Undergraduates Can Apply for 2020 Summer Program in Genome Sciences and Medicine

GCB Summer Scholars.

Deadline: January 15, 2020

The Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology and the Duke Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine have partnered with North Carolina Central University to launch the Summer Scholars Program in Genome Sciences and Medicine, supported an R25 grant by the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH. This annual 10-week program is designed for full-time first- and second-year underrepresented minority students at any college or university.

Program Mission

To provide a high-quality mentored training experience for underrepresented minority undergraduates to gain the experience, knowledge, and skills to pursue and successfully complete a major in a STEM field and prepare for a job or higher learning in a STEM-related field

Program Description

Students interested in careers in genome sciences and medicine will need a strong foundation of core genome sciences, technology, and interdisciplinary training. The Summer Scholars Program in Genome Sciences and Medicine provides opportunities for students to learn fundamental laboratory skills in genome science through mentored research, enhance critical thinking and reading skills, conduct literature reviews, and prepare presentations of their research findings.

Students will learn first-hand what it is like to conduct biomedical research. The experiences they gain, such as how to design a research project, how to carry out necessary experiments to achieve project goals and test hypotheses, what appropriate lab etiquette entails, and how to effectively present work to peers, will be applicable to any biomedical research setting.

These research experiences are complemented by interactive learning activities including meeting with researchers at Duke, NCCU, and companies in Research Triangle Park to learn about career options in genome sciences and medicine. Students will also attend weekly discussions on ethical, legal, social and policy issues related to genome sciences.

See Details and Apply Now

Student Eligibility

This program is designed for underrepresented minority students currently in their first or second year of undergraduate study:

  • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.
  • Individuals with disabilities, defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
  • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those from a family with an annual income below the established thresholds or individuals from an educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that has inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens.

Application Deadline

Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. EST on January 15, 2020

Stipend and Housing

Housing will be provided to students accepted into this program in Duke University residence facilities for the duration of the program at no cost. In addition to housing, students will receive a stipend of $4,920.

Program Contact

Susanne Haga, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Phone: (919) 684-0325

Meet Our Mentors

Get FOCUSed on Genetics, Genomics, and Computational Biology

Young scientists.

The Duke FOCUS Program is an exciting opportunity for freshman students to get exposed to ideas from the vantage point of different disciplines across the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology (GCB) has faculty involved in two of the 14 FOCUS clusters being offered in Fall 2019: “Genetics and Genomics: Epigenetics, Environment and Ethics” and “What If? Explaining the Past/Predicting the Future.

Genetics and Genomics: Epigenetics, Environment, and Ethics

While the title of this cluster has evolved over the years to reflect the suite of courses offered in a given year, it has been a mainstay in the FOCUS program for over ten years. Initially started by Hunt Willard, director of the former Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, Beth Sullivan, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, took over the reigns as director of the cluster in 2015. She and GCB faculty Susanne Haga, associate professor in medicine, have taught courses together in this cluster for the past four years.

Most of the students who sign up for this cluster are often pre-med and/or intend to major in life sciences or engineering, and several students go on to conduct independent research in genome sciences, public policy, or related fields.

The goals of this FOCUS cluster are to explore genome sciences in various contexts as well as explore the biomedical, biological, historical, technical, and ethical implications of genomic advances and the questions that these advances pose for understanding the past and contemplating the future of biomedicine.

In Fall 2019, this cluster will offer three courses, taught by Sullivan, Haga, and GCB faculty Jennifer Wernegreen, associate professor of environmental and evolutionary genomics.

More info about the Genetics and Genomics FOCUS Cluster

What If? Explaining the Past/Predicting the Future

GCB faculty and associate professor of evolutionary anthropology Jenny Tung will become the new director for the What If FOCUS cluster, which aims to teach students how to build and test models in natural sciences and social sciences. Students will also learn how to formulate mathematical models that can be used to answer scientific questions and a variety of techniques for studying the models.

“We draw scientifically curious students who want to understand how to use and interpret the deluge of data around them,” Tung said. “They also want to understand how data and modeling can be applied across disciplines – and its limits.” In high school, students learn math through formulas, and they learn that things are either right or wrong. This cluster, though, shows them that math can be used as a tool to model phenomena in the physical and social world, which provides a new and exciting perspective for these students.

This cluster will offer four classes, taught by Tung, GCB faculty Sayan Mukherjee, professor of statistical science; Kieran Healy, associate professor of sociology; and Lynn Smith-Lovin, professor of sociology.

More info about the What If FOCUS Cluster

In addition to courses, students also participate in a weekly discussion seminar in which all of the faculty and students from their particular cluster attend. Students in the FOCUS Program live in the same residence hall but also share it with other first-year students, enabling them to form a companionable academic and social community while encouraging friendships with all of their first-year classmates.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis now through May 25.

Originally posted on the GCB website

Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology Launches Microgrants

Woman in lab.

Deadline: Rolling

To foster and facilitate rapid progress in genomics research, the Center for Genomic and Computational Biology (GCB) will begin awarding microgrants on a rolling basis. The microgrants projects will replace the Pilot Projects initiative and will allow not only for more collaboration between GCB faculty members and faculty outside of GCB, but will also fund higher-risk projects.

The Center intends to award 10 to 20 microgrants per year. Each grant will be limited to $5,000. To apply, submit a one-half-page document describing the project. Preference will be given to those who can show how their project will facilitate genomics research, foster new collaborations, provide pilot data for an upcoming grant application, and/or develop a new technology (wet or computational). High risk/high reward projects are encouraged.

In addition, PIs should submit a budget justification and the names of the GCB and non-GCB faculty involved. Solo applications are allowed if they meet the other criteria.

PIs who receive a microgrant will be asked to provide a brief report at the end of their funding to describe their research and next steps.

Applications should be sent to Ytina Mangum.

Faculty to Pursue Collaborations through 2019 Intellectual Community Planning Grants

ICPG 2019.

A key goal of Together Duke is to invest in faculty as scholars and leaders of the university’s intellectual communities. To foster collaboration around new and emerging areas of interest, Intellectual Community Planning Grants (ICPG) are available to groups of faculty.

These grants cover the cost of food, meeting venues, external speakers or other meeting costs, and exploratory research into potential collaborators at Duke and elsewhere. The offices of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Executive Vice Provost oversee this seed grant program.

For the 2019 calendar year, eight groups received Intellectual Community Planning Grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Big Data and Social Interactions

Big Data and Social Interactions faculty members.

This group will facilitate interactions among faculty who want to learn how technological advancements and big data can improve our understanding of the ways in which social norms and interactions affect individuals’ and firms’ behavior. The primary goal is to produce sustained interactions and research papers capable of being published in leading scholarly journals. A kick-off event will include a visiting speaker. Subsequent meetings will invite faculty to provide overviews of recent research and discuss new ideas; review colleagues’ early-stage research ideas; and share early work with a guest speaker who is a pioneer in the field.

  • Lead: Jillian Grennan, Fuqua School of Business
  • Chris Bail, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Ines Black, Fuqua School of Business, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • Ofer Eldar, Law School, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • Sarah Gaither, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Sharique Hasan, Fuqua School of Business, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • Rachel Kranton, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • David Robinson, Fuqua School of Business, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Building Duke’s Community of Theoretical Chemists via a Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Building Duke’s Community of Theoretical Chemists via a Summer Undergraduate Research Program faculty members.

An emerging community of theoretical chemists at Duke is spread across schools and departments. This group has begun to organize a Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Theoretical Chemistry, which will help strengthen the pool of graduate student applicants from North America. The Intellectual Community Planning Grant will enable the participation of more faculty (those who could not fully fund a student on their own) and support team-building excursions. All faculty will present multiple seminars and mentor the summer undergraduate researchers.

  • Lead: David Beratan, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, School of Medicine, Duke University Energy Initiative
  • Hashim Al-Hashimi, School of Medicine
  • Volker Blum, Pratt School of Engineering, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke University Energy Initiative
  • Patrick Charbonneau, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Stephen Craig, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke University Energy Initiative
  • Bruce Randall Donald, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, School of Medicine, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology
  • Jianfeng Lu, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Michael Rubinstein, Pratt School of Engineering, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Warren S. Warren, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, School of Medicine
  • Weitao Yang, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke University Energy Initiative

Exploring STEAM (Science, Arts, and Humanities) at Duke

Exploring STEAM at Duke members.

A working group of Duke faculty, staff, administrators, and students will explore overlapping and complementary interests in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts, and humanities (broadly referred to as STEAM), and promote more robust interdisciplinary research, coursework, and public engagement in this space, both within and beyond Duke. The group will organize a half-day forum to catalog and describe innovative STEAM activities occurring at Duke and spark new collaborations among faculty, students, staff, and administrators.

  • Lead: Misha Angrist, Social Science Research Institute, Duke Initiative for Science & Society, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Co-lead: Jory Weintraub, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Project manager: Ariana Eily, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Nicolette Cagle, Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Aria Chernik, Social Science Research Institute, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • Claudia Gunsch, Pratt School of Engineering, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University Energy Initiative
  • Jules Odendahl-James, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Nimmi Ramanujam, Pratt School of Engineering, School of Medicine, Duke Global Health Institute, Duke Initiative for Science & Society, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • Nina Sherwood, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, School of Medicine, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Kearsley Stewart, Duke Global Health Institute, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Victoria Szabo, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Health as an Ecosystem: Expanding Our Imaginations of Health

Health as an Ecosystem faculty members.

In ecology, an ecosystem is a community of living organisms and their interactions with the abiotic environment. Dynamic and complex, they may flourish in settings of balance, diversity, and responsive resilience, or they may flounder in contexts of deficit and disruption. This group will apply the ecosystem concept to health and explore new perspectives on health systems, population health, well-being, and disease. During monthly meetings, members will consider a range of questions and engage in activities whose focus will encompass capstone projects, seminars, and future grant proposals.

  • Lead: John Moses, School of Medicine, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Co-lead: Jennifer Lawson, School of Medicine, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Charles Nunn, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Richard Di Giulio, Nicholas School of the Environment, Pratt School of Engineering
  • Alice Ammerman, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • Eliana Perrin, School of Medicine
  • Eric Richardson, Pratt School of Engineering
  • Jan Holton, Divinity School
  • Brett McCarty, Divinity School
  • Bill Walker, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • Peter English, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Gopal Sreenivasan, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, School of Medicine, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Norman Wirzba, Divinity School, Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Jon Fjeld, Fuqua School of Business, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • Ray Barfield, School of Medicine, Divinity School, School of Nursing, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Warren Kinghorn, School of Medicine, Divinity School, Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Launching a Triangle-Wide Seminar in the Economics of Education

Launching a Triangle-Wide Seminar in the Economics of Education faculty members.

Currently, there is no regular forum for economists from the Triangle to discuss new empirical work on the economics of education. This group will change that by organizing a one-day workshop. Hosted by the Center for Child and Family Policy, the event will include invited presenters, discussants, and a keynote speaker. It will also serve as a means to explore the possibility of launching a year-long seminar series in 2019-2020 on the economics of education.

Marine Medicine: Multidisciplinary Research at the Nexus of the Environment and Human Health

Marine Medicine faculty members.

Marine medicine is focused on research that cuts across disciplines, including cross-species comparative analyses of cancer protective mechanisms, understanding the risk of disease from exposure to environmental toxins, and discovery of new drugs from marine compounds. This working group will convene monthly and invite guest speakers to provide critical feedback on papers and proposals. Members will also host an annual symposium with a keynote speaker and a networking event to establish collaborations between faculty across the School of Medicine and the Nicholas School of the Environment, and create a long-term strategy for sustained interactions.

Parasite-Host Evolution Network Optimization (PHENO) Working Group

Parasite-Host Evolution Network Optimization (PHENO) Working Group faculty members.

Better methods are needed to identify new pathogens or known animal pathogens with the potential to infect humans and cause disease. Given that pathogens transmit through chains of contact, network-based approaches that represent these epidemiological pathways offer great promise. Through regular meetings, this group of faculty and postdocs will investigate the application of network approaches to a wide range of disease systems and aim to develop new and fundable research projects.

  • Lead: James Moody, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Social Science Research Institute
  • Charles Nunn, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Craig Rawlings, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Gregory Gray, School of Medicine, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Chris Woods, School of Medicine, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Meira Epplein, School of Medicine
  • James Herrera, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Dana Pasquale, Duke Network Analysis Center

Social Studies of Science Working Group

Social Studies of Science Working Group faculty members.

The social study of science, often referred to as science and technology studies, is an interdisciplinary field whose scholars explore topics ranging from the ethical implications of data hacking and the politics of nuclear power to questions of personhood emerging from neuroscience. This group will bring together faculty who are interested in the rapid scale-up of research in the biomedical sciences, data and computational sciences, and environmental sciences as well as the increasing overlap of science and technology studies, medical humanities, and environmental humanities. Members aim to build a network of Duke and Triangle faculty and foster linked research endeavors.

  • Lead: Harris Solomon, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke Global Health Institute, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Nicole Barnes, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Nima Bassiri, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Paul Bendich, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke
  • Mark Olson, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke Initiative for Science & Society, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • Cate Reilly, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Gabriel Rosenberg, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
  • Priscilla Wald, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke Initiative for Science & Society
  • Ara Wilson, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke Initiative for Science & Society

For Rhodes Scholars, Duke’s Interdisciplinary Institutes and Initiatives Played Vital Role

Kadakia, Kantor, Wang.

On November 17, Duke University seniors Kushal Kadakia, Ariel Kantor, and Claire Wang were selected for prestigious 2019 Rhodes Scholarships. These three students and the 29 other recipients were chosen from among 880 applicants from colleges and universities across the United States.

Clearly, they are stellar young scholars and individuals. What else do they have in common? Throughout their undergraduate education, they have deeply engaged with the intellectual communities of Duke’s university-wide interdisciplinary institutes and initiatives.

Kushal Kadakia

Committed to pursuing research and policy to make healthcare more accessible, Kadakia is majoring in Public Policy and Biology, with a minor in Global Health administered by the Duke Global Health Institute.

Kadakia.A Truman Scholar and Faculty Scholar, he has served as chair of the Honor Council, vice president of Student Government, and a voting member of the Board of Trustees.

As a first-year student, Kadakia took part in the FOCUS Genetics and Genomics cluster and got involved with Duke’s Bass Connections program, in which faculty and students collaborate on interdisciplinary research into complex societal challenges. Kadakia’s first Bass Connections project team, Innovation & Technology Policy Lab, led to a follow-on grant. He won the Duke Libraries Holsti Prize for his related paper, “Rethinking R&D: Partnerships as Drivers for Global Health Innovation.”

As a member of the Bass Connections North Carolina Medicaid Reform Advisory Team, he provided recommendations to state legislators. “Collectively, Bass Connections has been the centerpiece of my Duke experience – providing a common thread to weave together my scientific training and my policy interests into an impact-oriented research experience that is now the foundation for my future career,” he said.

Taking this work further, Kadakia served as an intern on the policy team of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to work on Medicaid transformation, and he collaborated with Professor of Law Barak Richman and three other undergraduates to develop county-level case studies detailing the challenges in North Carolina healthcare. The group submitted its findings to the Department of Health and Human Services as the state seeks to improve rural access to healthcare and other Medicaid reform.

“I am still humbled, and a bit incredulous, at how much policy knowledge and intellectual authority Kushal exhibits – and how much respect he commands – before even completing his bachelor’s degree,” Richman said.

Kadakia was selected for the Huang Fellows Program at the Duke Initiative for Science & Society, in which students learn how to integrate ethics, policy, and social implications into their scientific research.

He served as a 2018 summer intern at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, working on projects studying the translation of international health innovations to the U.S. context. He has also been a research assistant for various Duke-Margolis projects, including Accountable Care Policy Gaps and Implications of Global Experiences with Accountable Care.

For his Public Policy honors thesis, Kadakia is exploring how an accountable care healthcare framework could repurpose international innovations to improve the U.S. healthcare system.

Rhodes Scholarships cover all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford. Kadakia will work toward the M.Phil. in Evidence-based Social Intervention and Policy as part of his preparation for a career in medicine and public service.

Ariel Kantor

Kantor created an interdisciplinary major through Program II around biotechnology, policy and bioengineering.

Kantor.He was a 2016 GCB Summer Scholar at the Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology (GCB). Mentored by Charles Gersbach, he pursued a research project to develop and characterize Cas9-fusion systems and examine their ability to control gene expression. He has continued working with Gersbach to develop new applications for CRISPR to facilitate epigenome editing.

Kantor has also worked with Susanne Haga, faculty member at GCB and the Duke Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine. His senior thesis examines developing technology-based therapies for orphan diseases. His work with Haga resulted in a publication analyzing the number and types of pharmacogenetic tests offered by clinical testing laboratories in the U.S.

Concerned about human rights and violence prevention, Kantor worked with the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute on programming to facilitate dialogue around religion, violence, and human rights.

He will pursue a doctorate in Molecular Biology at Oxford in preparation for a career in gene engineering and translational medicine.

Claire Wang

The recipient of Truman and Udall scholarships, Wang is majoring in Environmental Science and Policy and minoring in Economics and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies.

Wang.Active in the university’s vibrant culture of engaged scholarship in energy and the environment, Wang is currently taking a course on the transformation of the U.S. electric power sector, taught by Brian Murray, Director of the Duke University Energy InitiativeKate Konschnik, Director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy SolutionsJim Rogers, former CEO and chair of Duke Energy, and Norman Bay, former chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“It would be an understatement to say that Claire is dedicated to environmental concerns,” said Timothy Johnson, associate professor at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and faculty network member of the Energy Initiative. She “is approaching issues at the intersection of energy and the environment out of a larger concern for social well-being.”

Wang played a leadership role in the Duke Climate Coalition, one of the energy-related student organizations that comprise the Energy Initiative’s Student Advisory Committee. She has also been involved with student campaigns such as Duke Seize the Grid and Duke Renewable Energy Action.

At Oxford, Wang will pursue master’s degrees in Environmental Change and Management as well as Global Governance and Diplomacy, toward a career in environmental advocacy.

Read related articles on the Duke Today and Duke Chronicle websites.

Image at top: Kadakia at an event for legislators in Raleigh organized by the Bass Connections NC Medicaid Reform Advisory Team, courtesy of Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy; Kantor as a GCB summer intern, courtesy of Duke Center for Genomics and Computational Biology; Wang, courtesy of Nicholas School of the Environment. Photos below courtesy of Duke Today.

November 21, 2018

WearDuke Initiative Aims to Improve Students’ Sleep Habits

The Enabling Precision Health and Medicine Bass Connections sub team working on the WearDuke Initiative. First row, left to right: Nathan Parikh and Christine Wang; Back row: Grant Kim, Lauren Willis and Sarah Bond.

By Alissa Kocer

Sleepless nights come with the territory in college. Pulling all-nighters becomes a point of pride to some students as they brew coffee at 3 A.M., pull out their secret stash of chocolate and gummy bears, and dig into their work to show that no matter how late it is, they’re committed to getting it done. Or maybe, with less work to do, they stay out all night socializing with friends, eating cheeseburgers and fries at a 24-hour restaurant, and discussing the latest news and gossip around campus. Either scenario can leave students showing up to class the next morning bleary-eyed and nodding off.

College students’ sleep habits have been well documented; a recent study reported that 70 percent of college students are not getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation has some real and serious consequences. While an occasional all-nighter probably won’t do irreparable harm, if college students start establishing poor sleep habits, they could set themselves up for adverse health consequences during college and down the road, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and declining mental health.

To help students establish healthier sleeping habits, Geoff Ginsburg and Susanne Haga from the Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine have partnered with the Office of the Provost, the School of Medicine, Duke Health System and private donors as part of a Together Duke research collaboratory to establish the Duke University Precision Health and Wellness Initiative, also known as “WearDuke.” The goal of this initiative is to use digital health wearable devices to promote health awareness and engagement among Duke undergraduates.

The wearable device market has exploded in recent years. Millions of people are tracking their steps, heart rate, sleep and more to make informed decisions about their health. WearDuke wants to use that technology and the excitement surrounding it to get incoming freshmen interested in learning about the importance of sleep on their physical and mental health and academic achievement.

Freshman participating in WearDuke will measure and track their activity and sleep patterns through wearables. They will be asked to complete short surveys each week and more detailed surveys at the beginning and end of each semester to gather information about factors known to impact sleep as well as their health and academic performance. Students will be able to establish sleep goals and access tips for getting an appropriate amount of sleep. They will also have the opportunity to learn about the risks associated with unhealthy behavior and discover ways to mitigate those risks.

The first year of this initiative is the planning phase. Currently, a team of five undergraduate students, supported by the Enabling Precision Health and Medicine Bass Connections project team is developing the infrastructure needed to launch WearDuke. They have also begun to gather student feedback about the initiative by speaking to members of the WearDuke Student Advisory Council and by holding focus groups with undergraduates.

“So far, students are excited about the possibility of freshmen receiving wearables,” team leader Sarah Bond said. “Several students have said they wish this initiative had been going on when they were freshmen.” The Bass Connections team is also working to develop a companion app, website, and recruitment and incentive strategies.

Once the planning phase is complete, WearDuke will conduct two pilot studies with small groups of freshmen before launching the initiative to the entire freshman class in the fall of 2021.

While the current project only focuses on sleep, this initiative has the capability of expanding to other health-related behaviors that can be easily monitored through wearables, like diet and activity, which the team hopes to incorporate in coming years.

Even though all-nighters will probably still happen during mid-terms and finals weeks, with greater awareness of their sleep habits over time, hopefully students can achieve a routine of good sleep quality and quantity and understand the benefits of doing so now and in the future.

Originally posted on the Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine website. Photo by Alissa Kocer: The Enabling Precision Health and Medicine Bass Connections subteam working on the WearDuke initiative. First row, left to right: Nathan Parikh and Christine Wang; Back row: Grant Kim, Lauren Willis, and Sarah Bond

Genomics Research Sparks Undergraduate’s Creativity as She Charts Her Own Pathway

Sarina Madhavan, Shreya Bhatia, Anu Sharma, Chris Zhou, Elise Cai, Emily Bullis, Susanne Haga

As 3,000 first-year students begin preparing for their Duke career, recent graduate Sarina Madhavan has some advice for them: “Challenge what you think your passions are by seeking new experiences; be open to changes in your direction. And seek mentorship early on from those who will push, support, and inspire you.”

Madhavan graduated from Duke in the spring after completing an individualized major she titled “Medicine in the Genomic Era,” so she could investigate the social, policy, and economic barriers to precision medicine in U.S. healthcare. “I wanted to explore the science and statistics behind precision medicine, the market forces driving tailored therapeutics, and the bioethical discourse surrounding clinical genomics,” Madhavan said.

Sarina MadhavanDuring her time at Duke, Madhavan got involved in several research opportunities across the bench and bedside. In Charlie Gersbach’s lab, she worked toward the development of a CRISPR-based gene therapy for Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. She also branched into health communications through her involvement with Peter Ubel’s team and worked to shed light on the ways that physicians engage in shared decision making with prostate cancer patients in real clinical encounters.

She culminated her undergraduate research career by co-leading the Enabling Precision Health and Medicine 2017-2018 Bass Connections team. Under the leadership of Drs. Susanne Haga and Lori Orlando, Madhavan and team sought to expand and improve the usability of the MeTree program, a patient-facing web-based risk assessment tool driven by family health history. The tool is being integrated into clinical practices to provide clinical decision support to patients and their primary care providers about risk levels and recommendations for risk management for 45 conditions.

“I love research because it sparks my continuous creativity,” Madhavan said, “while also teaching me the tools to achieve my core aspiration of using science and evidence to heal people.”

Madhavan is preparing for medical school at Harvard this fall and plans to specialize in oncology. She hopes to become a teaching physician-scientist at a large academic medical center. “I hope to improve the cost, quality, and accessibility of national genomic screening efforts to facilitate preventative care across the country,” she said.

By Alissa Kocer; originally posted on the Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology website. Photo at top: Madhavan and some of her fellow team members on the Bass Connections project with Dr. Haga at right.

Meet the 2018 Summer Scholars in Genome Sciences and Medicine

GCB Summer Scholars 2018

The Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology (GCB) and the Duke Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine (CAGPM) partnered with North Carolina Central University to launch the Summer Scholars Program in Genome Sciences and Medicine, supported an R25 grant by the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH. This annual 10-week program is designed for full-time first- and second-year underrepresented minority students at any college or university.

Program Description

Students interested in careers in genome sciences and medicine will need a strong foundation of core genome sciences, technology, and interdisciplinary training. The Summer Scholars Program in Genome Sciences and Medicine provides opportunities for students to learn fundamental laboratory skills in genome science through mentored research, enhance critical thinking and reading skills, conduct literature reviews, and prepare presentations of their research findings.

Students learn first-hand what it is like to conduct biomedical research. The experiences they gain, such as how to design a research project, how to carry out necessary experiments to achieve project goals and test hypotheses, what appropriate lab etiquette entails, and how to effectively present work to peers, will be applicable to any biomedical research setting.

These research experiences are complemented by interactive learning activities including meeting with researchers at Duke, North Carolina Central, and companies in Research Triangle Park to learn about career options in genome sciences and medicine. Students also attend weekly discussions on ethical, legal, social, and policy issues related to genome sciences.

2018 Summer Scholars

Brianna Bowman

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mentor: Jenny Tung
Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology

ClementsLayne Clements

North Carolina Central University
Mentor: Doug Marchuk
Majors: Biology and Pre-Med

CrawleyGeorge Crawley, IV

Duke University
Mentor: Ornit Chiba-Falek
Majors: Biology, Chemistry, African American Studies

Kayla HammondKayla Hammond

North Carolina Central University
Mentor: Tim Reddy
Major: Biology

Naeema Hopkins-KotbNaeema Hopkins-Kotb

Duke Unversity
Mentor: Beth Sullivan
Majors: Biology, Global Health, Chemistry

David MangumDavid Mangum

University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Mentor: Paul Magwene
Major: Computer Science

Savoya JoynerSavoya Joyner

North Carolina Central University
Mentor: David MacAlpine
Majors: Chemistry and Biology

Christina Magana-RamirezChristina Magana-Ramirez

California State University at Monterey Bay
Mentor: Raluca Gordân
Majors: Mathematics and Computer Science

Eliud Rives-HernandezEliud Rives-Hernandez

University of Puerto Rico
Mentor: Raphael Valdivia
Majors: Microbiology and Computer Science

Excerpted from the GCB website