Laurel Kaye selected as one of 100 finalists for the Mars One Mission

Laurel Kaye, an undergraduate student working in Dr. Guilak’s laboratory, has been selected as one of 100 finalists for the Mars One Mission.  The Mars One group is now considering 50 men and 50 women for four spots on its anticipated Red Planet mission, where winners get a one-way ticket to Mars and are expected to start colonizing it. The space startup will film the entire selection process, training and the colonization for earthling viewers.  A list of candidates and their bios is published on the Mars One website.

The soon to be astronauts will go to Mars in 2025 to establish a settlement. If all goes well, Mars One will keep sending groups of four people every two years to grow the colony and sustain life. The trip to Mars would be anywhere between 34,8 milliom milles and 250 million miles, all depending on how distant apart the planets are. It would take the astronauts about 39 days (closest approach) to 289 days (farthest approach).

Laurel Kaye

The Chronicle features Dr. Farsh Guilak – ‘To infinity and beyond’

Dr. Farsh Guilak was recently published in the Duke The Chronicle in a story featured ‘To infinity and beyond’.  The story is about a Duke student studying abroad in London and two of her engineering professors asking if she knows Farsh? Later, the student is informed of being a Pratt Fellow in the orthopedic research lab and goes on to talk about the importance of undergraduate research and making valuable contribution to a body of work in science.

Read this students story and the global reputation of Dr. Farshid Guilak, a leading expert in regenerative medicine and head of one of the best orthopedic research labs in the country

Study published in the February 2015 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – Gene Mutation Drives Cartilage Tumor Formation

Article provided by Duke Medicine News & Communication

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke Medicine researchers have shown how gene mutations may cause common forms of cartilage tumors.

In a study published in the Feb. 16, 2015, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Duke researchers and their colleagues revealed that mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) gene contribute to the formation of benign tumors in cartilage that can be a precursor to malignancies.

These benign tumors, known as enchondromas, are associated with severe pain, fractures, and skeletal deformities. They also have the potential to evolve into a cancerous form known as chondrosarcomas. Over 40% of primary bone cancers are chondrosarcomas, according to the American Cancer Society.

“These findings are important for cancer treatments, as currently there are no drug therapies for enchondromas and there are no universally effective chemotherapies for chondrosarcomas,” said senior author Benjamin Alman, M.D., chair of the Orthopaedic Surgery Department at Duke University Medical Center.

All bones begin as cartilage tissue, and some of this tissue becomes growth-plate cartilage, which is responsible for bone growth. Over time, the growth-plate cells become replaced with bone. When development is complete, only the joint cartilage at the tips of the bone typically remains.

“About five percent of people have some kind of cartilage tumor in their bones, and in most cases it’s because the growth-plate cartilage cells weren’t fully replaced by bone tissue,” Alman said. “Our study sought to understand what happens to make those growth-plate cartilage cells remain, and this work will ultimately be used to determine what causes those benign tumors to become malignant.”

The researchers identified a broad range of mutations in the IDH gene in cartilage tumors. They used mice and cartilage cells in a dish to study one mutant form of IDH that is identified only in cartilage cells. They found that mutations in the IDH gene alter the way cartilage cells function during bone formation, leaving some cells behind. This is apparently what leads to enchondromas.

Previous work on cartilage tumors has been done using models based on genetic mutations that occurred only rarely in enchondromas; however, IDH mutations are present in a high percentage of enchondromas.

The researchers hope these findings will aid in developing new treatments by using animal models that more closely represent the types of mutations apparent in the vast majority of patients with enchrondromas.

For instance, the study provides evidence that drugs designed to block the function of IDH might be useful in treating benign cartilage tumors to possibly prevent their transformation to malignancy.

“By understanding what causes malignant transformation we can determine what can be done for patients with benign tumors to suppress them before they reach the malignant stage,” Alman said.

In addition to Alman, study authors at Duke include Vijitha Puviindran and Puviindran Nadesan, along with Makoto Hirata, Qingxia Wei, Shingo Sato, Yuning J. Tang, Jason Rockel, Heather Whetstone, Raymond Poon, and Angela Weng of the Hospital for Sick Children; Masato Sasaki, Rob A. Cairns, Satoshi Inoue, Wanda Y. Li, Bryan E. Snow, Tak W. Mak, and Lisa D. Jones of The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research; Stefan Gross, Kimberly Straley, and Camelia Gliiser of Agios Pharmaceuticals; and Jay Wunder of Mount Sinai Hospital.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and  Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health provided support for part of this study (R01AR066765).











Enchondroma-like cartilage lesions from IDH-mutant
mouse models develop from aberrant cartilage cell function

Dr. Selene Parekh featured on WTVD – Ankle Replacement Surgery Helps Local Patients

selene-g_parekh-md-mba_1Dr. Parekh was featured on local news station WTVD ABC 11, February 12th, for his work in ankle replacement surgery. The story highlighted a patient who struggled with the inability to walk on ground unless it was level. Even a small stone would turn her ankle causing swelling. With the ankle implant the patients ankle was back in proper alignment with two metal components and a piece of plastic.

View the entire story and video on WTVD’s ABC 11 website.

Welcome Dr. Sergio Mendoza to the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

sergio mendoza

Welcome Dr. Sergio Mendoza to Duke Medicine and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Prior to joining Duke in January, Dr. Mendoza was an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Originally from Chile, he went to school in 5 different countries including Germany, Ecuador, United States (South Carolina), Mexico and Chile. His wife, Sandra, grew up in Argentina and is from an Italian family. Dr. Mendoza speaks multiple languages including Spanish and German, and Sandra also speaks Spanish. He and his wife have 3 teenage daughters, Sofia (18), Consuelo (16) and Connie (14) – yes, 3 teenage girls.

Dr. Mendoza attended the Pontificial Catholic University in Santiago, Chile (medical school, graduate school (MBA) and residency). He completed his fellowship in spinal deformity from Stuart Weinstein in Iowa City, IA. When asked ‘what interest you in practicing medicine in orthopaedics’ Dr. Mendoza says ‘to improve the quality of life for our patients with highly complex and technologically-rich procedures. Spine surgery presents the beautiful opportunity of a vast array of differential diagnoses, complex cases, and inter-disciplinary care’.

Dr. Mendoza’s interest in Duke was the reputation of a great academic program, in the setting of an honor-roll hospital and surrounded by multiple world-class departments. Of course, coming from Iowa, the weather is much better than the Midwest! Additionally, his goal in coming to Duke is to strive to contribute to the national and international reputation of the orthopaedic program. Dr. Mendoza would also like to be involved as much as possible in the educational program for residents. I asked what advice he would give to an orthopaedic resident or fellow – ‘…always be humble and keep your eyes open to learning from every patient. Empower your patients by educating them about their orthopaedic conditions’.

When Dr. Mendoza is not working, he enjoys running (at least 2 marathons a year), hiking and travel with his family. Last summer he and his family spent some time in the Galapagos Islands.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Mendoza to Duke!

Below are 2 pictures of one of Dr. Mendoza’s cases:

pre-op APpost-op AP

Warning: Account Security – SPAM Emails

Duke IT has noticed an increase in faculty and staff receiving spam or ‘phishing’ email messages from various parts of the world. Phishing is an attempt to acquire sensitive information (e.g. usernames, passwords, credit card information, etc) by misleading as a trustworthy entity. If you feel you have received such an email, please do the following so that Security can actually determine the source of the message:

  1. Compose a new email message to with a subject line of “Phishing Email”
  2. Drag a copy of the suspect message from their Inbox to the new email message – this adds it as an attachment
  3. Send

WRAL’s coverage of the Duke Sports Science Institute

Benjamin Alman Claude MoormanAfter 30 years in the Finch-Yeagar Building, Duke’s Sports Medicine has now moved to the new DSSI – Duke Sports Science Institute.  Drs. Ben Alman and T. Moorman were featured on WRAL showcasing the new facility and talking about the advantages of one site for the K-Lab, research and patients ability to see multiple clinicians.  See the WRAL story at

Additionally, the new DSSI facility was featured on the Duke Medicine Blog at