2011 NEWS ARCHIVES

Duke Celebrates New AAAS Fellows 
Five scientists from Duke University Medical Center and three from Duke University have been chosen for the distinct honor of fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
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Premature Babies Harbor Fewer, But More Dangerous Microbe Types
One of the most comprehensive studies to date of the microbes that are found in extremely low-birthweight infants found that hard-to-treat Candida fungus is often present, as well as some harmful bacteria and parasites.
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In Three-Continent Effort, Duke Works to Uncover Genetic Basis of Epilepsy 
Duke University Medical Center has been awarded a $25 million grant to study the genetic basis of human epilepsy in order to improve our understanding of the biology of epilepsy and to develop new directions for its treatment.
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Science Under the Stars 
Building on earlier successes with K-12 classroom outreach and a landmark appearance at the 2010 USA Science and Engineering Festival, Duke University students and faculty invited Triangle-area families to join them for an evening of interactive science demonstrations called “Science Under the Stars.”
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Four Duke Researchers Win NIH New Innovator Awards
Four Duke University scientists are winners of the 2011 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award. Seok-Yong Lee, David Tobin, Nicolas Buchler and Charles Gersbach earned the honor for their highly innovative research and promise as young, developing scientists.
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Cryptococcus Infections Misdiagnosed in Many AIDS Patients  
Most AIDS patients, when diagnosed with a fungal infection known simply as cryptococcosis, are assumed to have an infection with Cryptococcus neoformans, but a recent study from Duke University Medical Center suggests that a sibling species, Cryptococcus gattii, is a more common cause than was previously known.
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Second Annual Joklik Distinguished Lectureship 
Karla Kirkegaard, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Stanford School of Medicine, will present the second annual Joklik Distinguished Lectureship, hosted by the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.
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Symposium on RNA Biology IX: RNA Tool and Target 
This year’s Symposium on RNA Biology IX: RNA Tool and Target is scheduled for Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22, 2011. The symposium will be held in the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and Hilton at Research Triangle Park and will feature presentations from recognized experts in the field. More …

Newly Designed Molecule Blocks Chlamydia Bacteria
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have discovered a way to block the damaging actions of Chlamydia, the bacteria responsible for the largest number of sexually transmitted infections in the United States.
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Mitchell Announces Retirement 
Thomas G. Mitchell, PhD, will retire from his position as Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Director of the Molecular Mycology and Pathogenesis Training Program (MMPTP) on August 1, 2011. He has been a faculty member in the Department since 1974 and Director of the MMPTP since its inception in 2003.
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Tobin Receives Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation Award 
David Tobin, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, was awarded a 2011 Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation grant. Tobin’s award was given to support his research on understanding susceptibility to tuberculosis using a zebrafish model.
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Keum and Bennett Receive GSA Best Poster Award 
Sehoon Keum, a postdoctoral associate and Chris Bennett, a graduate student in the University Program in Genetics and Genomics (UPGG), at Duke University, have received Best Poster Awards for their presentations at the Genetics Society of America Mouse Genetics 2011 Conference in Washington, DC, June 22-25.
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Size Matters–in Virulent Fungal Spores–and Suggests Ways to Stop a Killer
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have found that larger fungal spores can be more lethal. Their findings about two different spore sizes of the fungus Mucor circinelloides, a pathogen that kills half or more of its victims, could help to develop new treatments and fight other types of fungal infections.
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Heitman Receives Prestigious NIH MERIT Award for Studies on Fungal Unisexual Reproduction in Microbial Pathogen Evolution  
Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD, James B. Duke Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, and Medicine at Duke University, has received an NIH MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) Award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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Ciotti, McDonald and Tang Receive American Heart Association Fellowships
Marcella Ciotti, a graduate student in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, David McDonald, a graduate student in the Duke University Program in Genetics and Genomics, and Hao Tang, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center, have received American Heart Association Fellowships.
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Coers Receives 2011 ICAAC Young Investigator Award
Jörn Coers, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center, was selected by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) to receive the 2011 ICAAC Young Investigator Award.
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Unlocking the Genome’s Secrets to Long Life
Last year, Elizabeth Cirulli graduated with a PhD from the UPGG at Duke. Now a postdoc in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, she and her advisor, David Goldstein, have launched the first whole-genome sequencing study of centenarians.
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Li and Mitchell Receive DeLill Nasser Award from the Genetics Society of America 
Wenjun Li, a postdoctoral fellow, and Katrina Mitchell, a graduate student, in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center, have received the DeLill Nasser Award from the Genetics Society of America.
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Thirty-third Annual Jim McGinnis Memorial Lecture
The Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology will host the Thirty-third Annual Jim McGinnis Memorial Lecture on May 10, 2011. This year’s speaker is Joseph DeRisi, PhD.
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Vilcek Foundation Recognizes Yibin Kang
Yibin Kang, who trained as a graduate student with Bryan Cullen, PhD, in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, was chosen by the Vilcek Foundation to receive its 2011 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science.
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Duke Scholars in Infectious Diseases Program Announces 2011-2012 Scholars 
The Duke Scholars in Infectious Diseases Program is very pleased to announce the participants selected for the 2011-12 academic year.
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The Smell of Infection 
There is finally definitive proof in a preclinical study published in Science on April 7 about which sensory neurons control innate (inborn and immediate) immunity in a pathogen’s presence.
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Mini-Symposium on Pathogenic Human Viruses 
The next Duke Center for Virology mini-symposium is scheduled for Thursday, April 7, 2011. The symposium will be held in Room 103 of the Bryan Research Building from 8:55am to 12:30pm and will feature four presentations from internationally recognized experts in the field.
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Plans Underway for Keystone Symposia’s 2012 Meeting
Plans are underway for Keystone Symposia’s 2012 meeting onFungal Pathogens: From Basic Biology to Drug Discovery to be held in Sante Fe, NM January 15-20, 2012.
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Garcia-Blanco Elected to Association of American Physicians
Mariano Garcia-Blanco, MD, PhD, a professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center, has been awarded the distinction of Association of American Physicians (AAP) Fellow this year.
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Duke University Medical Center Celebrates New AAAS Fellows
Seven Duke University Medical Center scientists, including Jack Keene, James B. Duke Professor and Maria Cardenas-Corona, research professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, have been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow this year. Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed on AAAS members by their peers.
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