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Staff Spotlight: Carlene Moore, PhD

Sunday, June 25, 2017
By Latasha Jeter

This week’s faculty spotlight shines its light on Senior Research Associate Carlene Moore, PhD. In this interview she discusses her love for research and some of the research projects she has worked on. She also discusses her hobbies and passions outside of the research lab including hiking and spending time with her family.

How long have you been at Duke? How long have you been with the Neurology Department?
I have been at Duke for four years. I began working here in 2009. I was here for three years, took a break, and then I came back last year.

What are your responsibilities within the Neurology Department? What does your average work day look like?
I am a research scientist. That includes doing bench work, conducting scientific experiments, keeping up with the current scientific literature and writing. In the past year, I have authored two book chapters and a review. I have always liked the research side of neurology. I like to be able to answer pertinent questions. If I have a question about how something works, I am able to chase after it and figure things out. I also like the flexibility of research.

When did your interests in neurology begin? What have been some of the research projects you have conducted or participated in in the past?
I started out in neurobiology, which is what I received my PhD in. I am very interested in how the nervous system works. The brain is one of the most unconquered frontiers in science. The brain has so many complexities that’s not quite figured out, so naturally neurobiology piqued my curiosity. For my PhD I focused on how the neurons interact, and the connections it has with the rest of the body.  For one of my earliest research projects, I worked on studying the development of the nervous system and the factors that are involved in the downstream pathways.

When I arrived at Duke for my postdoc, I studied pain and pain pathways.  I looked at how nerve cells communicate with other cells in the body to produce pain.  I have been involved in a research project that focused on sensing pain signals and transducing it to the nerve. I looked at the effects of sunburns from UVB light and how TRPV4 ion channels in skin cells are involved in transducing pain. I found that when you remove these TRPV4 channels, or pharmacologically block them, the pain from sunburn is much less than if you have it.

What passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Department?
I am a very outdoorsy person. I enjoy exercising and hiking with my husband.  I also enjoy spending time with my family. I have two boys, who keep me busy with all their activities whether it’s baseball, basketball or Cub Scouts. I am passionate about working with youth. I teach a Bible class for 8-12 year olds at my church and that also keeps me pretty busy.