Duke Honors Distinguished Professor, John R. Perfect

May 2, 2013 

Durham, NC –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.

Perfect was awarded a James B. Duke professorship, which was established in memory of James B. Duke, founder of the Duke Endowment. This award is one of the most prestigious faculty appointments at Duke and is awarded to select tenured faculty who demonstrate outstanding scholarship.

An international expert on mycology—the study of pathogenic fungi that affect humans—Perfect combines his clinical practice as a professor in the Department of Medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases with his research activities as director of the Duke University Mycology Research Unit in a quest to use scientific discoveries to directly benefit patients. 

Perfect trained in internal medicine at the University of Michigan and moved to Duke in 1977 to complete an Infectious Disease Fellowship, during which he studied treatment and pathogenesis for bacterial and fungal meningitis and endocarditis. He joined the Duke faculty in 1980 and focused his research on animal models and pathogenesis of fungal infections. 

In 1987, he completed a Yeast Molecular Biology Course at Cold Spring Harbor and took a research leave to work in the laboratory of Paul T. Magee, Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota. His research focus began on the molecular pathogenesis of Cryptococcus neoformans. Today, Perfect and his Duke laboratory are engaged in molecular pathogenesis studies of C. neoformans and in preclinical development of antifungals with the goal of designing therapeutic and diagnostic strategies for invasive mycoses of humans.

“Dr. Perfect is a passionate researcher, tireless mentor and an outstanding clinician. His work has focused on translating basic investigations in mycology into the improved care of patients. To this end, he has built powerful collaborations to advance the science and has engaged and mentored students, residents and fellows. His commitment to excellence in research, medical education and patient care has made him an exceptional leader,” said Mary Klotman, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine.

Perfect received his BA from Wittenberg University in 1971 and his MD from the Medical College of Ohio in 1974.

Other School of Medicine recipients of endowed professorships include Dean Nancy C. Andrews, MD, PhD and Glenn Jaffe, MD.