DukeMed Alumni News

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Duke Med Alumni News, Winter 2021

Changing of the Guard

The day her eyelashes froze together turned out to be a pivotal day for Heather Whitson, MD, HS’01-’04, ‘06. She was a medical school student at Cornell University at the time, spending the winter in Boston doing research with a Harvard geriatrician. She was enjoying the research so much she was hoping to do her residency at Harvard so she could continue it. But when her eyelashes froze, she started dreaming of warmer climes.

Parkinson's Disease: The Stars in Our Brains

More than 10 million people worldwide—about 1 percent of people over age 60—live with Parkinson’s disease. There are treatments that can help control symptoms, but there is no cure.

Duke Alumnus, Trustee William Kaelin Receives Nobel Prize for Medicine

Dr. William G. Kaelin Jr., a Duke trustee and alumnus, was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Kaelin received both his undergraduate and medical degrees from Duke and is a professor in the Department of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Duke in Honduras

A team of 18 Duke staff, including a current Duke medical student and several DukeMed alumni, traveled to the Instituto Nacional Cardio-Pulmonar in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to perform heart surgeries. The hospital had nearly 100 patients on a waiting list for heart surgery, the majority were indigent patients with rheumatic valve disease.

Lights, Camera, Arctic

For Andrew “Tip” Taylor, MD’68, the proverbial fountain of youth isn’t a fountain at all, but a river. Actually, lots of rivers.

For more than 40 years, Taylor—a renowned nuclear medicine physician and ambitious outdoor adventurer—and his friend Jim Slinger have connected for a yearly 3-to-4-week canoe and backpacking trip in northern Alaska and Canada. It’s not a casual undertaking: a bush plane deposits them in the remote wilderness, and until it returns to fetch them weeks later, they’re on their own in the wild, making their way through grizzly bear country.

Buying Time to Save Sepsis Patients

With sepsis, time is of the essence. Left untreated, the illness—a runaway immune response to infection—can quickly become life-threatening. Hours, and even minutes, can mean the difference between life and death for this condition, which strikes more than 1.5 million people and kills more than 250,000 Americans each year.

Because sepsis is nonspecific, there is no single definitive sign, symptom, or test that identifies a patient as having it. That’s a huge challenge for providers, who need to assess patients as quickly as possible.

2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award - William Stead, AB’70, MD’74, HS’73-’77

William Stead, AB’70, MD’74, HS’73-’77 is a 2019 recipient of Duke Medical Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is a pioneer in the application of communication and information technology to improve the practice of medicine. He is considered a founder of the field of biomedical informatics and a contemporary thought leader.

Swimming against the Odds

Growing up in Scotland, Gavin Maitland was intrigued by the 1979 movie Escape from Alcatraz, in which Clint Eastwood’s character breaks out of the notorious prison and eludes capture by making his way through the dangerous waters of San Francisco Bay. One day many years later, Maitland slipped into the same cold waters off Alcatraz and began swimming toward a very different sort of freedom. Accompanied by his son, Zander, 13, and his daughter, Riley, 11, he swam from Alcatraz to the San Francisco shore in 2013 to celebrate his escape from the lung disease that had once sentenced him to a probable early death. The choppy water did not deter him from rejoicing the fifth anniversary of the lung transplant that saved his life.

2019 Lifetime Achievement Award - Brigid L.M. Hogan, PhD, FRS

Brigid L.M. Hogan, PhD, FRS is the 2019 recipient of Duke Medical Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement award. She is a pioneer and leader in the field of developmental biology. In the 1980s, she was one of the first to isolate Hox genes in mammals and to propose that they control tissue patterning in embryos across evolution.

2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award - Mark Humayun, MD’89, HS’90-’93

Mark Humayun, MD’89, HS’90-’93 is a 2019 recipient of Duke Medical Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is an internationally known pioneer in vision restoration who has literally allowed the blind to see. He is a retinal surgeon, engineer, scientist, and innovator whose accomplishments have been so distinguished in his field that he is the only ophthalmologist elected to both the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering.

More Alumni Publications

Doctor of Physical Therapy Alumni Newsletter

Duke In Touch DPT Magazine cover

Physician Assistant Alumni Magazine

PA Alumni Magazine cover

DukeMed Alumni News Archive

Duke Med Alumni News magazine cover


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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