School of Medicine Timeline


1920 - 1929

1924   James B. Duke establishes The Duke Endowment and directs that part of his $40-million gift be used to transform Durham's Trinity College into Duke University.

1925   James B. Duke makes an additional bequest to establish the Duke School of Medicine, Duke School of Nursing, and Duke Hospital, with the goal of improving health care in the Carolinas and nationwide.

1927   Wilburt Davison selected first dean of the Duke University School of Medicine and Hospital.

1927   Construction begins on the Medical School and Duke Hospital.

1930 - 1939

1930   Duke Hospital opens.

1930   Medical school classes begin.

1931   The School of Nursing opens.

1931   The Private Diagnostic Clinic (PDC) is organized.

1936   J. Deryl Hart introduces ultraviolet lamps into operating rooms to prevent Staph aureus infection.

1937   Barnes Woodall establishes the nation's first brain tumor program.

1937   Joseph Beard develops a vaccine against equine encephalomyelitis.

1940 - 1949

1940   Frederick Bernheim is nominated for the Nobel Prize for his studies of the tubercle bacillus.

1940-50   Walter Kempner demonstrates rice diet arrests degenerative processes in kidney, heart, and brain.

1942   Guy Odom and Barnes Woodhall establish a neuropathology laboratory and brain tumor clinic.

1947   (Trustee William) Bell Research Building is opened.

1947   Eugene Anson Stead, Jr. named Chair of Medicine.

1947   Duke launches a medical student program focused on the treatment of patients with cancer.

1950 - 1959

1950   Lenox Baker Hospital is dedicated.

1950   Jay Arena leads campaign to develop child-proof safety cap to prevent childhood poisoning.

1950   Joseph Beard identifies links virus to leukemia in chickens, leading to first report of viral association with human leukemia.

1954   Jay Arena establishes the Duke Poison Control Center.

1955   Ewald W. Busse establishes the Duke University Center for Aging.

1956   Duke surgeons become first to use systemic hypothermia during cardiac surgery.

1956   R. Wayne Rundles leads the creation of the Southeastern Cancer Chemotherapy Cooperative Study Group and chairs the group for ten years.

1959  Duke becomes the first to use systemic hypothermia during cardiac surgery. This technique of cooling patients to minimize tissue damage during lengthy surgical procedures is now standard practice worldwide.

1960 - 1969

1960   Barnes Woodhall is appointed dean of the Medical Center.

1960   Frank Engle establishes the (Watson) Rankin Clinical Research Unit.

1962-1963   Gerontology and Clinical Research Buildings open

1963   The hyperbaric chamber opens.

1963   W. Delano Meriwether is the first African-American student admitted to the School of Medicine.

1964   William G. Anlyan becomes dean of Duke University School of Medicine and Medical Center.

1964   Barnes Woodhall becomes vice provost of Duke University.

1964   Wolfgang Karl (Bill) Joklik is the first to desribe the mechanism of action of interferon.

1965   Eugene Stead establishes the first Physician Assistant Program.

1965   Duke performs first kidney transplant.

1965   Eugene Stead organizes the Duke Databank for Cardiovascular Disease.

1965   James Wyngaarden lead team identifying allopurinol as a treatment for gout.

1966   The Duke Medical Scientist (MD/PhD) Training Program is founded.

1966   New Duke Hospital entrance, the Woodhall Building, opens.

1966   Duke becomes the first medical center in the world to offer a consultative radio program to isolated doctors in other countries.

1967   Evelyn Morgan becomes Duke’s first oncology clinical nurse specialist.

1968   Irwin Fridovich and Joe McCord discover superoxide dismutase.

1968   Robert Lefkowitz describes the adrenaline receptor.

1968   The Nanaline Duke Research Building opens.

1968   William Shingleton is appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Committee. 

1968   John Laszlo, C.E. Buckley III and Bernard Amos demonstrate that lymphocytic antibodies can decrease leukemic counts and lymph node size.

1969   Evelyn Coonrad, one of the first Duke-trained hematologist-oncologists, opens one of the first community hematology-oncology practices.

1969   Duke uses hyperbaric chamber to assess ability to function and work at pressures equal to a 1,000-foot deep-sea dive.

1970 - 1979

1970s    William Creasman organizes Duke’s first Division of Gynecologic Oncology

1971   The Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center is established.

1971   Hilliard Seigler named director of the Duke Melanoma Clinic.

1972   Thomas Kinney establishes the first Pathology Assistant Program.

1972   Child safety cap requirements championed by Jay Arena enacted as federal law.

1972   Duke establishes the Animal and Laboratory Isolation Facility, to allow scientists to work with bacteria, viruses, and chemicals in a low risk environment. It is the first facility of its kind in the Southeast.

1972   William Shingleton, R. Wayne Rundles, and Wolfgang Karl (Bill) Joklik, found the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center with the passage of the National Cancer Act.

1973   Duke named one of eight Comprehensive Cancer Centers by the National Cancer Institute.

1973-80   The Eye Center, Sands Research, Jones Research, Seeley G. Mudd, Morris Cancer Research Buildings and the new Duke Hospital open.

1977   The Citizens Advisory Council, created within the Comprehensive Cancer Center (DCCC), to focus on education, advocacy, and support for people with cancer.

1980 - 1989

1980   Nicholas Georgiade, Gregory Georgiade, Kenneth McCarty Jr., B. J. Ferguson and Hilliard Seigler, report data showing no alteration in patient survival for immediate reconstruction done at the time of mastectomy.

1981  Duke biophysicist Jane Richardson’s ribbon diagram, a method of representing the 3D structure of proteins, is first published.

1982   Pediatric immunologist Rebecca Buckley uses bone marrow transplantation to restore the immune systems of children born with severe combined immunodeficiency, also known as bubble boy disease.

1982   James Wyngaarden, Chair of Medicine, is named director of the National Institutes of Health.

1982   Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka isolate and sequence the g-protein receptor.

1984   Bart Haynes contributes to the identification of HTLV-III, now known as HIV.

1984   Kent Weinhold identifies the in-vitro activity of AZT against HIV.

1985   David Durack conducts the first human clinical trials of AZT for AIDS patients.

1987   Catherine Wilfert initiates antiretroviral therapy at delivery to prevent HIV transmission to children.

1987   Robert Bast Jr. becomes the second director of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

1987   Duke Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology Saul and Rachel Schanberg create the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program in memory of their daughter, Linda Schanberg Clark.

1988   Catherine Wilfert initiates treatment of HIV-infected infants and children with AZT.

1988   Dani Bolognesi and team identify the V3 loop of HIV gp120 as the principal neutralizing domain.

1989   Ralph Snyderman is appointed chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

1989   Jeffrey Vance and others localize the first of three loci associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

1989   Andrew T. Huang helps establish Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center in Taiwan.

1990 - 1999

1990  Duke researchers discover a gene that increases people’s risk of developing the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease, showing for the first time that it can be inherited.

1990   The Bryan Research Building opens.

1990   Joanne Kurtzberg establishes the Duke Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program

1990   Jeffrey Crawford and colleagues lead the development of an innovative, multidisciplinary treatment for thoracic cancers and FDA approval of G-CSF for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia.

1991   Leonard Prosnitz named the first chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology.

1991   Gordon Hammes becomes Vice Chancellor for Medical Center Academic Affairs

1992   Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center develops an outpatient bone-marrow transplantation program.

1992   Duke opens the Center for Living Campus.

1992   Duke performs its first lung transplant and its first heart/lung transplant.

1993   Joanne Kurtzberg performs the world’s first umbilical cord blood transplant at Duke, opening the door for lifesaving transplants between unmatched donors and recipients.

1993  Duke geneticists invent a three-minute test to screen newborns for over 30 metabolic diseases at once. Though devastating if undetected, the diseases can
be controlled once identified. The test is now used throughout the country.

1993  Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center (now Duke Cancer Institute) develops the nation’s first outpatient bone marrow transplantation program.

1993   Allen Roses and others identify apolipoprotein E (apoE) as a susceptibility gene for Alzheimer’s disease.

1993   Duke enrolls the final patient in GUSTO-I, leads to the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI).

1994   Construction begins for Levine Science Research, Medical Sciences Research, Children's Health, Ambulatory Care and new parking facilities.

1994   Dr. Louise Markert demonstrates that babies born with no immune system, a fatal condition known as complete DiGeorge syndrome, can be cured with thymus transplantation.

1994  Duke scientists help to discover BRCA1, the gene responsible for many inherited forms of breast and ovarian cancers.

1995   Duke and Princeton University scientists generate the first images of the human lung using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The new technique could greatly aid diagnosis and treatment of lung disorders such as emphysema and asthma.

1995   Duke scientists link the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to breast and ovarian cancers.

1995   Tom Matthews and team discover anti-HIV compound, T-20.

1995   O. Michael Colvin becomes the third director of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center.

1996   Nelson Chao named as director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, which becomes the Division of Cellular Therapy.

1996   Duke becomes one of the first groups to transplant an adult leukemic patient with cord blood after total body irradiation, cytoxan chemotherapy, and antithymocyte globulin.

1997   Joanne Kurtzberg establishes the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, a public cord blood bank at Duke

1998   The NIH partners with Duke to offer a joint master of health sciences degree in clinical research.

1998   Duke University Health System partners with Durham Regional Hospital, Raleigh Community Hospital, and other regional health care providers.

1998   Dr. Ralph Snyderman is the first president of Duke University Health System.

1998   Duke North Pavilion Ambulatory Surgery Center surgery center opens.

1998  Duke researchers are the first to use magnetic resonance spectroscopy to track levels of n-acetylaspartate (N-AA) as a marker for Alzheimer’s disease, proving that such a marker exists and that it can be detected.

1999   Edward W. Holmes becomes the fifth dean of Duke University School of Medicine. 

1999   The original Duke Hospital (Duke South) reopens as Duke Clinics.

1999   Rebecca Buckley and others publish hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for the treatment of severe combined immunodeficiency.

2000 - 2009

2000   Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy is founded.

2000   The McGovern-Davison Children’s Health Center opens.

2001   R. Sanders Williams is appointed as dean of the School of Medicine.

2001   The Duke Center for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging is established.

2001   Miguel Nicolelis develops a system that allows monkeys to control robot arms via brain signals, an important step to enable paralyzed people to control "neuroprosthetic" limbs.

2002   Genome Sciences Research Building I opens on LaSalle Road.

2002   Duke-U.S. Army 65th General Hospital Division of World War II is commemorated.

2003   Bart Haynes establishes the Southeast Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense (SERCEB), to develop vaccines, drugs, and diagnostic tests against emerging infections.

2003  ​Duke researchers demonstrate for the first time that magnetic resonance technology could be used to observe the effects of a medication on brain structures, an important first step toward improving drug research for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

2003   Duke University Medical Center and the National University of Singapore form Duke-NUS.

2003   H. Kim Lyerly, MD, becomes the fourth director of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center.

2004   Raleigh Community Hospital changes its name to Duke Raleigh Hospital.

2004   The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the drug bevacizumab (Avastin®) for colon cancer, based on findings from a Duke lead, multicenter study. A subsequent Duke lead study lead to FDA approval of Avastin® for glioblastoma in 2009.

2004   Victor J. Dzau becomes chancellor for health affairs at Duke University.

2004   Eye Research Institute opens.

2004   The Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine, and Applied Sciences (CIEMAS) opens, expanding the collaboration between the Pratt School of Engineering and the School of Medicine.

2005   Eric Postel and Margaret Pericak-Vance lead a study finding that complement factor H (CFH) is associated with macular degeneration. Albert Eye Research Institute opens.

2005   Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI), dedicated to developing an HIV vaccine.

2005   Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center established at Duke.

2005   The Duke Center for Cancer Survivorship is created. The program provides services designed to specifically meet the needs of survivors and conducts research related to cancer survivorship.

2005   Researchers at Duke and Vanderbilt universities discover the first major gene known to determine individual risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of visual impairment and legal blindness in the elderly.

2006   YT Chen and Priya Kishnani develop Myozyme as the first treatment for Pompe’s disease.

2006   Duke launches the Global Health Institute.

2007   Nancy C. Andrews named first female dean of the Duke University School of Medicine.

2007   David H. Murdock funds the MURDOCK study in Kannapolis, NC.

2007   Alexander Hartemink and others create the first human genome map of imprinted genes.

2007   Duke researchers work in the development and testing of lapatinib (Tykerb®) for breast cancer patients leads to FDA approval.

2008   Miguel Nicolelis and the Japan Science and Technology Agency use the brain activity of a monkey to control the real-time walking patterns of a robot halfway around the world.

2009   Julian Robertson funds the establishment of the Duke Cell and Translational Therapy Program

2009   Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School opens as a partnership in research and education between the School of Medicine and the Singaporean government.

2010 - Present

2010   The Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) is created to promote collaborations between individuals involved in cancer care, research, and education.  Christopher Willett, MD, and Anthony Means, PhD, are named interim co-directors.

2010   Joseph Moore is named the first medical director Duke Raleigh Cancer Center.

2010   Harvey J. Cohen, a pioneer in the field of geriatric oncology, receives the B.J. Kennedy Award and Lecture for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

2011   The School of Medicine establishes an innovative program to educate students who will become change agents in community health and primary care.

2011   Michael B. Kastan becomes the first executive director of the Duke Cancer Institute.

2011   Hai Yan leads a team of scientists from Duke and Johns Hopkins universities to identify mutations in a gene that makes cells immortal and appear to play a pivotal role in three of the most common types of brain tumors, as well as cancers of the liver, tongue and urinary tract.

2012   Duke Cancer Center and Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Center open.

2012   Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka awarded Nobel Prize.

2012   Barton Haynes leads the world’s largest HIV vaccine trial, which provides important clues about immune system responses that could play a role in protecting people from HIV infection.

2013   David Goldstein identifies two new genes and implicates 25 distinct mutations in serious forms of epilepsy, suggesting a new direction for developing tailored treatments of neurological disorders.

2013   Duke researcher Jeffery Lawson and Laura Niklason of Yale School of Medicine, develop a bioengineered blood vessel, which Lawson grafted into an artery in a Duke patient’s arm, the first in-human procedure of its kind in the United States.

2014 Duke celebrates the 25th anniversary of the creation of the heart transplant program. By 2019, more than 1,500 patients have received new hearts through the program.

2015    Paul Modrich awarded Nobel Prize

2015  Duke researchers receive $15 million to support an innovative research program that explores the use of umbilical cord blood cells to treat autism, stroke, cerebral palsy and related brain disorders.

2016  A Duke team, led by Linda Cendales, MD, performs the first hand transplant in NC, attaching the limb to a 54-year-old patient from Laredo, Texas, whose hand was severed in a childhood accident.

2017    Mary E. Klotman, MD, becomes the dean of the School of Medicine.

2018  In a study using mice bred to have peanut allergies, Duke researchers were able to reprogram the animals’ immune systems using a nanoparticle delivery of molecules to the lymph nodes that switched off the life-threatening reactions to peanut exposures.

2018  A genetically modified poliovirus therapy developed at Duke Cancer Institute shows significantly improved long-term survival for patients with recurrent glioblastoma, with a three-year survival rate of 21% in a phase 1 clinical trial.

2018    A Duke team, led by Peter E. Fecci, MD, PhD, finds missing immune ells that could fight lethal brain tumors. The missing T-Cells in glioblastoma patients were found in abundance in bone marrow.

2018    Duke researchers, led by Diego Bohórques, PhD, discover a new set of pathways that allow gut cells to rapidly communicate with the brain.  

2019   Duke Human Vaccine Institute received three research contracts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), with an initial award of approximately $29.6 million in first-year funding to develop a longer-lasting, more broadly protective vaccine to replace the seasonal flu shot.

2019  Duke Human Vaccine Institute Awarded $129 Million Grant in Ongoing Quest for HIV Vaccine