Interdisciplinary Colloquia

The Duke University School of Medicine provides support for interdisciplinary colloquia that bring together basic science, translational and clinical faculty members with common interests in a biomedical problem or area. Recipients of funding for 2016-2017 are listed below: 



2016-17 Genitourinary (GU) Oncology Translational Research Forum

Lead: Andrew Armstrong

Goal: To develop a vibrant, engaged, multi-disciplinary, and translational GU research program at Duke University that will support multi-PI grants including DOD, NIH P01s, and SPORE applications. Participants: Faculty and staff interested in genitourinary (GU) research (basic, clinical/translational, epidemiology, health services and outcomes, behavioral health and survivorship). This program includes over 100 researchers across multiple specialties including but not limited to cancer and RNA biology, exercise physiology, immunology, microbiome researchers, nanotechnology, pathology, biostatistics, radiation biology, nutritional biology, metabolomics, genetics and genomics, epidemiology, and biomedical engineering.

Brain and Behavior Clinical Case Conferences

Lead: Kathryn Dickerson

We aim to develop an interdisciplinary colloquia series centered boadly on the Brain and Behavior for medical clinicians and basic scientist at all levels of examination (e.e. psychiatrist, neurologist, molecular/cellular systems neurobiologists, clinical psychologist, human neurimaging researcher, etc). The meetings will center on a topic of interest in the community that highights expertise we have atDuke for example:addiction, autism, ADHD, motor disorders, and decision making.

Duke Drosophila Group

Lead: Donald Fox

Founded in 2011, the Duke Drosophila group is a multi-disciplinary research group that includes both basic and clinical faculty on Duke's campus, as well as guest speakers from neighboring institutions. We are an interdisciplinary research group that shares the common interest of working with the fruit fly Drosophila as an animal model. Work presented at our monthly meetings has ranged from basic cell biology research on topics such as the genetic underpinnings of decision-making behevior to tranlsatable fly models of human diseases such as aneuploid cancers and neurodegenerative conditions.

Duke Innate Immunity Group

Lead: Gianna Hammer

The innate immune response is critical for host defense and the regulation of inflammation. Dysregulation of inflammation underlies many human diseases, and thus understanding the mechanics of innate immunity has become a key area of investigation for many biomedical disciplines. At Duke, many investigators study or are interested in innate immunity and its impact to pathogenesis of various diseases including cancer, sepsis and Crohn’s disease. Because this growing group of Duke investigators is spread across many different departments, the goal of DIIG was to provide a common forum to bring these Duke researchers together.

Duke Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Research Group

Lead: Deborah Fisher

The purpose of this project is to bring together proceduralists from Medicine (e.g. Gastroenterology), Surgery, Gynecologic Oncology and Interventional Radiology, Palliative Medicine experts, and methodologists to address the gaps in knowledge for palliative procedures. Topics could include real-world effectiveness of palliative procedures, optimal communication of management options to patients and families (e.g. surgery, endoscopy, interventional radiology, no intervention), and patient preferences for different approaches to palliation (e.g. conjoint analysis, stated choice/preference, discrete-choice experiment). Palliative surgery is an important and timely topic in the field, and one poised to garner significant interest among funders and medical journals.

Duke Pediatric Microbiome, Metabolism, and Molecular Physiology Research Group

Lead: Sarah Armstrong

A major challenge in the area of microbiome research is moving beyond microbiome and human disease state associations toward mechanistic knowledge that will underwrite precision diagnostics and interventions. To bridge these gaps and ensure the relevance of the knowledge to the human condition, the Duke Pediatric Microbiome, Metabolism, and Molecular Physiology Research Group (DPM3RG) seeks to interconnect human physiology and microbiome interactions using well-phenotyped cross-sectional and prospective clinical cohorts in combination with preclinical model systems and emerging complex molecular and systems biology tools being developed at Duke. We have chosen to focus on childhood interactions with the microbiome that may be particularly critical in programming the physiology that influences resiliency and disease risks throughout the lifespan.

Duke Zebrafish Research Symposia

Lead: Jonathan Rawls

The Duke Zebrafish Community (DZC) was formed in 2013, with the following objectives: (1) increase our research discoveries through interactions, (2) improve research training, (3) more efficiently utilize our existing resources, (4) more effectively acquire new resources in the form of grants or equipment/reagent requests, (5) best represent the national and international impact of our research at Duke, (6) increase our opportunities to continue to expand the Duke zebrafish community, and (7) increase our ability to compete for philanthropy. Towards attaining these objectives, the DZC holds regular research-in-progress meetings.

Eukaryotic Pathogenesis Investigator Club (EPIC)

Lead: Shannon Esher

Duke University is an internationally recognized leader in medical mycology and expanding substantially into parasitology as well. In spite of this, EPIC is the only seminar series focused broadly on eukaryotic pathogens. The series includes both clinical and basic research groups from a variety of departments on campus, and is coordinated by the Department of Medicine - Division of Infectious Diseases (ID), the Department of Biology, and the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology (MGM). The goal of EPIC is to foster interactions among the talented community of scientists studying eukaryotic pathogens at Duke and in the Triangle Area.

Fostering Cross Talk Between the Lab and Clinic to Maximize the Diagnostic Yield of Genomic Testing

Lead: Loren Pena

Genomic testing has entered clinical practice as a comprehensive and unbiased method for evaluating undiagnosed Mendelian disorders. Our clinical experience with whole exome sequencing (WES), obtained on a research or clinical basis through the Duke Medical Genetics clinic, the Duke Sequencing Clinic, or the Undiagnosed Diseases Program, is that genomic testing requires an ongoing partnership with the performing laboratory to provide comprehensive phenotypic data that, in turn, informs the laboratory’s evaluation of candidate variants. WES analysis can be diagnostic in 25-50% via primary analysis or reanalysis with updated genome builds, new phenotypic information, and variant re-categorization. It then follows that at least half of patients who have had WES remain undiagnosed, providing a prime opportunity for study of new approaches that can improve the current diagnostic rate. We propose to create a multidisciplinary colloquium that brings together clinicians and basic scientists with an interest in genomics at Duke, to foster discussion around relevant topics for genomic testing.

Methodological, Ethical, & Health Economic Challenges in the Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease

Lead: Kathleen Welsh-Bohmer

This colloquium will bring together basic scientists, clinical teams, bioethicists, and health economists to discuss: 1) the current progress in AD clinical trials to treat and prevent the disorder; 2) the development of biomarkers for enhancing case identification in preclinical disease and tracking target engagement and outcomes; 3) the ethical issues raised in identifying cognitively healthy adults at high risk of disease based on biomarkers; and 4) the health economics of introducing new compounds to delay or prevent AD both in terms of overall health care savings and payer challenges. The goals of the colloquium are to 1) enable interactions, questioning, and discussions between academic researchers, health economists, and leading industry experts and policy makers as we anticipate the introduction of new therapeutics; 2) establish and strengthen working relationships between these groups; and 3) identify areas for future development and collaboration (e.g. joint funding proposals) that would serve to advance AD therapeutic development and foster research partnerships in AD discovery.

Mobile Technology in Chronic Disease

Lead: Fletcher Hartsell

Most chronic illnesses and their clinical courses are the culmination of a complicated and prolonged interplay between genetics, environmental factors, and human behavior. Advances in our understanding and management of these conditions has historically required costly prospective studies that often become constrained by infrequently collected, or unreliable, data. Recent innovations, like smartphones, wearable sensors and cloud computing, provide more affordable ways to collect and store nearly continuous data from a broader potential recruitment base, thereby accelerating discovery and facilitating responsive clinical care. An increasing number of Duke researchers and clinicians have sought to advance mobile health as a promising approach to the investigation and management of chronic disease. This colloquium will create a forum for discussing common challenges, sharing effective solutions, consolidating resources, and forging collaborations. Topics for discussion will include mobile platform development, selection and negotiation of vendors and corporate partners, data management, data analysis, incorporation of machine learning, and methods for medical record systems integration.

Pain Research Colloquium at Duke (PRCD)

Lead: Ru-Rong Ji

Pain is one of the most frequently reported and costly symptoms in clinical settings. Chronic pain affects over 100 million Americans and is a disease of its own. It is estimated by the American Pain Society that the annual financial burden of the chronic pain epidemic is over $600 billion in the USA. The major goal of this pain colloquium is to continue to (1) enhance local collaborations between Duke and UNC Chapel Hill pain researchers and clinicians, and assume a leadership role at the national level; (2) provide a forum that encourages interactions between scientists and clinicians who are interested in basic, translational, and clinical research on pain; (3) provide students, postdoctoral and clinical fellows an opportunity to interact with experts in the field; (4) enhance research collaboration across University Departments; (5) enhance pain research collaboration with Duke Singapore and Duke Kunshan; (6) enhance collaboration with top universities in Canada, Europe, and China.

Surgical Health Services Research and Population Health

Lead: Julie Ann Sosa

The purpose of the proposed colloquium series is to bring together two brand new Centers at Duke along with their affiliated researchers for the purposes of enhanced, transdisciplinary collaboration around health services research involving surgery (HSR): the Surgical Center for Outcomes RESearch (SCORES) and the Center for Population Health Sciences (CPHS). HSR is a multidisciplinary scientific field that examines how people get access to health care practitioners and health care services, how much care costs, and what happens to patients as a result of this care. Studies in HSR investigate how social factors, health policy, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, medical technology, and personal behaviors affect access to health care, the quality and cost of health care, and quantity and quality of life. SCORES is a novel multidisciplinary group of 30 scientists, clinicians, educators, and their trainees that opened on June 2, 2016 and includes members from all the divisions of Surgery. The new Center for Population Health includes scientists with expertise in HSR methodologies to complement those of clinicians, and this first-in-kind alignment with a clinical department could serve as a model for the Center to create additional partnerships with other large groups of clinicians.

The Duke Epigenetics Seminar Series

Lead: Eda Yildirim

The Duke Epigenetics Seminar Series, will be organized by the Duke Epigenetics and Epigenomics Program (DEEP). The DEEP is an interdisciplinary community of Duke researchers who share common interests in biological processes that are mediated by epigenetic mechanisms including DNA methylation, chromatin and chromosome biology, and the role of these processes in disease. Our community includes a total of 156 basic scientists and translational researchers that cover a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines and technical expertise. The new Duke Epigenetics Seminar Series will facilitate exchange of data and new technologies among Duke epigenetics community by providing the necessary common discussion forum.

The Duke Pelvic Medicine Research Consortium Monthly Colloquium Series

Lead: Matthew Fraser

The Duke Urogenital Research Consortium, includes all of pelvic medicine (urologic, gastrointestinal, male and female sexual medicine, and pelvic floor) in our scope of interest and interdisciplinary approach. The ultimate goal of this consortium continues to be to organize and submit multi-investigator interdisciplinary grant submissions toward establishing the consortium as the basis of a new internationally recognized and renowned entity - the Duke Center for Pelvic Medicine Research.

Utilizing Mobile Technology to Improve Adolescent and Young Adult Health Engagement

Lead: Gary Maslow

The proposed colloquium would bring together clinicians, adolescent development researchers, mobile technology experts, and youth to examine novel methods to improve adolescent engagement in healthcare. The major goals of the Adolescent and Young Adult Colloquium will be to 1.) Share effective evidence-based strategies for engaging adolescents across various domains of healthcare while performing a literature review examining technology interventions designed for AYA health engagement, 2.) Seek innovative, mobile-based methods to improve engagement amongst AYA with the goal of developing cross-collaboration that could lead to grant submissions, 3.) Bring together researchers, clinicians, staff, and youth from across Duke and the community to showcase ongoing research and clinical work in mobile health engagement of the AYA group.

Windows Into the Brain

Lead: Alexandra Badea

Brain research spans across scientific domains, and imaging is a translational tool which can help across multiple levels: 1) the development of targeted imaging probes, 2) the development of imaging methods, 3) sophisticated algorithms for univariate or multivariate analysis, and ultimately 4) interpreting those findings in the context of behavioral and physiological changes. For this interdisciplinary colloquia on translational brain imaging for neurodegenerative brain diseases we aim to help identify overlapping areas of interest, needs, and distinct expertise that researchers can synergistically contribute.

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