Duke Neurology 2021: A year in review (part 2 of 2)

The second half of 2021 was as eventful as the first for the Duke Neurology Department. Story highlights from July through December of this year include our Leonard White, PhD, winning a national award for excellence in teaching, the founding of a joint Duke/UNC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, two of our hospitals receiving the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s highest award for quality stroke care, and the School of Medicine receiving  awards totaling $18 million to uncover the origins of Parkinson’s disease. Read these summaries and find links to the full original articles below.

(This article is the second of a two-part series. Read the first entry here.)


  • $2.5 million bequest advances Alzheimer’s disease research, offers families hope
    Jeanne Caldwell didn’t have Alzheimer’s disease, yet she knew firsthand the devastation it can cause. For 11 years she cared for her mother who had the disease. After her mother’s death in 2015, Caldwell was determined to do what she could to make sure other families did not have to endure the hardships of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.She was moved to make a planned gift to support Alzheimer’s disease research at Duke. Read about her gift and how it made a difference here.
  • Duke Neurology Research Round Up, July 2021
    New publications written by members of the Duke Neurology Department published in June 2021 advanced our understanding of the origins of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and spinal injuries, as well as offering new insights on how to better diagnose and treat these and other conditions. Our faculty contributed to recent articles in Lancet Neurology, Stroke, and other high-impact journals. Read about these stories here.


  • White receives AAMC’s Distinguished Teaching Award
    This August, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) awarded Leonard White, PhD, the 2021 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award. These national awards, given to only four individuals a year, recognize outstanding contributions to medical education made by gifted teachers. Read more.
  • Duke hospitals receive AHA’s top award for comprehensive stroke care
    Duke University Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospitals received the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke 2021 Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. This award, the highest that the AHA offers, recognizes commitment to providing the best possible care for stroke. Both Duke University Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital have received this award from the AHA for the past three years. Read about these awards here.


  • Duke/UNC awarded grant to establish joint Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
    Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been awarded funds from the National Institutes of Health to establish a prestigious Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC), part of a federally-funded network of 33 centers nationwide. Read more about the joint ADRC here.
  • Duke Neurology D&I Committee members share their voices on inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism
    Last July the Duke Neurology Department's Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee began a project to amplify the voices of its community through writing. This body is composed of faculty, staff, administration, residents, advanced practice providers, and post-doctoral fellows. Committee members were asked to write briefly about a prompt or personal story related to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Read these stories on the American Academy of Neurology’s Voices: Lived Experiences blog.


  • Resident Spotlight: Tanziyah Muqeem, MD, PhD
    Tanziyah Muqeem, MD, PhD, has had a lifelong passion for the brain and neuroscience that has grown over time. She studied communication between neurons as an undergraduate, and then further focused her studies in that area for her doctorate in neuroscience. Now, she’s a second-year resident in the Duke Neurology Department, where she’s practicing her neurology exam in her clinical work and refining her scientific skills in the lab of Kafui Dzirasa, MD, PhD. In her “Resident Spotlight” interview, Muqeem talks about this growing passion, her plans for the future, and her loves of reading, writing, and podcasts when she’s not at Duke. Read it here.
  • Duke-led teams awarded $18 million to study Parkinson's disease
    Researchers at Duke University School of Medicine have been selected to lead two inter-institution team grants totaling $18 million to investigate Parkinson’s disease. The awards from the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative position Duke as a national leader in understanding the origins and development of this devastating movement disorder. Read about these awards here.


  • Duke and UC scientists find a potential remedy for chronic pain from a "junkyard of cancer drugs"
    Several disorders cause chronic pain, including nerve injuries and bone cancer, but existing remedies can trigger uncomfortable side effects, or worse, addiction. So researchers from Duke University, including the Neurology Department's Yong Chen, PhD, and Wolfgang Liedtke, MD, PhD, and the University of California at Irvine teamed up to tackle this problem by searching for compounds that tackle pain in a new way—by targeting genetic switches that cause it. Read more.
  • Resident Spotlight: Deborah Rose, MD
    Even as Alzheimer’s disease and dementias grow as a national health crisis, there remains a shortage of clinicians willing to treat people with these conditions as well as to perform the necessary clinical research to improve how we treat dementias and mitigate their effects. Fortunately, our second-year resident and a recent recipient of a  R38 CARiNG-StARR award, Deborah Rose, MD, will be taking on both of these roles during her training. As a resident, Rose is studying the role stress plays  in the development of Alzheimer's disease--and how stress may contribute to racial disparities in the condition-- while she receives her clinical neurology training. Read her “Resident Spotlight” interview here.


  • Plasma exchange therapy for Guillain-Barré helps woman make a drastic recovery
    Over the course of a few days in late September 2021, Carol Cerase experienced increasing weakness in her legs, trouble swallowing, and several falls. Doctors at her local hospital couldn’t find the cause, so they reached out to Duke Health’s neurology experts, who diagnosed Cerase with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Duke’s team recommended plasma exchange therapy to stop the disease’s progression and allow the nerves to heal. “I was lucky I got the treatment so fast,” said Cerase. “I think it saved me.” Read more.
  • Duke Neurology Research Round Up, December 2021
    Members of the Duke Neurology Department contributed to 14 new peer-reviewed journal articles written this November. Highlights include an analysis of fragmentation within the delivery of neurological health care, an examination of racial disparities in the use of telehealth, and a discussion of the best ways to use social medicine to share news on epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology. Read short summaries of each of these 14 articles, as well as links to the original entries themselves here.