DukeMed Alumni News

DukeMed Alumni News Spring 2023

DukeMed Alumni News, Summer 2023

Native American Heritage Inspires Lumbee Students

Third-year Duke medical student Emily Alway grew up near Detroit, but every July, her family would travel to North Carolina for Lumbee homecoming, which includes a parade and a pow-wow. The Lumbee Tribe is the largest Native American tribe in North Carolina, and its members have traditionally lived in Robeson, Cumberland, Hoke, and Scotland counties in the southeastern part of the state.

Alumni Spotlight: Phil Lister, MD'79

One of the most powerful moments Phil Lister, MD’79, had in medical school came during a lecture by Adhemar "Jim" Renuart, BS’52, MD’56, HS’57. Renuart shared with the students the challenges he experienced as both a doctor and a father to a child with medical issues.

Alumni Spotlight: Kurt Newman, MD'78

Health care professionals found themselves facing a whirlwind of unknowns at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Among the many unanswered questions was what effect shutdowns, social isolation, and the virus itself would have on children. Despite what some stated at the time, Kurt Newman, MD’78, and his colleagues at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., believed there was cause for concern.

Ed Miao, PhD: Moves and Countermoves in the Immune System

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.

Josh Huang, PhD: Shining a Light on the Traffic Signals in the Brain

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.

Carolyn Coyne, PhD: Exploring How Viruses Evade the Placental Barrier

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.

Zhao Zhang, PhD: Follow the Jumping Genes

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.

Helping Kids Navigate the Pandemic

The stress and isolation of the pandemic may have a lasting toll on some children, but Duke experts say most will recover fully — and some might even emerge with new strengths.

About DukeMed Alumni News

DukeMed Alumni News is published twice a year. If you have a story idea, please write to us at the address below or send an e-mail to dukemed@dm.duke.edu. We are interested in remembrances of favorite faculty or stories about your time at the School of Medicine, as well as alumni who have interesting hobbies, alternative careers, global and community health experiences, and anything you think would be of interest to other Duke medical alumni. Letters to the editor are also welcome.

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