2016 Accomplishments

Since RNI’s formal launch in January 2016, we have successfully recruited faculty, invested in current faculty and trainees through Postdoctoral Fellowships, Mouse Vouchers, and travel grants, sponsored speakers, and hosted or sponsored community-building events to increase awareness on- and off-campus. In addition, RNI faculty members have made groundbreaking research findings and garnered recognition for their work. We compiled a sample of accomplishments by RNI-affilated faculty in the calendar year 2016.

Ben Alman published a paper in Journal of Clinical Investigation (doi: 10.1172/JCI80205) describing molecular signaling pathways that control joint degeneration.

Michel Bagnat was named an HHMI Faculty Scholar for his work on control of tissue growth, received a Rainin Foundation breakthrough award, and has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

Ryan Baugh was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in November. His lab published a paper in PLOS genetics on  Maternal diet and its relation to progeny size and starvation resistance.  (doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1006396).

Nenad Bursac (Biomedical Engineering) published two papers in Nature Communications (doi: 10.1038/ncomms13132) and Biomaterials (doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.09.024 ) describing the tissue-engineered muscle and genetic control of muscle function.  Bursac and Poss are Members on a large international network grant from Fondation Leducq funded to elicit heart regeneration through cardiac muscle cell division; this grant is managed by Duke. He was also awarded a seven-year, $8.6 million NIH grant in collaboration with UAB and UW-Madison:  Muscle-macrophage constructs for skeletal muscle repair to develop and test heart patches in live animals.

Virginia Byers Krauss published a paper in Osteoarthritis Cartilage (doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2015.09.003) and two conference abstracts in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage ( doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2016.01.059 and  doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2013.02.237) that all showed regenerative capacity of knee cartilage but not hip cartilage.

Blanche Capel was elected President of the Society for Developmental Biology.

Anna Mae Diehl received the Hans Popper Award for Liver Research Excellence from University of Vienna, Vienna Austria, September 2016, and the Goldberg Visiting Professorship, Harvard University, Boston, Mass, November 2016. Diehl published a paper in Hepatalogy on Hedgehog regulation of yes-associated protein 1 in regenerating liver (doi:10.1002/hep.28542)

Stefano Di Talia was hired in 2014 through a faculty search in Cell Biology. He published a paper this year in Developmental Cell describing proteins that regulate cell-to-cell communication responsible for development of fruitflies (doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2016.07.023).  Since coming to Duke, Di Talia has initiated quantitative approaches to regeneration and collaborated with Ken Poss on two additional high-profile papers in 2016 in the journals Current Biology and Developmental Cell. DiTalia’s graduate student, Victoria Deneke, received an HHMI International Student Research Fellowship.

Cagla Eroglu reported in Cell mechanisms to stabilize synapses in an area of the brain responsible for sensory processing, a finding with implications for disorders such as autism (doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.034).

Don Fox was selected as one of ten finalists for the Emerging Leader Prize from the American Society of Cell Biology, obtained a 5-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health and a 4-year Research Scholar grant from the American Cancer Society. He published papers describing abnormalities in the chromosomal reduplication during fruitfly mitosis, reported in eLife (doi: 10.7554/eLife.15204.005); and a mechanism for proliferation of polyploidy cells, reported in Developmental Cell (doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.05.004).

Charles Gersbach described in a Cell Stem Cell paper gene editing methods to reprogram connective tissue cells into neuronal cells, a finding with implications for diseases such as Parkinson’s (doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2016.07.001), and a publicized paper in Science on gene editing to improve muscle function in wasting diseases (doi: 10.1126/science.aad5143). Gersbach co-organized the 2016 FASEB Science Research Conference on Genome Engineering, where three of his lab members presented their work and Tyler Klann was awarded best trainee presentation.

Matthew Hilton published two highlighted papers on NOTCH signaling and fracture repair in Journal of Clinical Investigation (doi:10.1172/JCI80672)  and the Journal of Cell Science (. A graduate student in the Hilton Lab, Deepika Sharma, was awarded a 2016 American Society of Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) Young Investigator Award for work demonstrating that the transcription factor, HES1, is a novel regulator of digit number during limb development.

Amanda MacLeod published a paper on skin wound healing in Journal for Investigative Dermatology and two review articles in Advanced Wound Care (doi: 10.1089/wound.2014.0608) and Journal of Investigative Dermatology (doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2016.08.013). MacLeod’s postdoctoral Fellow, Jutamas Suwanpradid won a Poster Prize at the Duke Innate Immunity Symposium, 3rd Yr Med Student Jeff Kwock received a Duke Stead Scholarship, and 2nd/3rd year Medical Student Lauren Pontius was elected into AOA.

David McClay was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society for Developmental Biology, for his contributions to understanding embryonic development and for his renowned mentorship record.

Amy McNulty was named a Pepper Scholar and Pilot Awardee as part of the P30 Duke Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, was mentor to a trainee who received a New Investigator Research Award at the Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting, and was an invited speaker for the opening session of the International Cartilage Repair Society Meeting

Jennifer Moss published three papers on pancreatic islet cell development in zebrafish, in the journals Environmental Pollution (dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2016.10.057), Toxics (dx.doi.org/10.3390/toxics4030020), and Proc Royal Society PtB (DOI)

Ken Poss published three key papers in 2016 that received international press: a Science paper describing mechanisms of spinal cord regeneration in zebrafish (doi: 10.1126/science.aaf2679); a Developmental Cell paper (with Di Talia) describing transgenic zebrafish modified to allow live visualization of skin regeneration (doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2016.02.017); and a Nature paper describing how programs for tissue regeneration are activated (doi: 10.1038/nature17644).

Xiling Shen published three papers in Cell Stem Cell (doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2016.01.006), Nature Communications (doi:10.1038/ncomms11800) and eLife (doi: 10.7554/eLife.14620) on the role of microRNAs in mammalian intestinal stem cell decisions.

Dave Sherwood was appointed one of the two new co-directors for the Embryology Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. His lab published a paper in eLife describing a mechanism for how stem cells can repopulate tissues by using existing extracellular matrix structures (doi: 10.7554/eLife.17218). He was awarded a five year NIH MIRA (Maximizing Investigator Research Award) R35 “Understanding How Cells Invade Basement Membrane In vivo.”

Debby Silver published a breakthrough paper in PLOS Genetics that examines how mutation of three genes cause microcephaly in mammals, a finding covered in national media (doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1006282). Two key papers in the journals Neuron (doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.12.007 ) and Current Biology (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2016.10.040) describe the role of neural progenitor cells in influencing cell fate in the developing brain.

Goerge Truskey published a paper in Scientific Reports (doi: 10.1038/srep21579) describing a human vascular microphysiological system that replicated arterial vasoactivity and a transient response to injury. A second paper published in Biomaterials (doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.01.066) showed that blood-derived endothelial cells could be transdifferentiated to smooth muscle cells, enabling construction of engineered blood vessels from a single donor.

If you would like to add your accomplishments to this page, please contact Sharlini Sankaran.