Physician-Scientist Strong Start Program


In an effort to support young physician-scientists who were transitioning to independence, former School of Medicine Dean Nancy Andrews, MD, PhD,  saw too many talented young researchers becoming discouraged.   This unmet need was the inspiration for the Physician-Scientist Strong Start Award program.  The Duke Strong Start Program is designed to support the careers of young, laboratory-based physician-scientists at Duke through substantive mentoring and financial resources. 

This goal of this program is to nurture the careers of junior faculty who are laboratory-based physician-scientists at Duke. By offering substantive mentoring and financial resources, this award will support junior, physician-scientist faculty during a critical period of their career, the transition to research independence.

This award program is lead by the Office of Physician Scientist Development (OPSD) and intentionally designed to integrate with other Duke initiatives that train physician-scientists at even earlier points in their career, such as the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD-PhD students), Departmental Physician-Scientist Training Programs, and the Lefkowitz Society (clinical residents and fellows). In this way, the “Strong Start” Award Program will ensure that Duke University School of Medicine remains a leader in the training of outstanding physician-scientists, a group uniquely committed to the advancement of the medical sciences in our own community and in the nation.

Program Leadership

Gowthami Arepally










Gowthami Arepally , MD

Professor of Medicine

Director, Physician-Scientist Strong Start Award Program


2021 Award Recipients

Christine Eyler, MD, PhD
Medical Instructor, Radiation Oncology

Joseph Fernandez-Moure, MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine

Katy Liu, MD, PhD
Medical Instructor, Ophthalmology

Stacey Maskarinec, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine

Robert McGarrah, MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine

Kevin Southerland, MD
Assistant Professor, Surgery

2020 Award Recipients

Michael Deel
Michael Deel, MD
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics

Michael Lidsky
Michael Lidsky, MD
Assistant Professor, Surgery

Joshua Thaden
Joshua Thaden, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine

Yen-Rei Andrea Yu
Yen-Rei Andrea Yu, MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine

2019 Recipients


Dennis Abraham
Dennis Abraham, MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine

David Brown
David Brown, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Surgery

Pinar Gumus-Balikcioglu
Pinar Gumus-Balikcioglu, MD
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics

Brent Hanks
Brent Hanks, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine

Noelle Younge
Noelle Young, MD
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics

2018 Recipients

Andrew Barbas
Andrew Barbas, MD
Assistant Professor, Surgery

Sidney Gospe
Sidney Gospe, III, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology

Gentzon Hall
Gentzon Hall, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine

Grace Lee
Grace Ming Lee, MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine

Yvonne Mowery
Yvonne Mowery, MD, PhD
Butler Harris Assistant Professor in Radiation Oncology

2017 Recipients

Mehreen Arshad
Mehreen Arshad, MD
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics

Phuong Doan
Phuong Doan, MD
Associate Professor, Medicine

Katie Garman
Katherine Garman, MD
Associate Professor, Medicine

Christopher Holley
Christopher Holley, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Medicine

Ravi Karra
Ravi Karra, MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine

Amanda MacLeod
Amanda MacLeod, MD
Associate Professor, Dermatology

Jonathan Riboh
Jonathan Riboh, MD
Assistant Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery