2015 MGM Annual Retreat

The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Annual Retreat is scheduled for Friday, September 11 to Sunday, September 13, 2015 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 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, PhD Mohamed Noor
Department of Biology
4214 French Science
Box 90338
Durham, N.C. 27708
Tel: (919) 613-8156
Fax: (919) 660-7372

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-Seventh Annual Jim McGinnis Memorial Lecture on March 26, 2015. This year’s speaker is Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD.

Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD, is the Leo and Julia Forchheimer Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in the Bronx, New York. He is Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and served as Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Montefiore Medical Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine from 2000-2006. Dr. Casadevall received both his MD and PhD (biochemistry) degrees from New York University in New York, New York. Subsequently, he completed internship and residency in internal medicine at Bellevue Hospital in New York, New York. Later he completed subspecialty training in Infectious Diseases at the Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Casadevall’s major research interests are in fungal pathogenesis and the mechanism of antibody action. In the area of Biodefense Casadevall has an active research program to understand the mechanisms of antibody-mediated neutralization of Bacillus anthracis toxins. He has authored over 490 scientific papers. Casadevall was elected to membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Academy of Physicians, and the American Academy of Microbiology. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and has received numerous honors including the Solomon A Berson Medical Alumni Achievement Award in Basic Science from the NYU School of Medicine, the Maxwell L. Littman Award (mycology award), the Rhoda Benham Award from Medical Mycology Society of America, and the Kass Lecture of the Infectious Disease Society of America. Casadevall is the Editor- in-Chief of mBio, the first open access general journal of the American Society of Microbiology. He serves in the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and the Journal of Experimental Medicine. He has served in numerous NIH committees including those that drafted the NIAID Strategic Plan and the Blue Ribbon Panel on Biodefense Research. Casadevall served on the NAS committee that reviewed the science behind the FBI investigation of the anthrax attacks in 2001. He is a member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity and co-chaired the NIAID Board of Scientific counselors.

Since he joined the Einstein faculty in 1992, Casadevall has mentored dozens of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty. Many of his trainees have gone on to have highly successful careers in science and several have become AECOM faculty. From 2000-2006 Casadevall was director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at AECOM-Montefiore and oversaw the expansion of its research program. In 2001 Casadevall received the Samuel M. Rosen outstanding teacher award and in 2008 he was recognized the American Society of Microbiology with the William Hinton Award for mentoring scientists from underrepresented groups.

[Visit the Casadevall Laboratory website]

Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD
Chair and Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Professor, Department of Medicine (Infectious Diseases)
Director, Center for Immunological Sciences
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Forchheimer Building, Room 411
Bronx, NY 10461

Seminar: Thoughts on the origin of microbial virulence
March 26, 2015
Venue: Bryan Research Building, 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 36 exemplary speakers to campus, including four Nobel laureates (J. Michael Bishop, David Baltimore, Phil Sharp, and Elizabeth Blackburn), and twenty-seven members of the National Academy of Sciences, including leading investigators in the areas of virology, microbial pathogenesis and physiology, molecular biology, immunology, 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
Assistant Professor
424 CARL Building
Box 3504 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710
Tel: (919) 668-3091
Fax: (919) 684-2790


Joklik Distinguished Lectureship

The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology will host the Sixth Annual Joklik Distinguished Lecture in conjunction with the annual MGM departmental retreat, September 11-13, 2015. This year’s speaker is Lynn Enquist, Ph.D.

Lynn W. Enquist, Ph.D., is Henry L. Hillman Professor of Molecular Biology and Professor in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University. He received his B.S. degree from South Dakota State University and received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Medical College of Virginia. His research interests are the genetics and molecular biology of DNA viruses with a special emphasis on neurotropic alpha herpes viruses. Dr. Enquist has published 265 articles or books and is an inventor on four US patents. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Annual Review of Virology, a member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity from 2005-2012, a member of the AAAS board of directors, and has served as a member and chair of several NIH grant review panels. He served as President of the American Society for Virology. He co-taught the Cold Spring Harbor summer course on Advanced Bacterial Genetics from 1980-1985. He is one of four authors of a popular virology textbook entitled: Principles of Virology, Molecular Biology, Pathogenesis, and Control. He was awarded the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence at Princeton in 2001 for his course entitled “Viruses: Strategy and Tactics”. He was appointed as a commissioner for the New Jersey Cancer Commission where he played a leadership role in state funding of cancer research and education. In 2010 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lectures widely on viruses.

Dr. Enquist’s 30 + year career experience has spanned research work in government laboratories at the NIH, heading research at Molecular Genetics, Inc. (one of the first biotechnology companies), designing novel applications of viruses for DuPont corporate research, managing an antiviral drug discovery team for DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals to his current position as Henry L. Hillman Professor and Chair of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. His work on bacterial viruses played an important role in the development of recombinant DNA technology and his work on in vitro packaging systems has seen worldwide use by many investigators for cloning DNA from complex genomes into simple bacterial viruses. He was involved peripherally with the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee on the use of recombinant DNA by participating in the certification of the first E. coli vector systems. He and his colleagues were involved in the first successful cloning of mammalian genes and viruses including those from herpes simplex virus type 1 as well as integrated murine RNA tumor virus genomes. His current work is devoted to understanding how viruses invade and cause disease in the nervous system as well as developing viruses as tools to study the vertebrate nervous system.


Lynn Enquist_Joklik_2015Lynn Enquist
Henry L. Hillman Professor in Molecular Biology
Professor of Molecular Biology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Department of Microbiology
Department of Molecular Biology
Princeton University

Seminar: Axons, the front line sensors of alpha herpesvirus PNS invasion
September 12, 2015
Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Wrightsville Beach, NC
Reception to follow lecture

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


2015 MGM Holiday Celebration

The 2015 MGM Holiday Celebration is scheduled for Saturday, December 5th, from 7-11 pm at Kirby Hall, Duke Gardens.  Please mark your calendars.


2015 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 Tuesday, July 7th, 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 30th.

We look forward to seeing you there!