillment, and life purpose. Any concern that gets in the way of achieving optimal health and well-being is the perfect subject for beginning coaching (for example: stress, exercise, rest, communication, relationships, physical space, professional development). Health and wellness coaching effectively motivates and supports behavior change through a structured partnership between the client and coach. The coach helps the individual develop and realize their optimal health vision through inquiry, personal discovery, and accountability. Health & Wellness Coaching is not professional counseling or psychotherapy.

Expected outcomes of a coaching session include:

  • Clear understanding of your goals and values
  • Motivation to support behavior change
  • Strategies for moving toward your goals

Heaton and Matsunami among a team of researchers studying the mysterious symptom of abrupt loss of smell and taste associated with COVID-19. The researchers are located in the Departments of Neurobiology, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Immunology, and Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences. I’ve also attached the original image and an image that can be used with social media. Thanks in advance for sharing this story on your blogs, websites, and social media.


Gokhale awarded Helen Hay Whitney Award. Congratulations to Nandan Gokhale, former student in Stacy Horner’s lab, now postdoctoral  Fellow in Ram Savan’s lab at the University of Washington, on being awarded the Helen Hay Whitney Fellowship Award. The Helen Hay Whitney Foundation was established and endowed by Mrs. Charles S. Payson, the former Joan Whitney, in 1947, and named in honor of her mother, Helen Hay Whitney. Originally established to stimulate and support research in the area of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, the Foundation later expanded its interests to include diseases of connective tissue and, ultimately, all basic biomedical sciences. The Helen Hay Whitney Foundation supports early postdoctoral research training in all basic biomedical sciences. The most critical and long-lasting investment in the research enterprise is the development of career scientists who contribute through both their own research and, eventually, their training of future generations of scientists. Whitney Fellows have gone on to become some of the most highly regarded medical and scientific professionals in their respective fields, and have served as mentors to succeeding generations of scientists.

For past news articles please click here.