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Duke Neurology 2016: Year in review (part 1 of 2)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, we thought we'd look back at some of the recent accomplishments of the Duke Neurology Department. This year, members of the Neurology Department provided care for approximately 40,000 clinic visits and contributed to more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. This article, the first in a two-part series, reviews just a few of the many accomplishments our faculty, staff, and housestaff made in the first half of this year. The second part in this series is now online--read it here.


  • Julian Yang, MD, was named Vice Chair of Clinical Operations for the Neurology Department. Read more about that appointment here.
  • Carol Colton, PhD, topped an end-of-year “honor’s list” of reader-suggested individuals in The Guardian (alongside Simpson’s writer Sam Simon and Pope Francis) for her continued research to improve our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease. Read that list here
  • Simon Davis, PhD, joined the Neurology Department, where he will continue to conduct research on how aging affects the functional and structural network architecture of the brain, and how both behavioral training and brain stimulation technologies can be used to support memory function in healthy aging and disease.


  • Joel Morgenlander, MD, received a Strength, Hope and Caring award for going above and beyond the call of duty in providing patient care to a patient coping with both complications of myasthenia gravis and a personal crisis. Read more about that award here.
  • Daniel Laskowitz, MD, MHS, received a $325,000 grant from the Department of Defense to evaluate a potential treatment for traumatic brain injury, a drug called CN-105, which mimics a naturally occurring protein called apoE that helps the brain recover from damage. Read about that award here.


  • Jodi Dodds, MD, received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Young Investigator Award, which included access to the largest stroke database in the country, funding to carry out her research, and guidance from a panel of national stroke experts.
  • Olinda Pineda, Jason Bethea, Sweta Sengupta, and other residents visited Lakewood Montessori school to talk about neurology and the brain. Read more about their work here.


  • The Neurology Department unveiled its new website, allowing patients, clinicians, and members of the Department to find information more quickly and more easily.
  • The Neurology Department released its first entry into the American Academy of Neurology’s film festival, “Lazarus by Lunasin, an ALS X-file,” focusing on Rick Bedlack's, MD, PhD ALSUntangled project. The short film is available to watch and share on YouTube. 
  • UNC-TV produced a six-minute story covering Nicole Calakos', MD, PhD research on how habits, once formed, make a lasting impression on the brain. Watch that news story here.  



  • Neurocritical Care Fellow Yasmin Ali, MD, taught Durham middle school students about strokes and how to prevent them as part of an event with the Building Opportunities and Overtures in Science and Technology (BOOST) program. Read more about her adventures and what the students learned here.
  • Edwin Oh, PhD, received a $2 million, five-year R01 to investigate a potential cause of treatment-resistant schizophrenia: dysfunction of primary cilia, an organelle present on all neurons and glia that acts as the cellular antenna to the extracellular environment. Read more about his work and research here. 
  • Mark Stacy, MD, spoke with CNN to talk about his memories of Muhammad Ali and what he learned from the former heavyweight champion of the world after Ali’s death. Read that story here.