Congratulations to Harry O. Taylor, Ph.D., MSW, MPH (Division of Hematology/Dept. of Medicine) and Michael Devinney, MD as recipients of the 2020 George Maddox award. The annual award supports the academic endeavors of young and aspiring investigators. George L. Maddox, PhD was an internationally known sociologist on the Duke faculty who helped shape the study of aging and human development.
Harry O. Taylor, Ph.D., MSW, MPH
Dr. Harry Taylor is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at the Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Taylor’s program of research focuses on examining the prevalence, trends, and factors associated with social isolation and loneliness among older adults, with specific emphasis on Black older adults. Dr. Taylor plans to improve the social well-being and health of older adults who are socially isolated and/or lonely by increasing awareness of these harmful conditions and by informing/developing tailored risk assessments and interventions to reduce these conditions among older adults.
Dr. Taylor completed his MSW and MPH at the University of Michigan, Schools of Social Work and Public Health (respectively) and his Ph.D. in social work at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Taylor’s mentor for the Postdoctoral Research Training Program at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development is Tyson Brown, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Sociology).
Michael Devinney, MD
Dr Devinney is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Critical Care in the Department of Anesthesiology. The focus of his research is on delirium and cognitive dysfunction following surgery, which are associated with significant long-term risk for dementia, diminished quality of life, and increased mortality. Few interventions exist to prevent these neurocognitive disorders, in part due to our poor understanding of their pathophysiologic underpinnings and risk factors.
Dr Devinney studies obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder characterized by repeated breathing interruptions during sleep that is highly prevalent yet frequently undiagnosed in older adults. One way that OSA could increase risk of postoperative neurocognitive disorders is through increased neuroinflammation. To better understand the relationship between OSA, postoperative neurocognitive disorders and neuroinflammation, his research team is carrying out a prospective observational cohort study called Sleep Apnea, Neuroinflammation, and cognitive Dysfunction Manifesting After Non-cardiac surgery (SANDMAN). In SANDMAN, patients undergo preoperative home sleep apnea testing in addition to pre- and postoperative cognitive testing, delirium screening, and cerebrospinal fluid sampling. This work has the potential to shed insight into crucial mechanisms of brain injury in OSA patients that could increase risk for postoperative delirium and cognitive dysfunction.