Please join in congratulating Nick Heaton and Dong Yan, whose promotions to Associate Professor with tenure were recently approved by the Duke Board of Trustees. The promotions are richly deserved, and MGM is very fortunate to have Nick and Dong as colleagues. Yan joined the faculty of Duke Molecular Genetics & Microbiology in 2014, and Heaton joined in 2015.
The Yan lab‘s research focuses on understanding mechanisms underlying neuronal development, regeneration, and degeneration. They use a free-living tiny roundworm, called Caenorhabditis elegans, as a model. The defined cell lineage, completely mapped connectome and rapid life cycle of this organism greatly facilitate investigating nervous system at the subcellular resolution. Using cutting edge laser axotomy, live imaging, and genetic and genome editing approaches, they address questions related to neurons and glia in development and aging.
The Heaton lab is primarily interested in the study of respiratory RNA viruses. They have published work on viruses of the families: orthomyxoviridae, paramyxoviridae, and coronaviridae. In particular, the lab’s current work is focused on the orthomyxovirus influenza A, as well as the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, as these are the viruses that have caused, and remain capable of causing, global pandemics.