Exploring The Brain’s Hidden Landscapes

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SUMMER 2017Exploring theBrain’s HiddenLandscapesScott Soderling DiscoversSurprising Complexities inSynaptic Connections

message from the deanI HAVE BEGUN, LITTLE BY LITTLE, to pack up my office andprepare to move just down the road to the Nanaline Duke ResearchBuilding. While I will step down as dean of the school at the end ofJune, I will spend much of my upcoming sabbatical year continuingto work at a national level on issues important for academic medicine, science, and higher education.DukeMed AlumniNewsIt’s amazing to think of all that we have achieved together since2007, when I first arrived. Duke is a unique place. We are a youngmedical school, compared to most of our peers. We are a complexorganization, sometimes difficult to maneuver. And yet, we are fertile ground for those who have bold visions and big dreams. Duke isa place where one can accomplish great things.DukeMed AlumniNewsI’ve described some of our major milestones in previous letters,so I won’t list them again. What I will do is express my sincereappreciation for your friendship and support, and for the tirelesscommitment to excellence from each one of you – members of theschool’s remarkable community of alumni, faculty, staff, studentsand friends.Assistant Editor& Art DirectorI have been fortunate to have worked with amazing leaders by myside, sharing their ideas and helping to guide and navigate oftenchallenging waters. Each day, I continue to be inspired by the people around me. I am grateful for this time we have had together andam very confident that Mary Klotman will do a wonderful job ofshaping the next chapter in our history.Photographyis published by the Duke MedicalAlumni Association.Issues are available online atmedalumni.duke.edu.Your comments, ideas, and lettersto the editor are welcome.Please contact us at:710 W. Main Street, Suite 200Durham, NC 27701-3973919-385-3100e-mail: dukemed@dm.duke.eduEditorMarty FisherDavid PickelContributing WritersBernadette Gillis, Dave Hart,Aliza Inbari, Jim Rogalski, AngelaSpivey, Ashley StrahmKen Huth, Jared Lazarus,Shawn Rocco, Les ToddDuke PhotographyCover photographDuke researcher Scott Soderlingwith a projected image of neurons.Photograph by Les ToddThank you for a great ten years.Produced byDuke Health Developmentand Alumni Affairs.Copyright Duke University, 2017DHDAA 7263With warm wishes,DukeMed AlumniNews ismailed two times a year toalumni, donors, and friendsof Duke UniversitySchool of Medicine.Nancy C. Andrews, MD, PhDDean, Duke University School of MedicineVice Chancellor for Academic AffairsNanaline H. Duke Professor of MedicineProfessor, PediatricsProfessor, Pharmacology and Cancer BiologyDean Andrews, at the Hippocratic Oath Ceremony in May 2017.Nancy C. Andrews, MD, PhDScott Gibson, MBAEdward G. Buckley, MDTheodore N. Pappas, MDRaphael Valdivia, PhDDean, Duke University Schoolof MedicineVice Chancellor for Academic Affairs,Duke UniversityExecutive Vice Dean forAdministrationVice Dean for EducationVice Dean for Medical AffairsVice Dean for Basic ScienceL. Ebony Boulware, MD, MPHBilly NewtonIain Sanderson, BM, BChJudy SeidensteinVice Dean for FinanceVice Dean for Research InformaticsChief Diversity OfficerMark Stacy, MDJill BoyVice Dean for Clinical ResearchAssociate Dean andChief Communications OfficerVice Dean for Translational SciencesAnn Brown, MD, MHSVice Dean for Faculty

contentsIn Brief02Barber Named Chairof OB-GYN03Rynn Selected Chairof Psychiatry06Rogers NamedInterim Chair ofMedicine07Liver TransplantProgram AmongNation’s Best08Children’s NamedOne of Top FiveNationallyFeaturesETC.34Class Notes35ObituariesAlumniSpotlights33Ashley Wysong,MD’09, HS’09-‘1036Georgia Beasley,T’01, MD’0837William Kaelin,T’79, MD’83Soderling Explores theBrain’s Hidden LandscapesPage 16Price Elected DukeUniversity PresidentKlotmanNamed Dean09Kaelin GivesLasker LectureDean Nancy AndrewsLeaves a Legacyof GrowthPage 2210Research Highlights14Medical AlumniAssociation News15Philanthropy NewsMedical Alumni Association AwardsPage 27DukeMedA l u m n i N e w s 1

peopleJeffrey BakerMichael BagnatAllan KirkBaker to LeadTrent CenterThree Faculty MembersNamed AAAS FellowsJeffrey Baker, T’80, MD’84, G’91,HS’91, PhD’93, was named chair of theThree faculty members have beennamed fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.They are: Jane Pendergast, PhD, aprofessor of biostatistics and bioinformatics, for advancing biostatics withinpublic health; John Rawls, PhD, an associate professor of molecular geneticsand microbiology, for his contributionsto the field of symbiosis; and Joe BriceWeinberg, MD, a professor of medicine and immunology and associateprofessor in obstetrics and gynecology,for contributions to the field of immunology and hematology/oncology.Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities,and History of Medicine in August2016. Founded in 1999 as the Centerfor the Study of Medical Ethics andHumanities, the center brings togetherscholars and students for research,study, and service. In 2006, the centerwas named to honor Josiah CharlesTrent, T’34, MD, a noted surgeon andmedical historian. Baker is a professor of history and medicine who hasserved as director of the Trent Center’sprogram in the History of Medicinesince 2006.Barber NamedChair of OB-GYNMatthew D. Barber, MD, MHS,HS’94-’95, ’02, has been named chairof the Department of Obstetrics andGynecology, effective May 1. Barberpreviously was professor of surgery atthe Cleveland Clinic Lerner College ofMedicine at Case Western Reserve University and vice chair for research in theObstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’sHealth Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.He is a nationally recognized educator,researcher, and surgeon specializing inurogynecology and pelvic reconstructive surgery.Bagnat Selectedas HHMI ScholarMichael Bagnat, PhD, an associateprofessor of cell biology, has beennamed a Howard Hughes MedicalInstitute Scholar by the HHMI, theSimons Foundation, and the Bill andMelinda Gates Foundation. Bagnat,who studies how forces within cellscan help determine the shape and sizeof organs, is one of 84 early-careerscientists selected in 2016.2 Matthew D.BarberDukeMedA l u m n i N e w sMartinez ReceivesASM WatkinsResearch FellowshipDavid Martinez, a fellow in the Department of Molecular Genetics andMicrobiology, has been selected as a2016-2019 award recipient of the ASMRobert D. Watkins Graduate ResearchFellowship. The fellowship seeks toincrease the number of graduate students from underrepresented groupscompleting doctoral degrees in the microbiological sciences. Martinez workswith Sallie Permar, PhD, in a project toidentify key determinants of IgG transplacental transfer from HIV-infectedmothers to their fetus.Three LeadersHonored by NationalAcademy of MedicineThree Duke medical faculty membershave received one of the highest honors for health care professionals andDavid MartinezLawrence DavidDonaldMcDonnellRobert Califfbiomedical scientists—membershipin the National Academy of Medicine.Allan Kirk, MD’87, PhD’92, HS’95, theDavid C. Sabiston Professor and chairof the Department of Surgery; DonaldMcDonnell, PhD, the Glaxo Wellcome Professor of Molecular CancerBiology and chair of the Departmentof Pharmacology and Cancer Biology; and Robert Califf, T’73, MD’78,HS’78, 80-’93, the Donald Fortin, MD,Professor of Cardiology and formercommissioner of the U.S. Food andDrug Administration.David Listed asOne of 10 NewScientists to WatchLawrence David, PhD, an assistantprofessor of molecular genetics andmicrobiology, has been named one of“10 Scientists to Watch” by ScienceNews because of his extensive researchof the microbiome. His lab works to understand, predict, and manipulate howhuman microbiota behave over time.Varghese Will JoinDuke As FirstMEDx InvestigatorShyni Varghese, PhD, will join Duke thissummer with a triple appointment inthe departments of biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering andmaterials science, and orthopaedic surgery. She will be the first investigatorwith MEDx, a new initiative of the PrattSchool of Engineering and the Schoolof Medicine. MEDx seeks to enhanceand form new collaborations betweendoctors and engineers. Varghese is aShyni Varghese

peopleMoira RynnKathrynAndolsekBlake WilsonKafui Dzirasaa diverse range of disciplines andspecialties. They are: Nicole Calakos, MD, PhD, associate professorof neurology; Manesh Patel, MD,HS’97-’01, ’02-’06, associate professor of medicine; John Sampson, MD,leader in the field of biomaterials andstem cells and will continue her workat Duke in three major areas—musculoskeletal tissue repair, disease biophysics, and organ-on-a-chip technology.Currently, Varghese is an associateprofessor of bioengineering at theUniversity of California San Diego.HS’91-’95, ’97-’98, PhD’96, G’07,G’11, professor and chair, Depart-Rynn Named Chairof Psychiatry andBehavioral Sciencesment of Neurosurgery; StefanieSarantopoulos, MD, PhD, associateprofessor of medicine; and DorothySipkins, MD, PhD, associate professorof medicine.Moira Rynn, MD, has been namedchair of the Department of Psychiatryand Behavioral Sciences, effective July1. Rynn is a professor of psychiatryat Columbia University College ofPhysicians and Surgeons and at theNew York State Psychiatric Institute.She also serves as director of the Childand Adolescent Psychiatry Division inthe Department of Psychiatry and asmedical director of the Columbia University Center for Anxiety and RelatedDisorders and director of the Children’sResearch Day Unit in the New YorkState Psychiatric Institute.Snyderman PublishesMemoir of His Yearsas ChancellorChancellor emeritus RalphSnyderman, MD, HS’65-‘67, has published a memoir, A Chancellor's Tale:Transforming Academic Medicine,on his 15-year role in creating newparadigms for academic medicinewhile guiding Duke University MedicalCenter through periods of challengeand transformation. Under his leadership, the medical center became internationally known for its innovationsin medicine, including the creation ofDuke University Health System, whichbecame a model for integrated healthcare delivery, and the development ofpersonalized health care based on arational and compassionate model ofcare. Published by Duke UniversityPress, the book is available fromAmazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble,and other major booksellers.Andolsek ElectedChair of AAMC Groupon Resident AffairsKathryn Andolsek, MD, MPH,HS’76-’79, professor of communityand family medicine, was electedchair of the Association of AmericanMedical Colleges Group on ResidentAffairs (GRA) at the annual meetingin November. The GRA promotesexemplary leadership for high-quality graduate medical education andis the authoritative source on GMEprinciples and practices nationally.Andolsek’s term will last one year,during which she leads a nationalsteering committee.Five FacultyMembers Electedto ASCIFive faculty members have beenelected to the American Society forClinical Investigation (ASCI) Class of2017. Membership recognizes excellence and outstanding achievementfor physician-scientists representingWilson Elected toNational Academyof EngineeringCochlear implant developer BlakeWilson, E’74, PhD’15, an adjunctprofessor of biomedical engineering,electrical and computer engineering,and surgery and co-director of theDuke Hearing Center, was electedto the National Academy of Engineering in February. He was citedfor engineering the development ofthe cochlear implant that bestowshearing to individuals with profounddeafness, for which he and colleagues received the 2015 NAE FritzJ. and Dolores H. Russ Prize, considered the top prize in the world forbioengineering.Dzirasa Featured inLatest “Black Men,White Coats” VideoKafui Dzirasa, PhD'07, MD'09, anassistant professor in the departments of psychiatry and behavioralsciences and neurobiology and amember of the Duke Institute forBrain Sciences, is featured in a newvideo that is part of the “Black Menin White Coats” video series. Theseries is the result of a collaboracontinued on page 6DukeMedA l u m n i N e w s 3

SCOTT SODERLING04.22.2017 WASHINGTON, D.C.March for ScienceMore than 75 faculty, staff, and students from Duke University took abus to join the March for Science in April. There were enough peopleinterested on campus that a second bus was added to accommodatemarchers from the College of Arts & Sciences. Vice Dean for Basic ScienceRaphael Valdivia, PhD, said it was clear the marchers were not used todemonstrating. He said the chants were “awkward and a little funny,but the group felt invigorated by the high level of support and diversityof people who came to the march. Many felt it was very important todeliver the message that fact-based decision making and support for thesciences is critical for the proper functioning of our society.”4 DukeMedA l u m n i N e w s

news briefsDukeMedA l u m n i N e w s 5

peopleRaphael ValdiviaAlejandro Aballay Joseph Rogerscontinued from page 3tion between the School of Medicineand DiverseMedicine Inc. Two othervideos, featuring Kevin Thomas, MD,HS’99-’03, ’04-’07, associate professorof medicine, and Kwadwo Owusu-Akyaw, T’10, MD’14, an orthopaedic surgery resident, were releasedlast summer. The aim of the seriesis to inspire more underrepresentedminority students to consider the fieldof medicine. Although the number ofblack men graduating from collegecontinues to increase, the number ofblack men applying to medical schoolhas dropped during the last fourdecades. Today just under 4 percentof practicing physicians in the U.S. areblack, according to a study publishedin JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015.The videos are available on Facebook.Two FacultyMembers Elected toAmerican Academyof MicrobiologyTwo Duke professors of moleculargenetics and microbiology—Raphael Valdivia, PhD, vice dean for basicscience; and Alejandro Aballay, PhD,director of the Center for Host-Microbial Interactions—were among73 scientists elected fellows in theAmerican Academy of Microbiology inMarch. Election recognizes a member’sscientific achievements and originalcontributions that have advancedmicrobiology.Three MedicalStudents Named NCSchweitzer FellowsThree Duke medical students wereamong 23 graduate students fromacross the state selected for the 20172018 class of North Carolina Albert6 DukeMedA l u m n i N e w sSchweitzer Fellows. They will spend thenext year developing leadership skillsand learning to effectively address thesocial factors that impact health. Thestudents are Cierra Hong and KristinRhodin, for work in the Duke CancerInstitute to provide support to surgicalcancer patients from low socio-economic backgrounds to help themachieve a complication-free recovery;and Aarti Thakkar, for work with theDuke Outpatient Clinic and LincolnCommunity Health Center to expandthe Duke Hotspotting Initiative, part ofa national effort to identify the highestutilizers of healthcare and interveneusing a targeted, multidisciplinary caremanagement team.Duke Medical StudentsAwarded HHMI MedicalResearch FellowshipsThe Howard Hughes Medical Institutehas awarded fellowships to two Dukemedical students and a renewal to athird. Starting this summer, each fellowwill spend a year pursuing basic, translational, or applied biomedical researchat one of 32 academic or nonprofit research institutions across the U.S. Eachstudent receives 43,000 in grant support and is eligible to apply for a secondyear. The students are Kelly Buchananand Justin Zhou as well as GabrielNeves, who received the renewal.more informationTo read more about these and other newsstories go to:corporate.dukehealth.org/newsmedia.Rogers NamedInterim Chairof Departmentof MedicineJoseph Rogers, MD, will serve asinterim chair of the Department ofMedicine beginning July 1. Rogers willsucceed Mary Klotman, T’76, MD’80,HS’80-‘85, who will leave her role aschair on July 1 to serve as dean ofthe School of Medicine. (See story onpage 8.) Rogers is a professor in theDepartment of Medicine, Division ofCardiology. He is a physician-scientistspecializing in clinical cardiac transplantation and caring for patientswith heart failure. He is currentlyserving as senior vice chair of theDepartment of Medicine and associate chief medical officer of the PrivateDiagnostic Clinic, where he is helpinglead the PDC clinical growth over thenext five years.Seven Receive NewStrong Start AwardsFunded by The DukeEndowmentSeven School of Medicine facultymembers have been selected toreceive inaugural Physician-ScientistStrong Start Awards. The awardswere created by the School of Medicine with a gift from The Duke Endowment to support promising newphysician-scientists as they developan independent research program.Each recipient will receive 70,000over one year. All assistant professors, they are: Mehreen Arshad,

news briefsDamon TweedyMBBS, HS’08-’15, Department ofPediatrics; Phuong Doan, MD,HS’10, Katherine Garman, MD’02,HA’02-06, ’09, G’12, ChristopherHolley, T’95, PhD’03, MD’04, andRavi Karra, MD, HS’12, all from theDepartment of Medicine; Amanda MacLeod, MD, Department ofDermatology; and Jonathah Riboh,MD, HS’09-’14, Department ofOrthopaedic Surgery.Tweedy ReceivesSoloman CarterFuller AwardDamon Tweedy, MD’00, HS’07, anassistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and BehavioralSciences, has received the SolomanCarter Fuller Award for his pioneering work in addressing disparitiesin the medical profession. Tweedyis the New York Times bestsellingauthor of the book Black Man in aWhite Coat: A Doctor’s Reflectionson Race and Medicine. In additionto his Duke degrees, he holds adegree from Yale Law School. TheSoloman Carter Fuller Award fromthe American Psychiatric Association is presented each year to ablack citizen who is a pioneer in anarea that has significantly improvedthe quality of life for black people.Liver TransplantProgram ShowsNation’s Best ResultsDuke University Hospital has thenation’s best outcomes for adult livertransplants from deceased donors,according to data from 2016. Duke’stransplant center was the first inNorth Carolina to provide liver transplants and today is among thenation’s most efficient centers. Itmoves patients from the waiting listto transplant more than 2.5 timesfaster than the national average.Survival rates at Duke are also amongthe nation’s best. Duke has been apioneer in solid organ transplantationsince establishing one of the nation’sfirst kidney transplant programs in1965. It now provides heart, lung,and small bowel transplants in addition to liver and kidney. Last year, itbecame one of a few institutions nationally to offer hand transplantation.Duke HealthProfessions EducationPrograms Rise inRankingsThe School of Nursing rose to No. 1among graduate schools of nursing in the 2017 U.S. News & WorldReport rankings, and the School ofMedicine rose one spot to No. 7.Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practicewas also named No. 1 nationally, andseveral specialty programs were inthe top 10, including Nurse Practitioner-Pediatric and Primary Careat 2nd; Informatics and Doctor ofNursing Practice Anesthesia at 3rd;Nurse Practitioner-Family, tied for4th; and Nurse Practitioner-AdultGerontology, Acute Care at 5th.Several specialties in the School ofMedicine were also ranked, includingInternal Medicine at 5th; Geriatrics,tied for 5th; and Family Medicine at9th. The Duke Physician AssistantProgram continued at No. 1, and theDoctor of Physical Therapy Programrose to 10th.U.S. News &World ReportNational Rankings7Duke UniversitySchool of Medicine110Duke Physician Assistant Program11Doctor of Physical Therapy ProgramDuke University School of Nursing,Graduate SchoolDuke University School of Nursing,Doctor of Nursing PracticeSchools of Medicineand Nursing RankHigh in NIHResearch FundingThe School of Medicine ranked8th nationally in funding from theNational Institutes of Health in2016, up from 13th in 2015. TheDukeMedA l u m n i N e w s 7

news briefsproviding the most complex care andservices for children and their families. It follows more than a decade ofreorganization and restructuring. Thetwo-year certification process was ledby Jeffrey Marcus, MD, the Paul H.Sherman, MD, Associate Professor ofSurgery, chief of the Division of Plastic,Maxillofacial, and Oral Surgery, andchief of the Duke Center for Children’sSurgery and Alexander Allori, MD,HS’10-‘13, medical director of qualityand safety at Duke Children’s.8 DukeMedA l u m n i N e w sVincent PriceElected 10th DukeUniversity PresidentVincent Price, PhD, provost of theUniversity of Pennsylvania since 2009,has been elected Duke University’s10th president, David Rubenstein, chairof the university’s Board of Trustees,announced in December.In addition to being the chiefacademic officer at Penn, Price is theSteven H. Chaffee Professor of Communication in the Annenberg Schoolof Communication and professor ofpolitical science in the School of Artsand Sciences.Price will succeed Richard H. Brodhead, PhD, on July 1.Price called Duke “a very special placewhere innovation is fueled by creativityand continually informed by rigorousand groundbreaking scholarship. Mostimportant, it’s a place deeply dedicated to improving our world throughresearch, service, and education.”As the chief academic officer atPenn, Price oversees the university’s 12schools and colleges, centers and institutes, student affairs, athletics, and thearts. He has advanced initiatives to diversify the faculty, develop new formsof teaching and learning, enhance artsand culture on campus, and facilitateinterdisciplinary research and teaching.He led Penn’s role as one of thefirst partners in Coursera, the onlineopen learning platform, and served asfounding chair of Coursera’s UniversityAdvisory Board. He also serves as trustee of the Wistar Institute, a nonprofitbiomedical research institute dedicatedto saving lives through science, and onthe executive planning group for University of Pennsylvania Health System.Price has been the catalyst for Penn’sglobal strategy, hiring the university’sfirst vice provost for global initiativesand spearheading the creation of thePenn Wharton China Center in Beijing,which opened in 2015.He is married to Annette Price, andthey have two children, Sarah andAlexander.Klotman to LeadSchool of MedicineMary Klotman, T’76, MD’80, HS’80’85, a nationally renowned physi-cian-scientist and academic leader whohas served as chair of the Departmentof Medicine for almost seven years, hasbeen named dean of Duke UniversitySchool of Medicine and vice chancellorfor health affairs at Duke University.She will assume these roles July 1.Klotman’s appointment follows asix-month national search that waslaunched when Dean Nancy Andrews,MD, PhD, announced she planned tostep down as dean. (See story on page23.) Andrews was the first female deanSHAWN ROCCOIn November 2016, Duke Children’sHospital became one of only fiveLevel-1 children’s surgical centers inthe nation as certified by the AmericanCollege of Surgeons. The certification recognizes Duke as capable ofVincent PriceJARED LAZARUSDuke Children’sNamed One of FiveNational Leaders inChildren’s SurgeryCHRIS HILDRETHschool received a total of 337.7 million in funding. The School of Nursingranked 4th among nursing schoolswith a total of 6.5 million.

New ResearchBuilding Tops OutIn January, Chancellor Eugene Washington, MD, MSc, and Dean NancyAndrews, MD, PhD, hosted a signingceremony for the final beam of a newMedical Sciences Research Building(MSRB III). Construction of the 103million, 155,000-square-foot buildingbegan last summer and is anticipatedto conclude in fall of 2018. Locatedon Research Drive, the building willexclusively house bench lab research.With six floors above ground and onebelow, it will significantly relieve thecurrent shortage of research space inDuke University School of Medicineand foster collaboration and synergyamong basic science researchers.MSRB III joins the 190,000-squarefoot MSRB I, which opened in 1994,and the 165,000-square-foot MSRBII, which opened in 2006. The schoolalso leases research space in downtown Durham’s Innovation District,including the Carmichael Building onDuke Street and the Chesterfield, nowbeing renovated on West Main Street.KEN HUTHof a nationally acclaimed medicalschool, and leaves after a decade inthe post on June 30.Klotman has been a national leaderin science and academic medicinethrough her roles in the Alliance forAcademic Internal Medicine, whereshe is president of the Association ofProfessors of Medicine, and on theCouncil for the Association of American Physicians. She is also a memberof the National Academy of Medicine.William Kaelin spoke to students at the City of Medicine Academy while he was in Durham.Duke Hosts PrecisionMedicine WorldConference in MayKaelin Gives LaskerLecture at Schoolof MedicineDuke Health and Duke University co-hostedthe first-ever North Carolina meeting ofthe Precision Medicine World Conferencein May. Hundreds attended from across thespectrum of health care, representing a variety of companies, technologies, researchers,and medical centers with leadership rolesWilliam Kaelin Jr., T’79, MD’83,in precision medicine. The theme of theconference, held annually since 2009 inCalifornia’s Silicon Valley, is “Translating thePower of Precision Medicine Technologiesinto Better Health Care.” Among the manyconference topics were how data sciencecan advance precision medicine, the importance of patient engagement, the impact oftechnology to drive genomics and medicalpractice, updates on data and regulatorypolicies, metabolomics in precision medicine, the emergence of single cell genomics,monitoring infectious diseases, and mobilehealth and how it is changing medicine.Speakers included Governor Roy Cooper;Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of theNational Institutes of Health; and co-hostsGeoffrey Ginsburg, MD, PhD, director ofthe Duke Center for Applied Genomics andPrecision Medicine, and Chancellor emeritusthe 2016 recipient of the AlbertLasker Basic Medical ResearchAward, spoke in April at theTrent Semans Center for HealthEducation. A professor in theDepartment of Medicine at theDana-Farber Cancer Instituteand Harvard Medical School,Kaelin spoke on “The VHL Tumor Suppressor Protein: Insightsinto Oxygen Sensing, CancerMetabolism, and Drugging theUndruggable.” The researchseeks to understand why tumorsuppressing genes can lead tocancer. His study of VHL offeredimportant information aboutthe body’s response to changesin oxygen levels. He also pushedstudents and faculty in attendance to stay focused on serving the greater good over thecourse of their careers. He is thesecond Lasker Award winner infour years with Duke ties. BlakeS. Wilson, E’74, ‘PhD15, knownfor his role in developing signalprocessing strategies for thecochlear implant, won in 2013.(See story on page 37.)Ralph Snyderman, MD, HS’65-‘67.Scott Gibson, executive vice dean for administration; Chancellor A. Eugene Washington;Dean Nancy Andrews; and Raphael Valdivia, PhD, vice dean for basic science, sign the laststeel girder during a “topping out” event for the new Medical Sciences Research Building.DukeMedA l u m n i N e w s 9

researchDuke Cancer Institute scientists havedescribed a previously unknown seriesof steps that cells undergo whenstressed, adding crucial informationto the understanding of DNA damagethat is at the heart of research intoaging and cancer.The finding is reported online in thejournal Cancer Discovery.“We found a whole new pathwaythat helps cells deal with DNA damagewhen they are exposed to radiation,chemicals, and perhaps oxidativestress,” said senior author MichaelKastan, MD, PhD, executive directorof Duke Cancer Institute. “This insighthelps explain how, after DNA damage,cells are programmed to live, die, mutate, or go into a state of senescence,in which they stop dividing.”The findings from Kastan and colleagues arose from studies of the p53gene, which is involved in the regulation of cell cycles and programmed celldeath. When functioning properly, p53works to stop the formation of tumors,and it is the most commonly mutatedgene in human cancers. Kastan’s labdiscovered its critical role in modulating cellular responses to DNA damagemore than 25 years ago.Flame RetardantsImplicated inThyroid CancerHigher exposure to chemicals used toreduce the flammability of furniture,carpets, electronics, and other household items appears, to be associatedwith papillary thyroid cancer, accordingto a study conducted by Duke CancerInstitute and the Nicholas School of theEnvironment.Reporting April 1 at the ENDO 2017meeting in Orlando, the Duke research10 DukeMedA l u m n i N e w sJARED LAZARUSNew Insight into DNADamage that Leadsto Aging and CancerDoctors and scientists are studying whether exposure to common chemicals contributeto thyroid cancer risk. Nicholas School of the Environment PhD student StephanieHammel and lab manager Amelia Lorenzo take dust samples from a home.team found a significant associationbetween higher levels of certain flameretardants in household dust and beinga patient with papillary thyroid cancer,which is increasing at the fastest rateof any cancer in the United States.“The incidence of papillary thyroidcancer has risen an average of 7 percenta year in the United States for the lasttwo decades,” said co-senior authorJulie Ann Sosa, MD, chief of endocrinesurgery at Duke Cancer Institute. “Atthe same time, exposure to flame retardant chemicals has also increased.“These chemicals are known as endocrine disruptors, and specifically theyaffect thyroid function,” Sosa said.“We know that some flame retardantsshare a similar chemical structure withthyroid hormones, and there has beenquite a bit of interest around their impact on thyroid regulation and clinicallysignificant thyroid disease. Our studywas designed to explore whether thereis an association between these chemicals and having thyroid cancer.”Sosa and co-senior author HeatherM. Stapleton, PhD, associate professorof environmental chemistry and exposure science at the Nicho

Scott Gibson, MBA Executive Vice Dean for Administration L. Ebony Boulware, MD, MPH Ann Brown, MD, MHS Vice Dean for Faculty Edward G. Buckley, MD Vice Dean for Education Billy Newton Vice Dean for Finance Theodore N. Pappas, MD Vice Dean for Medical Affairs Iain Sanderson, BM, BCh Vice Dean

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