2021 DMAA Awardees
Both our 2021 and 2020 Duke Medical Alumni Association Awardees will be celebrated during the spring of 2022.
School & Alumni News
Duke launches an ambitious new effort to elevate and sustain excellence in science and technology.
When certain immune cells in our bodies are invaded by a dangerous pathogen, they sacrifice themselves to vanquish the intruders. Immunologist Ed Miao, MD, PhD, studies pyroptosis — a type of programmed cell death in which a cell, once compromised by an enemy pathogen, literally blows itself up to prevent the pathogen from spreading in the body.
Humans are born with all the nerve cells they will ever have, and in each of those nerve cells live about two million mitochondria. As mitochondria age or become dysfunctional, the cell systematically removes them and replaces them with newer models. Neurobiologist Chantell Evans, PhD, wants to know more about this complex process.
Zhao Zhang, PhD — ZZ to just about everyone — is a bit of a scientific outlier. While most of his bioscience colleagues around the world are studying the 23,000 protein-coding genes that make us human, the assistant professor of pharmacology and cancer biology is looking at the other part of the genome and asking what it does.
Think of the inner circuitry of the brain as a traffic network. When nerve cells release a signal, the information speeds along various routes to its destination: another nerve cell elsewhere in the brain. Neurobiologist Josh Huang, PhD, is especially interested in a particular type of inhibitory nerve cells called chandelier cells.
The human placenta performs a delicate balancing act: it must let beneficial nutrients pass from the mother to the developing fetus, but block harmful pathogens from making the same trip. Carolyn Coyne, PhD, investigates how the placenta has evolved to be such a fantastic protector but can also be vulnerable to pathogens.
Nick Heaton, PhD, has turned his research focus from influenza to another RNA virus: COVID-19. He is using powerful gene-editing tools to identify candidates for host-directed therapeutics, which don’t attack the virus directly but instead target proteins the virus needs.
Since launching its Moments to Movement initiative in June 2020, Duke University School of Medicine has begun work to better understand the root causes and harms of racism and to develop strategies to reduce racial inequity.
Emily Wang, MD’03, initially intended to study HIV research and treatment, but midway through medical school she became interested in the issues facing inmate populations. Now a professor in the Yale School of Medicine, she explores the health effects that mass incarceration has on populations both inside and outside of prison — a subject that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into sharp relief.
In a lot of ways, Susan Blackwell (Crawford), MHS, PA-C’89, and the physician assistant profession have grown up together. They were born at roughly the same time, matured in parallel and proximity, and for more than three decades they’ve been inextricably linked.