Recent News


Aballay and Valdivia elected fellows of American Academy of Microbiology.  Professors of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Alejandro Aballay, PhD and Raphael Valdivia, PhD, were recently elected as fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, an honorific leadership group within American Society of Microbiology.  More…

Heaton chosen for funding from the Duke Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI).  The Heaton lab was recently awarded a Translational Accelerator grant from the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute.  This grant will fund the continued development of next-generation influenza virus vaccines which are designed to reduce the time and cost associated with production, as well as increase vaccine efficacy.

Cullen and Su receive the Duke/UNC CTSA collaborative Pilot Award.   Bryan Cullen, PhD (Duke) and Lishan Su, PhD (UNC) receive the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) for research on chronic hepatitis and anti-viral treatments.  More…


Martinez awarded ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship.  The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has selected David Martinez, a graduate student in Dr. Sallie Permar’s laboratory, as a 2016-2019 award recipient of the ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship.  More…


Neural stem cells serve as RNA highways too.  Debra Silver, Ph.D., and assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology recently published a paper in Current Biology.  The research was featured in Duke Today and on the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.  To read the published manuscript, “Dynamic mRNA Transport and Local Translation in Radial Glial Progenitors of the Developing Brain,” Louis-Jan Pilaz, Ashley L. Lennox, Jeremy P. Rouanet, Debra L. Silver. Current Biology, December 19, 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.10.040, click here.

Rawls named AAAS Fellow.  John F. Rawls, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology in the Medical School is being recognized in the AAAS section on Biological Sciences for his “distinguished contributions to the field of symbiosis, particularly using zebrafish as a gnotobiotic host model to identify mechanisms underlying host-microbiota interactions in the intestine.” His research is focused on host-microbe interactions in the gut that regulate immunity, digestion and energy balance.  AAAS AnouncementDuke Chronicle Article.

Jen-Tsan Ashley Chi Associate Professor Breast Cancer Cells Starve for Cystine. Ashley Chi, M.D., Ph.D.  recently published a paper reporting that cells from a vicious and treatment-resistant form of breast cancer, called triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), die off rapidly when deprived of a key nutrient called cystine.  Breast cancer is a collection of different types of cancer subtypes. Among different breast cancer subtypes, we don’t have effective treatment for triple negative breast cancer that lack any of the targets we use to target cancer cells. In this study, we have found that the triple negative breast cancer cannot live without the import of the cysteine, an non-essential amino acids. Therefore, the removal or blockage of cysteine import into cancer cells may help patients with triple negative breast cancer.The research was featured in Duke Today.  Read the full article here.

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