• Congratulations to the 2021 MGM Graduates
    June 2, 2021

    Dr. Alex Antonia defended his doctoral thesis, “Understanding Mechanisms and Diversity of Leishmania-Mediated CXCL10 Suppression,” on April 15, 2020. Alex …

  • 2021-2022 MGM WIP Seminar Series
    May 18, 2021

    Please click here for the MGM Monday Works-in-Progress Seminar series for next academic year

  • 2021 MGM Graduate students
    April 21, 2021

    Congratulations to MGM’s new incoming 2021 Graduate Students: Alexandria Bartlett Rhodry Brown Rob Davidson Emma Heckenberg Dasean Nardone-White Jessica Portillo …


Heitman received an Mycological Society of America’s distinguished mycologist award.  Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD received the distinguished mycologist award this week from the Mycological Society of America. He joins other distinguished honorees as John Taylor, Rytas Vilgalys, Meredith Blackwell, Jim Anderson, Linda Kohn, and others.  See previous honorees here.  Dr. Hetiman thanked his laboratory and collaborates in the following statement.  “This is truly a reflection of all of your amazing efforts advancing the science, and a testament to all of your contributions to mycology.  From my perspective, it is humbling to be considered a mycologist, let alone a distinguished one.  That reflects the impact of Tim James and Rytas Vilgalys many years ago in teaching a myopic yeast geneticist about the wonder and mystery of the fungal kingdom.”

More information will be in the next issue of the MSA publication Inoculum.

Stacy Horner Headshot

David and Horner recipients of Thomas Langford Lectureship award. Congratulations to Lawrence David and Stacy Horner on being selected as recipients of Duke University’s Thomas Langford Lectureship Award for academic year 2021-22. This program was established in 2000 in tribute to the memory of Thomas Langford, former Divinity School faculty member, Dean, and Provost, who embodied the highest university values of scholarship, teaching, collegiality, and promotion of faculty excellence and community. This annual Langford Lectureship series is designed to offer Duke’s faculty an opportunity to hear about the ongoing scholarly activities of their recently promoted or hired colleagues.

“Congratulations on this tremendous honor, which is a direct reflection of your stellar research program and its impact” – Joseph Heitman

PERFECT 10! Asiya Gusa scored a perfect 10 on her recent MOSAIC K99/R00 application.  Congratulations to Asyia Gusa, Tri-I Molecular Mycology and Pathogeneis Training Fellow and Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Sue Jinks-Robertson‘s laboratory. The MOSAIC K99/R00 program is designed to facilitate a timely transition of promising postdoctoral researchers from diverse backgrounds from their mentored, postdoctoral research positions to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions at research-intensive institutions.  Asiya applied for the program with Dr. Sue Jinks-Robertson as her primary mentor and Dr. Joe Heitman as her co-mentor.

Asiya has exciting research ahead!  A description of her project is below.  The adaptive mechanisms that enable pathogenic fungi to survive the environment-to-host transition and cause persistent human disease are not well understood. In the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus deneoformans, we have discovered transposon mobilization as a significant cause of mutation during murine infection and in response to heat stress in culture, with the potential to enhance pathogenic traits or enable antifungal drug resistance. In this study, we seek to define the mechanism of stress-induced transposon mutagenesis in C. deneoformans and to determine whether this adaptive genetic strategy contributes to enhanced pathogenesis or drug resistance in disease-causing cryptococcal species during host infection.


John RawlsJoining Forces to Fight Childhood Obesity. John Rawls, Professor in MGM, has teamed up with The Hearts and Parks Program to further investigate pediatric obesity. John Rawls study – Pediatric Obesity Microbiome and Metabolism (POMMS) funded by NIH R24 grant, aims to better understand how gut microbes influence metabolism in adolescents with obesity before and after weight loss intervention. These two projects involve 13 collaborators from across Duke campus who are taking a clinical and multi-omics approach to learn more about pediatric obesity, assess the effectiveness of a clinic-community collaboration to treat it, and better understand how the microbiome and metabolome contribute to intervention success. To read more click here.

Jawahar awarded an American Heart Association Graduate Student Fellowship. Jayanth (Jay) Jawahar, a graduate student in John Rawls’ lab, has been awarded an American Heart Association Graduate Student Fellowship. This award will support Jay’s Ph.D. dissertation research to discern the genes and metabolites used by the human gut bacterium Bacteroides vulgatus to survive and compete with other microbes within the intestine.


Ye awarded a K01 Research Scientist Development Award. Dr. Lihua Ye, a Research Assistant Professor in MGM working in John Rawls’ lab, has been awarded a K01 Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). This award will support Lihua’s research program to understand the mechanisms by which intestinal bacteria and nutrients communicate with the nervous system through specialized sensory cells in the intestinal epithelium called enteroendocrine cells.

David, Heaton and Hammer recipients of the 2021 Burroughs Welcome Fund. Congratulations to Lawrence David, Nicholas Heaton, and Secondary Faculty member Gianna Hammer on being named BWF’s 2021 Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease. The award provides opportunities for accomplished researchers to bring multidisciplinary approaches to the study of human infectious diseases.

“An amazing day for MGM, Immunology and Duke to have three recipients out of 11.

They join previous MGM recipients Raphael, Ashley, Jörn, and Stacy, and also myself from the previous BWF Scholar in Molecular Pathogenic Mycology program, the predecessor to the current Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease program.” – Joseph Heitman

To read more click here.

Welcome to the Academy! Two Duke Professors elected to National Academy of Sciences. Joseph Heitman, professor in MGM, was recently one of two Duke Professors elected into NAS this year. Heitman’s recent research has focused on a novel kind of drug resistance called epi mutation in which a microbe’s genes can be silenced through an RNA silencing pathway, causing mutant-like behavior, without any change in the DNA sequence. The Chronicle at Duke recently published an article on Heitman’s great accomplishment, to read more please click here.

Bonglack awarded an NCI Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (F31). Emma Bonglack is PhD candidate in Pharmacology working in the Luftig lab. She has just been awarded an NCI Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (F31). This award will support her research on the role and regulation of monocarboxylate transporters 1 and 4 (MCT1/4) in Epstein-Barr Virus-mediated B lymphocyte tumorigenesis.

Felicia WilliamsWilliams awarded Ataxia Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowship. Congratulations to Felicia Williams, Graduate Student in the Scaglione lab, on being awarded the Diverse Scientists in Ataxia Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowship from the National Ataxia Foundation. Williams research focuses on misfolding and aggregation of proteins containing highly repetitive poly amino acid tracts that are often associated with progressive neurodegenerative disorders, such as the polyglutamine diseases. However, the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum is a biological outlier that is naturally resistant to polyglutamine aggregation. The goal of Williams research is to identify unique regulators of protein aggregation in this organism and to shed light on how nature has dealt with these difficult proteins. In the long term, we hope that this will aid in expanding treatment options for neurodegenerative disorders caused by polyglutamine expansion.

Heitman Elected to the National Academy of Science. Congratulations to Joseph Heitman, James B. Duke Professor and Chair of MGM, who was one of two Duke Faculty members elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Heitman studies model and pathogenic fungi to address unsolved problems in biology and medicine. His pioneering research using the model budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae led to the discovery of FKBP12 and TOR as the targets of rapamycin, a drug now widely used in organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, and interventional cardiology. Joe joins 3 other MGM faculty members, Sue Jinks-RobertsonTom Petes, PhD and Bill Joklik, PhD who were previously elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

“This honor is a direct reflection of having been fortunate to be surrounded by amazingly talented and motivated cadre of students, fellows, lab personnel, collaborators, and colleagues over the past several decades.  It is their efforts that made any such success both possible and a reality.  It is also a direct reflection on an institutional ethos and culture that supports, sustains, inspires, and celebrates discovery-driven science.”  – Joseph Heitman

To read the full article click here.

Heaton receives 2021 Young Investigator Award. Congratulations to Nick Heaton, Assistant Professor in MGM, on being the recipient of the Viruses 2021 Young Investigators Award. Heaton’s current work broadly focuses on understanding how respiratory RNA viruses induce inflammation and lung disease, as well as how virally induced damage is eventually repaired. His most recent study has revealed a new mechanism that prevents influenza-virus-induced lung inflammation from being transferred to a developing fetus during maternal infection. For full article posting please click here.



For past news articles please click here.