Distinguished Professorships Awarded to 6 DCI Members
UPDATE JULY 19, 2021: We inadvertently left out two additional distinguished professorships awarded to DCI-member faculty. See below for an update to the list that now also includes Deborah Muoio, PhD, and Sue Jinks-Robertson, PhD.
Duke University has awarded distinguished professorships to 22 faculty members representing eight Duke colleges and schools, including six members of Duke Cancer Institute (see below). Appointment to a named chair recognizes excellence in research, teaching and contributions to the university community.
Christopher Counter, PhD
Christopher Counter, PhD — associate director of Basic (Science) Research at Duke Cancer Institute, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology, and an assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, has been named George Barth Geller Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology, effective July 1.
In his lab, the Counter Lab, researchers study the molecular mechanisms underlying the evolution of normal cells into cancer. The lab is divided into two major areas studying key features of human cancers, including immortalization (the ability of cancer cells to keep dividing, or become immortal — a fundamental aspect of tumorigenesis) and proliferation (the ability of tumor cells to proliferate inappropriately is a hallmark of cancer)
Dr. Counter is a Professor in the departments of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology and in Radiation Oncology as well as serving as the Associate Director of Basic Research in the Duke Cancer Institute and Adjunct Professor at Duke-NUS. His laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms underlying the evolution of normal cells into cancer. His research has shown that the ability of cancer cells to become immortal is a fundamental aspect of tumorigenesis. His laboratory exploited this feature to recreate and study the tumorigenic process, particularly with regards to early mutations initiating tumorigenesis.
Devon Noonan, PhD, MPH
Devon Noonan, PhD, MPH — a Duke Cancer Institute member and associate professor in the Duke School of Nursing — has been named Dorothy L. Powell Term Chair of Nursing, effective July 1. Noonan joined the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) faculty in 2013. She is a registered nurse and family nurse practitioner specializing in community health, occupational health, and pediatric/adolescent health.
Dr. Noonan is a nurse scientist, certified addictions nurse and an Associate Professor in the Duke School of Nursing. She received her BSN at Boston College, her MS in Nursing at Georgetown University, her MPH and PhD at the University of Virginia and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan. Dr. Noonan’s research is focused on using community-engaged approaches to develop innovative health behavior change interventions, including digital interventions, with the goal of reducing risk for chronic diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Noonan’s work has a strong focus on rural and medically underserved populations. Much of her work also focuses on tobacco cessation. She has been continuously funded by NCI (National Cancer Institute) for the past 5 years to examine text-based intervention approaches for tobacco cessation in rural and medically underserved populations. Dr. Noonan teaches and mentors students across all programs at DUSON and is the Co-Director of the Duke National Clinician Scholars Program.
Charles Gersbach, PhD
Charles Gersbach, PhD — a Duke Cancer Institute member, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and associate professor in the Departments of Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, and Cell Biology — has been named John W. Strohbehn Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, effective July 1. Gersbach is also an associate member of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society, core faculty in Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and an affiliate of the Duke Regeneration Next Initiative.
Dr. Charles A. Gersbach is the Director of the Duke Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering, and the Director of the Duke Center for Advanced Genomic Technologies. He received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and completed postdoctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute. His research interests are in genome and epigenome editing, gene therapy, regenerative medicine, biomolecular and cellular engineering, synthetic biology, and genomics. His work has led to new approaches to study genome structure and function, program cell biology, and treat genetic disease. Dr. Gersbach’s work has been recognized through awards including the National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Outstanding New Investigator Award from the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, the Allen Distinguished Investigator Award, and induction as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He is also the co-founder of three biotechnology companies and an advisor to several others.
Fang-Fang Yin, PhD
Fang-Fang Yin, PhD, a member of Duke Cancer Institute and professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, has been named the Gustavo S. Montana Professor of Radiation Oncology, effective July 1, 2021.
Yin also serves as the division chief for Radiation Physics in the Department of Radiation Oncology. He is also the director of the Medical Physics Resident Program in Radiation Oncology, one of the founding executive leaders of the Duke Medical Physics Graduate Program and the founding leader of the Medical Physics Graduate Program at Duke Kunshan University. READ MORE
Dr. Fang-Fang Yin is a professor and Division Chief for Radiation Physics in the Department of Radiation Oncology. An internationally recognized expert in advanced radiation treatment techniques, he has developed image-guided techniques and machine-learning methodology to enhance and secure delivery of intensity-modulated and image-guided radiation therapy, stereotactic body radiation therapy and radiosurgery for radiation treatment of cancers; he is considered a pioneer in developing techniques for radiosurgery of metastatic and primary spinal diseases. He is an active member in developing professional physics practice guidelines for clinical use of these treatment techniques. Over the last three decades, his basic medical physics and clinical translational research yielded over 330 publications and 5 US patents. He was one of the founding leaders for the Duke Medical Physics Graduate Program, the founder of Duke Kunshan University Medical Physics Graduate Program and the founder of Duke Therapy Physics Residency Program. He has trained over 60 graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, clinical medical physics residents and junior faculty, some of whom have become leaders in the field. He was elected as the Fellow of both the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and the American Society of Radiation Oncology.
Sue Jinks-Robertson, PhD
Sue Jinks-Robertson, PhD, a member of Duke Cancer Institute and a professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology has been named the James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.
Dr. Jinks-Robertson is a professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, director of the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Training Program at Duke, and a member of the Duke Cancer Institute.
From 2020-2021, she was the Mary Bernheim Distinguished Professor. Dr. Jinks-Robertson is recognized for her studies of factors that affect the stability of genetic material. She has demonstrated what regulates the rate of crossing-over between repeated genes, addressing how the eukaryotic genome remains relatively stable despite very efficient homologous recombination and repeated genes located on non-homologous chromosomes. She has identified crucial advances in our understanding of DNA mismatch repair.
Deborah Muoio, PhD
Deborah Muoio, PhD, a Duke Cancer Institute member and a professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology, has been named the George Barth Geller Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Disease.
Deb Muoio is Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology & Cancer Biology at Duke University, and Director of Basic Science Research at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute (DMPI). Projects in her laboratory focus on metabolic networks that control muscle and whole-body energy metabolism, with emphasis on mechanisms linking obesity, aging and physical inactivity to mitochondrial dysfunction, insulin resistance and cardiometabolic disease. During the past 15 years, her team has worked closely with the Metabolomics and Biomarkers Core Laboratory at the DMPI to develop and apply mass spectrometry-based molecular profiling tools for metabolic research. She also led efforts to launch new programs at the DMPI in proteomics and metabolic flux analysis. To complement these powerful molecular profiling tools, her laboratory has developed a sophisticated platform for comprehensive assessment of mitochondrial bioenergetics and energy transduction.Her team is integrating this new platform with mass spectrometry-based metabolomics, proteomics and metabolic flux analysis to gain insights into mechanisms by which mitochondria modulate insulin action and cardiometabolic health. Dr. Muoio’s laboratory has enjoyed longstanding support from the NIDDK and NHLBI.