Welcome New Faculty Member, Dr. Debra Silver

Durham, NC — Debra Silver, PhD, joined the Duke University School of Medicine, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology as an assistant professor in September 2010.  Dr. Silver received her B.S. in Biology from Tufts University in 1989. She then spent four years working with Dr. James Sellers at the NIH (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute), where she applied biochemistry to study the cytoskeletal protein, Myosin. For her graduate training with Dr. Denise Montell of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, she utilized Drosophila genetics to uncover genes regulating cell migration. She discovered an essential role for the JAK/STAT signaling complex in cell migration of Drosophila ovarian epithelial cells and human ovarian cancer cells. For her thesis work she was recognized with several graduate student awards, including the National Weintraub Award.

For her postdoctoral studies, Dr. Silver trained in mouse genetics and genomics with Dr. William Pavan of the National Human Genome Research Institute, where she studied genes regulating neural crest and neural stem cell development.  Through the cloning and characterization of a novel mouse mutant, she uncovered a previously unappreciated requirement for an RNA binding complex in brain development, neural stem cells, and mitosis. Her postdoctoral research was funded by: an NIGMS PRAT fellowship (Pharmacology Research and Training) and by an NINDS NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00).

Dr. Silver’s laboratory at Duke is interested in fundamental mechanisms of developmental biology and stem cells. The long-term goal of her laboratory is to apply genetic and cell biological analyses to dissect mechanisms of mRNA localization in stem cells, neural development, and neurodevelopmental disease. Dr. Silver also has a long-standing interest in teaching and mentoring.

To learn more about Dr. Silver’s current research, please click here.