NEWS

The Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Medical Honor Society announced the 2015 new members, among them is Dr. William Steinbach, Professor of Pediatrics, Co-Director, Tri-Institutional Molecular Mycology and Pathogenesis Training Program.  Membership in AOA is a distinction that accompanies a physician throughout his or her career.  More…

Nicholas Heaton, PhD, joined the Duke University School of Medicine, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology as an assistant professor in August 2015.  Nick’s current research is focused on Genetic engineering of influenza viruses to study viral pathogenesis.  More…

Lawrence David, PhD, Assistant Professor, has received a Beckman Young Investigator award from the The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.  The Beckman Young Investigator Program provides research support to “the most promising young faculty members in the early stages of academic careers in the chemical and life sciences,” according to the program guidelines. In particular, the award funds invention of “methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science.” Lawrence will receive a grant of $750,000 to support his research, “Using natural bacterial interactions to control microbial communities.”  To view a list of the 8 awardees, please click here.

Duke Medicine researchers have found that bladder cells have a highly effective way to combat E. coli bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) [Miao et al., 2015].  In a study published online May 28, 2015, in the journal Cell, Duke researchers and their colleagues describe how bladder cells can physically eject the UTI-causing bacteria that manage to invade the host cell. More…

The selection committee has announced the 2015 MGM SURE awardees.  Congratulations to the following undergraduates:  Mawuli Attipoe, Horner Lab; Kimberline Chew, Sullivan Lab; Nick Donadio, Cardenas/Heitman Lab; Vinay Giri, Perfect Lab; Luke Glover, Ko Lab; Quang Nguyen, Permar Lab.  More…

The awards committee of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology announces the selection of Dr. John Perfect as recipient of The 2015 Lucille K. Georg ISHAM Medal in recognition of his outstanding scientific achievement in the field of medical mycology and infections diseases. Dr. Perfect received the award at the 19th Congress of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology meeting in Melbourne, Australia, May 4th – 8th, 2015.  More…

The Searle Scholars Program announced the 2015 awardees.  Fifteen young scientists in the chemical and biological sciences have been named 2015 Searle Scholars.  Lawrence David, PhD will be awarded $300,000 in flexible funding to support his work during the next three years. More…

The Hartwell Foundation today officially announced the winners of 2014 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards, which will provide support for three years at $100,000 direct cost per year.  Lawrence David, PhD and MGM Postdoctoral alumni Christina Hull, PhD received 2014 Hartwell Awards. More…

New Gene Influences Apple or Pear Shape, Risk of Future Disease
Scientists have known for some time that people who carry a lot of weight around their bellies are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease than those who have bigger hips and thighs. But what hasn’t been clear is why fat accumulates in different places to produce these classic “apple” and “pear” shapes. More…

Gromeier, Abbruzzee Receive $300,000 Grant for Translational Pancreatic Cancer Research Matthias Gromeier, MD, and  James Abbruzzese, MD, have just received the 2015 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Translational Research Grant, a two-year, $300,000 grant that supports translational research toward pancreatic cancer assessment, prevention, or treatment. More…

SEMMA THERAPEUTICS announces $44 Million funding led by MPG Capital to develop Cell Therapy for treating type 1 Diabetes; signs agreement with Global Pharmaceutical company. Semma Therapuetics was co-founded by former Research Assistant Felecia Pagliuca who is now the Director of Technology and Corporate Development.  More…

Searle Scholars Program announced the 2015 awardees.  Fifteen young scientists in the chemical and biological sciences have been named 2015 Searle Scholars. Lawrence David, PhD will be awarded $300,000 in flexible funding to support his or her work during the next three years.
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DUKE-UNC collaboration creating “gut-on-a-chip” – Read a featured article about a Duke-UNC collaboration to build a “gut-on-a-chip” to study the microbiome of the human intestines. More…

Evolving a Bigger Brain with Human DNA
Duke scientists have discovered that a crucial DNA difference between humans and chimps boosts brain size in mice.  More …

Chromosome Biology: You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby – Read a featured post from Beth Sullivan, PLOS Genetics Associate Editor, on the last ten years of chromosome biology. More…

MGM Summer Undergraduate Research Engagement (MGM SURE)
The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology is pleased to announce a 10-week summer fellowship program for Duke undergraduates. The program runs from June 1, 2015 – August 7, 2015.
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Cell’s Recycling Team Helps Sound Alarm on Pathogens
Just as households have recycling bins for getting rid of waste, the cell has its own system for cleaning up defunct components.  More …

2014

Antifungal Drug Development Summit
Please join us for a summit at Duke University January 29-30, 2015 focusing on multi-disciplinary and complementary approaches to anti-fungal therapy development spanning academia and pharma.
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Willard Named President and Director of Marine Biological Laboratory
Huntington Willard, an innovative leader in the fields of genetics and genome biology who has built comprehensive research centers at leading institutions, has been appointed the next President and Director of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  More …

Drugs to Block Angiogenesis Could Provide New Treatment for TB
Duke researchers’ findings suggest a new therapeutic approach that might target the body’s response to tuberculosis (TB).  More …

Microbiome Researchers Find Common Ground
More than 200 scientists, clinicians, engineers and students gathered at Duke University Medical Center to learn about cutting-edge microbiome research in an interdisciplinary symposium.  More …

Post-Doctoral Fellowships Available
The Center for Host-Microbial Interactions in the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology has current openings in the Tri-Institutional Molecular Mycology Pathogenesis Training Program (MMPTP).  More …

Cullen Presents 2014 Raymond Schinazi Distinguished Lectureship
Bryan R. Cullen, PhD, James B. Duke Professor and Director of the Center for Virology in the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, gave the Raymond Schinazi Distinguished Lectureship at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia on October 15.  More …

Scientists Identify Gene Required for Recovery From Bacterial Infection
Duke researchers have uncovered the genes that are normally activated during recovery from bacterial infection in the C. elegans worm. The finding could be key to new antibiotics and countering auto-immune disorders.  More …

Stem-Cell Breakthrough in Treatment of Diabetes
Heitman lab alumnus, Felicia W. Pagliuca, PhD, has helped develop a procedure for making hundreds of millions of pancreatic beta cells in vitro.  More …

Prospecting for Malaria Drugs
Assistant Professor, Emily Derbyshire, PhD, works at the intersection of chemistry and biology to address malaria and other global health problems.  More …

Molecular Players in Brain Development, Aging
Assistant Professor, Dong Yan, PhD, is studying molecular pathways critical in development and aging.
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Goldstein to Head Institute for Genomic Medicine at Columbia University
David Goldstein, PhD, will be joining Columbia as Director of the University’s Institute for Genomic Medicine and Professor of Genetics and Development in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, effective January 1, 2015.  More …

Payne Receives ASM/CDC Resident Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
Tamika Payne, a graduate student in the Duke University Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, has received the ASM/CDC Resident Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  More …

Ko Receives 2014 ICAAC Young Investigator Award
Dennis Ko, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, has received a 2014 ICAAC Young Investigator Award for his innovative and multidisciplinary research on the genetic basis for pathogen susceptibility in humans.  More …

AOA Medical Honor Society Members Named
Twice a year the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society elects a small number of new members. Membership in AOA is a distinction that accompanies a physician throughout his or her career.  More …

Fungus Deadly to AIDS Patients Found to Grow on Trees
Researchers have pinpointed the environmental source of fungal infections that have been sickening HIV/AIDS patients in Southern California for decades. It literally grows on trees.  More …

Garcia-Blanco Appointed Chair of Biochemistry and Microbiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Dr.  Mariano A. Garcia-Blanco has agreed to join UTMB as Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. As Chair of BMB, Dr. Garcia-Blanco will lead efforts to further excellence in research, education, mentoring and scholarship that have broad fundamental, translational and clinical impact.  More …

Editing HPV’s Genes to Kill Cervical Cancer Cells
Researchers have hijacked a defense system normally used by bacteria to fend off viral infections and redirected it against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical, head and neck, and other cancers.  More …

Gut Microbes Browse Along a Gene Buffet
In the moist, dark microbial rainforest of the intestine, hundreds of species of microorganisms interact with each other and with the cells of the host animal to get the resources they need to survive and thrive.  More …

Scientists Discover New Mechanism of Drug Resistance
Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi can evade treatment by acquiring mutations in the genes targeted by antibiotics or antifungal drugs.  More …

Macias Receives Dual Awards
Everardo Macias, PhD, was recently awarded a Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award and an NIH Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research.  More …

Recalled Yogurt Contained Highly Pathogenic Mold
Samples isolated from recalled Chobani yogurt have been found to contain the most virulent form of a fungus called Mucor circinelloides.  More …

David Selected for Prestigious Sloan Research Award
Lawrence David, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, has received a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship, recognizing his work in computational and evolutionary molecular biology and identifying him as among the next generation of scientific leaders.  More …

Marchuk Awarded Distinguished Professorship
One Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology faculty member was awarded a distinguished professorship and recognized at a May 1 dinner at the Washington Duke Inn.  More …

Twelve MGM Trainees Receive Prestigious Fellowships/Honorable Mentions
Twelve MGM trainees have recently received prestigious fellowships/honorable mentions to support their research.  More …

Where DNA’s Copy Machine Pauses, Cancer Could Be Next
Each time a human cell divides, it must first make a copy of its 46 chromosomes to serve as an instruction manual for the new cell. Normally, this process goes off without a hitch. But from time to time, the information isn’t copied and collated properly, leaving gaps or breaks that the cell has to carefully combine back together.  More …

Deadly Human Pathogen Cryptococccus neoformans Fully Sequenced
Duke researchers have sequenced the entire genome and all the RNA products of the most important pathogenic lineage of Cryptococcus neoformans, a strain called H99.  More …

Modified Poliovirus Used as Therapy for Glioblastoma
Matthias Gromeier, MD, an associate professor of neurosurgery and molecular genetics and microbiology, has discovered that that the poliovirus could kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.  More …

Heitman Receives F1000Prime Faculty Member of the Year Award
Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD, James B. Duke Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University, has received a 2013 F1000Prime Faculty Member of the Year Award.  More …

Valdivia Appointed Vice Dean of Basic Research
Raphael H. Valdivia, PhD, has been appointed the new vice dean for basic science for the Duke University School of Medicine, beginning July 1, 2014.  More …

MGM Summer Undergraduate Research Engagement (MGM SURE)
The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology is pleased to announce a new 10-week summer fellowship program for Duke undergraduates. The program runs from June 2, 2014 – August 8, 2014.  More …

Four MGM Trainees Receive Prestigious Fellowships
Four MGM trainees, including Laura Simone Bisgono, Anthony Moore, Emily Snavely, and Barbara Sixt, have all recently received prestigious research support.  More …

Chi Receives Chancellor’s Discovery Award
Jen-Tsan Ashley Chi, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy at Duke University Medical Center, has received a Chancellor’s Discovery Award for his proposal entitled, “Dissect sexual differentiation in P. falciparum via single parasite analysis.”  More …

Permar Receives Young Investigator Award
Sallie R. Permar, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Assistant Professor in Immunology, and Assistant Professor in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center, has received the Young Investigator Award from the Society for Pediatric Research (SPR).  More …

2013

Salmonella Jams Signals From Bacteria-Fighting Mast Cells
A protein in Salmonella inactivates mast cells — critical players in the body’s fight against bacteria and other pathogens — rendering them unable to protect against bacterial spread in the body, according to researchers at Duke Medicine and Duke-National University of Singapore (Duke-NUS).
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Triangle Scientist Honored by White House
President Barack Obama on Monday named Sallie Permar, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Assistant Professor of Immunology, and Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, of the Duke University School of Medicine as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in recognition of innovative research.
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A New Diet Quickly Alters Gut Bacteria
The types of bacteria in your gut today may be different tomorrow, depending on what kinds of food you eat, a new study suggests. In the study, participants who switched from their normal diet to eating only animal products, including meat, cheese and eggs, saw their gut bacteria change rapidly—within one day.
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No Two People Smell the Same
A difference at the smallest level of DNA–one amino acid on one gene–can determine whether you find a given smell pleasant. A different amino acid on the same gene in your friend’s body could mean he finds the same odor offensive, according to researchers at Duke University.
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Sloan Receives NIH Underrepresented Individuals in Science Supplement
Roketa Sloan, a graduate student in the Duke University Program in Genetics and Genomics (UPGG) and the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center, has received an NIH Underrepresented Individuals in Science Supplement.
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Aballay, Goldstein and McCusker Named AAAS Fellows
Alejandro Aballay, PHD, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, David Goldstein, PhD, professor of molecular genetics and microbiology and medicine and director of the Center for Human Genome Variation, and John McCusker, PhD, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology are among 13 scientists at Duke University who were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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Microbes R Us–Duke Faculty Explore the Microbiome and its Role in Health and Disease
Though worlds apart, four unrelated families have been united in a medical mystery over the source of a rare inherited disorder that results in their children being born with abnormal brain growth and severe functional impairments.
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Rare Gene Mutation Sheds Light on Protein’s Role in Brain Development
Though worlds apart, four unrelated families have been united in a medical mystery over the source of a rare inherited disorder that results in their children being born with abnormal brain growth and severe functional impairments.
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Price Receives F31 NRSA Fellowship from the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Alex Price, an MGM graduate student in the Luftig lab in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, recently received an F31 NRSA fellowship from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) entitled “Temporal regulation of the essential Epstein-Barr virus oncoprotein LMP1”.
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Fungal Sex Can Generate NEW Drug Resistant, Virulent Strains
Though some might disagree, most biologists think the purpose of sex is to create diversity among offspring. Such diversity underpins evolution, enabling organisms to acquire new combinations of traits to adapt to their environment. However, scientists have been perplexed to find that many fungi and microorganisms procreate with exact replicas of themselves, where the expected outcome would simply be more of the same.
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Phillips Receives Top Score on NIH F32 Application
Stacia Phillips, PhD, a post-doctoral associate in the Garcia-Blanco lab in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology recently received a 10, the highest possible score, on her National Institutes of Health (NIH) F32 application entitled, “The role of host RNA-binding proteins in regulating dengue virus replication.”
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Dissecting Molecular Interactions Between the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) RNA Genome and the MicroRNA, miR-122
In a study published online in RNA on June 21, 2013, Shelton Bradrick, PhD, an assistant research professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, in collaboration with two undergraduate researchers, Hilary Novatt and Simardeep Nagyal, analyzed molecular interactions between the hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA genome and a liver-specific microRNA known as miR-122.
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Tobin Receives 2013 Vallee Foundation Young Investigator Award
The Bert L. and N. Kuggie Vallee Foundation recently announced the first recipients of its Young Investigator Award. The 2013 winners included Dr. David Tobin, Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC) whose research centers on the direct observation of the response of immune cells to pathogens in zebra fish.
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Sullivan Receives 2013 March of Dimes Research Grant
Beth Sullivan, PhD, Associate Professor in the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Co-Director of the University Program in Genetics and Genomics, has received a competitive 2013 March of Dimes (MOD) Research Grant. The award will support reagent, supplies, and staff costs for the next three years.
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Nielsen and Lin Receive Tenure and Promotion
Congratulations to Kirsten Nielsen, PhD, who was promoted to Associate Professor and awarded tenure by the University of Minnesota and to Xiaorong Lin, PhD, for receiving conferral of tenure and the rank of Associate Professor of Biology by the Texas A & M University.
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Mao Receives American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship
Helen Mao, a graduate student in the Duke University Program in Genetics and Genomics at Duke University Medical Center, has received an American Heart Association (AHA) Predoctoral Fellowship.
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Genetic Mutation During Development Causes Port-Wine Stains and Sturge-Weber Syndrome – A non-inherited genetic mutation that arises during fetal development has been shown to be the cause of port-wine stains, one of the most common birth defects, as well as a related, but rare disorder called Sturge-Weber Syndrome (SWS).
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Duke Honors Distinguished Professor, John R. Perfect
Three members of the Duke School of Medicine faculty, including John R. Perfect, MD, were named to endowed professorships by Duke University on May 2, 2013.
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Willard Elected to National Academy of Sciences – Hunt Willard, PhD, Nanaline H. Duke Professsor and founding director of the Duke IGSP, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
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Mast Cells Give Clues in Diagnosis, Treatment of Dengue – A protein produced by mast cells may predict who will develop life-threatening complications with dengue virus.
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Joklik Receives Anlyan Lifetime Achievement Award -The Duke Medical Alumni Association has chosen Wolfgang K. Joklik to receive the William G. Anlyan Lifetime Achievement Award
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Six Graduate Students Receive Prestigious Awards
Five graduate students in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology have received National Science Foundation (NSF) fellowships and one has received a Broad Biomedical Research Foundation award.
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Cullen Receives 2013 Research Mentoring Award
Bryan R. Cullen, PhD, James B. Duke Professor and Director of the Center for Virology in the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, has received the 2013 Research Mentoring Award for Basic Science Research.
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Schaeffer Receives Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA)
Daneen Schaeffer, PhD, a third year postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center, was awarded a National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Cancer Institute. This competitive fellowship will provide stipend support for her third year of postdoctoral research.
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Insights and Solutions for Emerging Infectious Diseases Symposium
The Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Department of Immunology and Global Health Institute and the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singaporewill convene the Insights and Solutions for Emerging Infectious Diseases symposium in the Jones Research Building April 22 and 23.
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Garcia-Blanco Elected 2013 Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM)
Mariano Garcia-Blanco, PhD, Charles D. Watts Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Professor of Medicine, Director of the Center for RNA Biology, and Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, has been selected as a 2013 Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM).
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Marchuk Receives Mitchell Asbury Memorial Award
Douglas Marchuk, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Director of the University Program in Genetics and Genomics, has received the $25,000 Mitchell Asbury Memorial Award.
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Ko Receives Prestigious Whitehead Scholarship
Dennis Ko, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, has received a three-year Whitehead Scholarship from the Duke School of Medicine.
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