Duke University Awards Nine School of Medicine Faculty Distinguished Professorships

Nine faculty members in the School of Medicine have been awarded distinguished professorships by Duke University. The honors were presented at a dinner on May 2, 2019. Distinguished professorships are awarded to the most distinguished faculty who have demonstrated extraordinary scholarship in advancing science and improving human health. 

Howard Wayne Frances, MD, MBARichard Hall Chaney, Sr. Professor of Otolaryngology
Howard Wayne Francis, MD, MBA

Dr. Francis is a professor in the Department of Surgery and chief of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences. He is an ear surgeon with expertise in the management of hearing loss and balance and also specializes in infections and tumors that impact the ear and the skull base. As a clinical researcher, he has contributed new insights into the neurosensory mechanisms of hearing loss and repair, and his efforts have led to advances in the efficacy and safety of therapies for treating these disorders. By establishing his own international collaborations while also leading institutional global initiatives, he has endeavored to advance the delivery of care in the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia. He has also led an institutional effort to define new standards and methods for the assessment of surgical skills relating to the ear, which are guiding national policy and practice.

Eun-Sil (Shelley) Hwang, MD, MPHMary and Deryl Hart Professor of Surgery
Eun-Sil (Shelley) Hwang, MD, MPH

Dr. Hwang is a professor of surgery and radiology in the School of Medicine. She also serves as vice chair of research and chief of breast surgery in the Department of Surgery and co-leader of women’s cancer in the Duke Cancer Institute. One of the world’s foremost experts in early-stage breast cancers, Hwang is an international leader in research to guide treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), in which abnormal cells are detected in the lining of a milk duct but haven’t spread to other tissues. DCIS is the most common form on non-invasive breast cancer in the U.S., and accounts for about 20 percent of all new breast cancer cases diagnosed from mammogram screenings. Dr. Hwang leads a multicenter research initiative to create a molecular tumor atlas of precancers. In 2016, she was named one of TIME’s most influential people as a pioneer in her field.

Victor L. Perez, MDStephen & Frances Foster Professor of Ocular Immunology and Inflammation
Victor L. Perez, MD

Dr. Perez is a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and director of Duke Eye Center’s newly launched Ocular Immunology Center. He is an internationally recognized clinician-scientist and authority in the complex field of cornea and ocular inflammatory diseases. In landmark studies, Dr. Perez established the sufficiency of immune effector mechanisms in macular degenerative disease. Dr. Perez complements his laboratory research with his work as director of the Foster Center for Ocular Immunology, evaluating and treating patients with ocular inflammatory diseases, conditions of the anterior segment and uveitis. Dr. Perez has developed surgical techniques and therapies for the treatment of corneal blindness. 

Felipe A. Medeiros, MD, PhDJoseph A.C. Wadsworth Professor of Ophthalmology
Felipe A. Medeiros, MD, PhD

Dr. Medeiros is a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, vice chair for technology and director of the department’s Clinical Research Unit. He is also the director of the Duke Vision, Imaging and Performance (VIP) Laboratory. Dr. Medeiros is a world-renowned clinician-scientist whose work has focused on the development of innovative imaging and functional methods to improve diagnosis and detection of progression of glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. His work has been the first to use virtual reality to predict clinically relevant functional outcomes in ophthalmology and to develop innovative brain-computer interfaces for objective and portable assessment of visual function. As one of the most cited researchers in his field, Dr. Medeiros was recently named one of the top 10 researchers in glaucoma of the decade. He received the 2018 Cogan Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). As one of the most prestigious awards in all of vision science, the Cogan Award is given to a scientist under 45 whose work offers the promise to transform ophthalmology in the future.

Evan Kharasch, MD, PhDMerel H. and Armide Harmel Professor of Anesthesiology
Evan Kharasch, MD, PhD

Dr. Kharasch is a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. He is also vice chair for innovation and director of academic entrepreneurship for the department. He is a leading expert on the pharmacology of anesthetic and pain drugs in perioperative and critical care. His research focuses on both basic and clinical pharmacology, including drug disposition, pharmacodynamics, pharmacogenetics, and drug safety, and understanding individual variability in drug response. Dr. Kharasch served a pivotal role in the evaluation, testing, and regulatory approval of sevoflurane, currently the most widely used volatile anesthetic in the world. He also designed and performed testing of parecoxib, a parenteral COX-2 inhibitor. His current research involves the rational and optimal use of opioids for pain treatment.  His second interest is in proteomic urine biomarkers of renal cancer, having discovered methods for noninvasive diagnosis, and in the development of molecular diagnostics. Dr. Kharasch is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and editor-in-chief of the journal Anesthesiology.

L. Ebony Boulware, MD, MPHEleanor Easley Professor of Medicine
L. Ebony Boulware, MD, MPH

Dr. Boulware is a professor in the Department of Medicine, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, and vice dean for translational science and associate vice chancellor for translational research in the School of Medicine. Additionally, she is director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Duke. She has spent most of her academic career investigating how to improve health care and health outcomes for individuals and populations with chronic kidney disease, hypertension, and other chronic diseases, particularly focusing on minority populations. Dr. Boulware’s work focuses on patient, population, clinical, health system and policy determinants that contribute to poor clinical outcomes. She has developed novel and effective strategies to improve outcomes, influencing national guidelines and approaches.

William J. Steinbach, MDMD Samuel L. Katz Professor of Pediatrics
William J. Steinbach, MD

Dr. Steinbach is professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and director of the Duke Pediatric Immunocompromised Host Program. Dr. Steinbach is a basic, translational, and clinical researcher recognized for improving the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of immunocompromised patients with invasive fungal infections. His laboratory research has altered the paradigm of molecular signaling surrounding fungal pathogenesis through phosphoproteomic studies controlling virulence. He also founded and co-chairs the biennial Advances Against Aspergillosis international meeting. His epidemiologic studies are the basis for the current clinical understanding of pediatric invasive fungal infections. He founded and directs the International Pediatric Fungal Network, a 55-site, NIH-funded multi-national consortium coordinating both diagnostic and therapeutic studies that serve as the foundation for new international guidelines. He has co-edited four infectious diseases textbooks.

Geraldine Dawson, PhDWilliam Cleland Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Geraldine Dawson, PhD

Dr. Dawson is a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Pediatrics, Psychology and Neuroscience, founding director of the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development, associate director of the Marcus Center for Cellular Cures, and chair of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. She is a world-renowned research scientist and clinician focused on the early detection and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), early patterns of brain dysfunction in ASD, and the development of endophenotypes for ASD-related genetic studies. She pioneered the application of a biological perspective in autism research. Her research program defined the earliest manifestations of autism, including biomarkers for early detection before symptom onset. In collaboration with Dr. Sally Rogers, Dr. Dawson translated basic science findings into the development and empirical validation of an early intervention for ASD known as the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), which has been translated into 17 languages and is used worldwide. ESDM is the first comprehensive intervention for infants and toddlers with autism, and is one of two early intervention methods that are considered efficacious intervention methods by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dawson’s work showing that ESDM treatment changes brain function in children with autism was recognized by TIME magazine as one of the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2012.

Stuart Johnston Knechtle, MDWilliam R. Kenan, Jr. Professorship for Transplant Surgery
Stuart Johnston Knechtle, MD

Dr. Knechtle previously served as the Mary and Deryl Hart Professor of Surgery before his appointment as the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor in the Department of Surgery. He is also a member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. Dr. Knechtle performs abdominal organ transplants in adults and children, concentrating on liver and kidney transplantation, liver resections, and portal hypertension surgery. During his career as an academic surgeon, he has led or participated in a diverse portfolio of research projects. These projects have centered on the immunology of transplantation, including cellular and antibody-mediated immune responses and how they are influenced by immune cell depletion and costimulation blockade. Dr. Knechtle’s lab is developing improved therapies for a better understanding of the management of immune memory to help overcome immunologic sensitization by a previous transplant.