MGM Annual Retreat

The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Annual Retreat is scheduled for Friday, September 9 to Sunday, September 11, 2016 at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach, NC. This annual event offers the opportunity for students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, and faculty members to engage in collaborative discussions as well as showcase current scholarship and research.  For a complete schedule please click here.

For further information, please contact Annette Kennett at (919) 613-8636 or


Thursday Series

The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology has combined with the University Program in Cell and Molecular Biology as well as the Department of Cell Biology to create a seminar series we refer to as the “Thursday Series.” These seminars are held each Thursday from 12:30-1:30pm in Room 147, Nanaline Duke Building. The MGM portion of the Thursday Series is coordinated by:

Debra Silver, PhD
Assistant Professor


Tuesday Series

The Tuesday Series is co-sponsored by the University Program in Genetics and Genomics (UPGG) and the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy (IGSP). All seminars take place each Tuesday from 12:30-1:30pm in Room 147, Nanaline Duke Building. The Tuesday Series is coordinated by:

Alejandro Aballay, PhD
Associate Professor
268 JONES Building
Box 3580 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710
Tel: (919) 668-1783
Fax: (919) 684-2790

Please visit the UPGG web site for a complete Tuesday Series schedule.


MGM Post-Doctoral Fellow Distinguished Alumnus Seminar

Click here for a complete list of previous MGM Post-Doctoral Fellow Distinguished Alumnus Seminar speakers.


MGM Graduate Student Distinguished Alumnus Seminar

Click here for a complete list of previous MGM Graduate Student Distinguished Alumnus Seminar speakers.


UPGG Distinguished Lecture Series

The Duke University Distinguished Lecturer Series was designed to bring renowned lecturers to campus to illuminate progress and future areas of excitement in genetics and genomics. These seminars take place on specific Thursdays at 4:00 pm in Room 103, Bryan Research Auditorium with a reception following the presentation. The Distinguished Lecture Series is free and open to the public and is organized by a UPGG student committee in conjunction with:

Mohamed Noor biology faculty studio headshotMohamed Noor, PhD
Department of Biology
4214 French Science
Box 90338
Durham, N.C. 27708
Tel: (919) 613-8156
Fax: (919) 660-7372

To view all the past lecture posters, please click here.

Please visit the UPGG web site for a complete Distinguished Lecture Series schedule.


Jim McGinnis Memorial Lecture

The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology will host the Thirty-Ninth Annual Jim McGinnis Memorial Lecture on March 30, 2017. This year’s speaker is David Pellman, PhD.

David Pellman is the Margaret M. Dyson Professor of Pediatric Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Children’s Hospital, Boston.  He is also Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Chicago.  During medical school, he trained with Dr. Hidesaburo Hanafusa at the Rockefeller University.  His internship, residency and fellowship in pediatric oncology were at Children’s Hospital and the Dana- Farber Cancer Institute.  His postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Gerald Fink was at the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Pellman’s awards include the Damon Runyon Scholar Award, the Stohlman Scholar Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America, the E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research and an NIH MERIT Award. He has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, The Association of American Physicians, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The laboratory has made contributions in two areas: the mechanism of cell division and how cell division errors alter genome structure. Dr. Pellman’s accomplishments include: (1) the co-discovery of formin-dependent actin assembly and a mechanism for positioning mitotic spindles within asymmetrically dividing cells; (2) discoveries showing that whole genome duplication alters cell physiology, can promote evolutionary adaptation, and can drive tumor development; 3) the discovery of a mechanism explaining chromothripsis, a recently discovered mutational process that generates rapid karyotype evolution in cancer and congenital disease.

[Visit the Pellman Laboratory website]

David S. Pellman, M.D.
The Margaret M. Dyson Professor of Pediatric Oncology
Professor of Pediatrics and Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Seminar: TBD
March 30, 2017
Venue: Bryan Research Building Auditorium, Room 103
Reception to follow lecture


The annual McGinnis Memorial Lecture was established by the staff and students of the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology in 1979 to honor the memory of James William McGinnis, Jr.

Jim was born March 13, 1951, in Greensboro, N.C. He grew up in Cary; graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.; received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Stanford University in 1973; completed the first year of medical school at Duke; transferred to the Department of Microbiology and Immunology; and was a doctoral candidate here at the time of his death, March 11, 1978, in a canoeing accident. His research involved in vitro translation and RNase III processing of avian tumor virus (RSV) RNA. The Ph.D. was awarded posthumously. His postdoctoral work was to be with Dr. Fred Sanger, Cambridge, England.

Science was Jim’s first allegiance, but he relished excellence in music, sports, literature, and art. He loved philosophy, enjoyed nature, and prized friendship. Learning was exhilarating to him,
and, to this good end, the lecture is dedicated.

Since its inception, the McGinnis lecture program has brought 37 exemplary speakers to campus, including five Nobel laureates (J. Michael Bishop, David Baltimore, Phil Sharp, Elizabeth Blackburn, and Peter Doherty), and thirty members of the National Academy of Sciences, including leading investigators in the areas of molecular biology, virology, microbial pathogenesis and physiology, immunology, vaccines, and RNA biology.

Click here for a complete list of previous McGinnis Memorial Lecture speakers.

The Jim McGinnis Memorial Lecture is organized by a student committee in conjunction with:

Micah Luftig, PhD
Associate Professor
424 CARL Building
Box 3504 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710
Tel: (919) 668-3091
Fax: (919) 684-2790

Beth Sullivan, PhD
Associate Professor
361 CARL Building
Box 3054, DUMC
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 919-684-9038
Fax: 919-684-2790


Joklik Distinguished Lectureship

The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology will host the Seventh Annual Joklik Distinguished Lecture in conjunction with the annual MGM departmental retreat, September 9-11, 2016. This year’s speaker is Blossom Damania, PhD.


Blossom Damania_Joklik Lecturer

Blossom Damania, PhD
Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
Assistant Dean of Research, School of Medicine
Co-Director, Programs in Virology & Global Oncology, Lineberger Cancer Center
Director of Translational Advancements and Basic Science, NC TraCS  CTSA
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


September 10, 2016
Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Wrightsville Beach, NC
Reception to follow lecture

Dr. Blossom Damania is the Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  She serves as the Vice Dean for Research in the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Co-Director of the Program in Global Oncology and Co-Leader of the Virology Program at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is also the Director of Translational Advancements and Basic Science in the North Carolina Translational & Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS/CTSA) at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Damania obtained her doctoral degree in Cell & Molecular Biology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1998, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School prior to joining the faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2000.

Dr. Damania’s research focuses on oncogenic human herpesviruses and host-pathogen interactions, with a focus on Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). She uses a multi-faceted approach towards understanding host-pathogen interactions, host innate immune responses to viral infection, as well as viral oncogenesis.

Dr. Damania has received several awards and honors. She was named a V Foundation for Cancer Research Scholar, an AACR Gertrude B. Elion Research Scholar, a Burroughs Welcome Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease, an American Heart Association Established Investigator, and a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Scholar. She received the 2011 Dolph O. Adams award from the Society for Leukocyte Biology, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and was named a 2011 Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences, USA.


The Joklik Distinguished Lectureship honors and commemorates the myriad contributions of Dr. Bill (Wolfgang Karl) Joklik to the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Duke, which he chaired; to the institution, specifically for his role as the co-founder of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center; and to the broader microbiology community for his research program in virology, service in founding the American Society for Virology, and for his editorial work for the journal Virology and the seminal text, Zinsser’s Microbiology. [Read more]

Click here for a complete list of previous Joklik Distinguished Lectureship speakers.


Other Triangle Area Seminars

  • Triangle Microbial Interactions Meetings


MGM Holiday Celebration

The 2015 MGM Holiday Celebration is scheduled for Saturday, December 3rd, from 7-11 pm at Kirby Hall, Duke Gardens.  Please mark your calendars.


MGM Softball Game

It’s that time of year again for the annual MGM softball game at the Durham Athletic Park (DAP).  The game and cookout are scheduled for Wednesday, May 18, from 4-8 pm. Our grill masters will be out in full force cooking up hamburgers and hotdogs with all of the extras. Dust off the bats and gloves, bring your families, and come on out and have some great fun and food!

In order to get a count for food, please RSVP to no later than, Friday, May 13th.

We look forward to seeing you there!