Duke University Awards Four School of Medicine Faculty 2017 Distinguished Professorships

Friday, May 5, 2017

Four School of Medicine faculty were awarded distinguished professorships. Distinguished professorships recognize both exceptional achievement and the potential for future achievement. They are awarded to our most distinguished faculty who have demonstrated extraordinary scholarship in advancing science and improving human health. 


Department of Pathology Chair
Jiaoti Huang, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair,
Department of Pathology

A world-renowned surgical pathologist, Jiaoti Huang, MD, PhD, joined Duke University School of Medicine in 2016 as chair of the Department of Pathology. Dr. Huang’s clinical expertise is in the pathologic diagnosis of genitourinary tumors. His research laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms, biomarkers and novel therapies for advanced prostate cancer and is a leader in studying neuroendocrine differentiation of prostate cancer and molecular pathogenesis of prostatic small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma. Dr. Huang has published 200 research papers, review articles and book chapters. Among his many scientific contributions, he discovered a signaling pathway that keeps neuroendocrine cells of prostate adenocarcinoma in a quiescent state, and a molecular mechanism for disease progression to small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma. Dr. Huang earned his medical degree from Anhui Medical University and a Master’s degree in Pharmacology from the Institute of Radiation Medicine in Beijing. He earned his PhD from New York University School of Medicine. He was a Leukemia Society of America Postdoctoral Fellow at NYU and Yale University and completed his residency training in pathology at NYU School of Medicine and a fellowship in Oncologic Surgical Pathology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Huang became an assistant professor at the University of Rochester in July 2000 and rose to the rank of full professor in 2007. He moved to UCLA in 2008 where he was professor of Pathology and Urology, the Frances and Albert Piansky Endowed Chair, chief of Surgical Pathology and director of Urologic Pathology at the David Geffen School of Medicine until 2015.


Richard & Pat Johnson Professorship
William Kraus, MD, Professor of Medicine

An internationally-recognized pioneer in preventative cardiology and lifestyle medicine, William E. Kraus, MD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology. He is also a professor in the School of Nursing and Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Pratt School of Engineering. He is a member of the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute and Duke Cancer Institute. A clinician-scientist, his research interests focus on the use of exercise for favorable mediation of cardiometabolic risk. The author of over 300 peer reviewed publications and 250 abstracts, Dr. Kraus’ research has been instrumental in broadening the understanding of the biological mechanisms whereby exercise training results in health benefits, and then translating that knowledge into clinical practice.  Dr. Kraus has been the primary author and principal investigator of a series of three continuously NIH-funded clinical trials designed to investigate the molecular and physiologic mechanism of different doses and intensities of exercise on cardiovascular health. These studies have already given birth to over 25 published manuscripts which have illustrated that exercise recommendations must be individualized for patient characteristics as well as disease of interest. This work has been the basis for much of the dose-response exercise information on cardiovascular health in the world's literature. Through his work, Dr. Kraus has had a major influence on U.S. public policy on exercise recommendations. He received his medical degree and completed his residency training fellowships at Duke University. He joined the faculty at Duke in 1988.


​Joannes H. Karis, M.D. Professor of Anesthesiology
William Maixner, DDS, MD  

William Maixner, DDS, MD, joined the Duke University School of Medicine as a professor of anesthesiology and director of the Center for Translational Pain in 2016, after a 30-year career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), where he held the prestigious Mary Lily Kenan Flagler Bingham Distinguished University Professorship and was the founding director of UNC’s Center for Pain Research and Innovation. Dr. Maixner earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Iowa.  He completed a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Throughout his career, he has investigated complex persistent pain conditions such as craniofacial pain and temporomandibular disorders (TMD). His research explores the pathophysiological processes underlying pain perception and the genetic, environmental, and biopsychosocial risk factors and markers contributing to the onset and maintenance of TMD and related chronic pain conditions. He has authored more than 160 peer-reviewed articles, presented internationally. Dr. Maixner’s remarkable breadth of training in cardiovascular pharmacology, basic neurophysiology, neural pain networks, and clinical dentistry, coupled with forward thinking and creative vision, have enabled him to have a national and international impact.  He currently serves on national committees for the NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services.


​Nanaline H. Duke Professor of Biochemistry 
Maria Schumacher, PhD 

A highly accomplished structural biologist whose primary technique is X-ray crystallography, Maria Schumacher, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry. Her crystal structures have provided key data on critical biological processes such as transcriptional regulation, RNA editing, DNA organization, DNA-protein interactions, and cell division. These data have provided insights into clinically relevant areas such as multi-drug resistance. Bacterial multidrug tolerance is largely responsible for the inability of antibiotics to eradicate infections. Dr. Schumacher and her colleagues have obtained atomic resolution structure of the persister involved, providing details at the molecular level regarding how it affects multidrug tolerance. They have also identified the developmental on-off switch for a group of soil microbes that produce more than two-thirds of the world’s naturally derived antibiotic medicines.  Dr. Schumacher earned her PhD in 1995 from the Oregon Health and Science University and then completed a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Postdoctoral fellowship. In 2011, she moved her lab to Duke University from the MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she was awarded the MD Anderson Trust fellowship and received the MD Anderson Scholar Award.  In 2012, she was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).