Duke Scholars in Infectious Diseases Program Announces 2011-2012 Scholars

Durham, NC (April 2011) – The Duke Scholars in Infectious Diseases Program is very pleased to announce the participants selected for the 2011-12 academic year. We are extremely fortunate to have attracted a talented and diverse group of PhD candidates and Postdoctoral Associates for the coming year.

2011-2012 Duke Scholars in Infectious Diseases

Chris Castorena
PhD Candidate
Katia Koelle Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Richard Festa
Post-Doctoral Associate
Dennis Thiele Pharmacology & Cancer Biology
Jeff Melvin
PhD Candidate
Dewey McCafferty Biochemistry
Anand Pai
PhD Candidate
Lingchong You Biomedical Engineering
Cecelia Shertz
PhD Candidate
Joseph Heitman Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Robert Smith
Post-Doctoral Associate
Lingchong You Biomedical Engineering

The 2011-12 Scholars are currently engaged in a wide variety of research, study the biology of bacteria to fungi. They are working on problems in antibiotic resistance, prokaryotic programmed cell death, host-pathogen interactions, microbial community formation and dynamics, and epimutation and fungal genomics. They come to the program with outstanding records of academic and scientific success.

In the DSID Program, the Scholars will have multiple opportunities to interconnect their basic scientific endeavors and interests with clinical infectious diseases, while obtaining a panoramic view of the unmet clinical needs that may be addressed through basic and translational science. The Scholars will spend time with infectious diseases physicians in the adult and pediatric clinical wards, seeing patients with a range of both typical and remarkable infectious problems. They will observe the infectious complications of altered immunity in patients with chronic diseases, congenital immunodeficiency and acquired immunodeficiency, such as with advanced HIV infection, organ and stem cell transplantation, and chemotherapy.

Furthermore, they will get a firsthand view of problems in infectious diseases diagnostics and therapeutics including antimicrobial resistance and currently untreatable conditions.
Additional experiences will include intimate group conversations with guest faculty: outstanding scientists who have taken clinical problems to the bench and often back to the patients themselves. These conversations are centered on the development and maturation of careers in infectious diseases and immunity research, providing the Scholars with often inspired looks down the road at the opportunities that lie ahead. The Scholars will also join the Infectious Diseases journal club to discuss the science of clinical research, understanding what makes a good clinical study. In the clinical microbiology laboratory, the Scholars will see the practical, yet challenging side of infectious diseases diagnostics. Finally, the Scholars will have the opportunity to attend the Infectious Diseases Society of American (IDSA) Meeting where they can obtain a wider view of the emerging problems in infectious diseases.

We anticipate that this will be an exciting and eye-opening year for our 2011-12 Scholars. We welcome each of them to the program and thank all of their research mentors for supporting their involvement in this unique educational experience.

For detailed information, please visit Duke Scholars in Infectious Diseases Program, on the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis web site.