MGM Annual Retreat

The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Annual Retreat is scheduled for Friday, September 6 to Sunday, September 8, 2019 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
Associate 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:

Ashley Chi, MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Box 3382 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27708
Phone: (919) 668-4759
Fax: (919) 668-4777

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


EPIC Symposium

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.


Jim McGinnis Memorial Lecture

The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology hosted the Forty-first year of the Annual Jim McGinnis Memorial Lecture on March 5th, 2019. This year’s speaker was Jeffrey I. Gordon, M.D.

Jeffrey I. Gordon is the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Edison Family Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his A.B. from Oberlin College and his M.D. from the University of Chicago. Thereafter, he completed his residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Gastroenterology. After a post-doctoral fellowship at the NIH, he joined the faculty at Washington University in 1981; first as a member of the Departments of Medicine and Biological Chemistry, then as the Head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology. He founded, and has been the director of the University’s interdepartmental Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology since 2003. Dr. Gordon has trained more than 130 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in their respective fields. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Philosophical Society. For his seminal contributions to the gut microbiome field, he has received numerous awards including the Selman A. Waksman Award in Microbiology, the Robert Koch Award, the Passano Laureate Award the Dickson Prize in Medicine, the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine, the Keio Medical Science Prize and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize. More recently, he was awarded the 2018 Copley medal, the most prestigious award in the United Kingdom whose past laureates include Albert Einstein, Louis Pasteur and Charles Darwin.

Dr. Gordon’s lab studies the mutualistic interrelationships between diet and the structure of the human gut microbiome, with the broader aim of furthering our understanding of nutrition in food ingredients, for creating nutritional guidelines for humans at various stages through their lifespan, and for developing methods to manipulate gut microbiota for the prevention or treatment of diseases such as obesity and childhood undernutrition. His lab utilizes two main approaches to accomplish this, encompassing basic, translational and clinical biology: 1) The development of computational and experimental approaches, and preclinical models to investigate the assembly, dynamic operations, functional properties, and biological effects of human gut microbial communities; and 2) Utilizing these approaches/models in tandem with human twin studies and birth cohorts living in low-, middle- and high-income countries representing diverse geographic locations and cultural traditions.

Visit the Gordon Laboratory website:

Jeffrey Gordon, MD
Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor
Professor and Director of the Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology
Washington University in St. Louis


Seminar: “Development of microbiota-directed complementary foods
for treatment of childhood undernutrition”
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Time: 4:00 PM
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., a beloved Duke doctoral candidate working in Bill Joklik’s laboratory who died unexpectedly in a canoeing accident.

Since its inception, the McGinnis lecture program has featured forty exemplary speakers, including five Nobel laureates (J. Michael Bishop, David Baltimore, Phil Sharp, Elizabeth Blackburn, and Peter Doherty), twelve Lasker Award recipients (Philip Leder, Leroy Hood, Bruce Alberts, Michael Bishop, Peter Doherty, Phillip Sharp, Ron Evans, Elizabeth Blackburn, James Darnell, Anthony Fauci, Maurice Hilleman, and Stephen Elledge), ten recipients of the National Medal of Science (Leroy, Hood, Bruce Alberts, Michael Bishop, David Baltimore, Phillip Sharp, Robert Weinberg, James Darnell, Anthony Fauci, Maurice Hilleman, and Lucy Shapiro), and thirty-five members of the National Academy of Sciences, including leading investigators in the areas of molecular biology, virology, microbial pathogenesis and physiology, genetics, immunology, vaccines, and RNA biology.

To make a gift to the Jim McGinnis Endowment Fund, please visit the Duke Giving Website.

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

McGinnis Student Chair: Zack Holmes

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

David Tobin, PhD
Associate Professor
207A Jones Building
Box 3020 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710
Phone: (919) 684-9152
Fax: (919) 684-2790

John Rawls
Associate Professor
323 CARL Building
Box 3580 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710
Phone: 919-613-7212
Fax: 919-684-2790


Joklik Distinguished Lectureship

The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology will host the Ninth Annual Joklik Distinguished Lecture in conjunction with the annual MGM departmental retreat, September 6-8, 2019. This year’s speaker is Tom Shenk.

September 6-8, 2019
Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Wrightsville Beach, NC
Reception to follow lecture

The focus of research in the Shenk lab is on human cytomegalovirus replications and patogenesis. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infections are widespread and subclinical in the vast majority of cases, but the virus exhibits increased virulence in the very young and old and in immunocompromised individuals. Congenital infections cause life-long disabilities in a significant number of children. Transplant recipients, cancer patients, and AIDS patients, all of whom can exhibit decreased immune function, suffer a variety of clinical manifestations resulting from cytomegalovirus infection, including mononucleosis and pneumonia. There are also suggestions in the literature that HCMV might serve as a cofactor in certain cancers, atherosclerosis and immune senescence. The HCMV particle carries a viral genome comprised of linear double-stranded DNA that encodes more than 200 proteins, 23 microRNAs and a variety of additional non-coding RNAs. We study molecular mechanisms underlying HCMV replication and pathogenesis.

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.


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.


Other Triangle Area Seminars

  • Triangle Microbial Interactions Meetings


MGM Holiday Celebration

The 2018 MGM Holiday Celebration is scheduled for Friday, December 7th, 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 16, 2018 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

We look forward to seeing you there!