KURe Mentors


Soman Abraham, PhD (Basic/Translational Research) Grace Kerby Distinguished Professor of Pathology, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, Immunology.

The Abraham laboratory has a long-standing interest in the pathogenesis of E.coli induced urinary tract infections (UTIs) as well as in the innate and adaptive immune responses that these infections evoke. Based on the knowledge gained, they are developing novel and effective approaches to prevent and treat recurrent UTIs. Scholars@Duke Bio

Barbara Alexander, MD (Clinical Trials) Professor of Medicine and Pathology, Infectious Diseases
Dr. Alexander conducts clinical research in the area of infectious complications of solid organ and bone marrow transplants, particularly with regard to the treatment and rapid diagnosis of fungal disease. As PI of NAIAD-funded T32 training grant, she is committed to the advancement of the next generation of researchers focused on innovative methods of scientific research and the clinical care of the transplant/Immunocompromised host. Scholars@Duke Bio
Cindy L. Amundsen, MD (Clinical Trials, Clinical Mentor) Roy T. Parker Distinguished Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Surgery, Professor in Surgery, Division of Urology.

Dr. Amundsen is the Program Director for the KURe and Director of the Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery (URPS) fellowship from 2001-2022. She is a urogynecologist and recognized expert in treating lower urinary tract and pelvic floor disorders. Her main clinical research is devoted to understanding the etiology and treatment of urgency urinary incontinence in both the neurogenic and non-neurogenic population as well as voiding dysfunction and nocturia. Along with Dr. Kevin Weinfurt (Psychiatry), she is a Duke Co-PI for the Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction (LUTD) Research Network, funded through NIDDK. This network aims to produce high quality patient-reported measures of LUTD and to use these new measures in exploratory studies to advance our understanding of LUTD and its treatment. Scholars@Duke Bio

Deverick Anderson, MD, MPH Professor of Medicine, Duke Center for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention, Duke University Medical Center.

Dr. Anderson’s research interests are in prevention of harm related to infectious diseases among hospitalized patients, to prevent the spread of multidrug-resistant pathogens, and antimicrobial stewardship. He has helped lead the CDC-funded Duke-UNC Prevention Epicenters Program through several important studies, including studies related to novel interventions, risk-adjustment, and antimicrobial stewardship. His expertise is in randomized controlled trials evaluating various aspects of healthcare epidemiology such as the universal glove and gown use and acquisition of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the ICU and multicenter trials to evaluate strategies to prevent hospital infections and strategies to improve antibiotic use. He is an enthusiastic mentor of junior faculty and postdoctoral associates. His abundant knowledge aligns with KURe scholars interested in the society effects of hospital- acquired UTIs. Scholars@Duke Bio

Daniel Benjamin, MD, PhD, MPH (Clinical Trials, Epidemiology; Program Lead for Clinical Trials) Kiser-Arena Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, Principal Investigator and Chair of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Pediatric Trials Network.

Dr. Benjamin is an expert in clinical trial design, execution, and regulatory considerations and provides mentorship in the use of epidemiology to inform clinical trials and public policy. He has led multi-center studies for pediatric labeling including 3 multi-center PK trials of antifungal agents in premature infants. He is the PI of multiple federal-sponsored grants and contracts. He served as the PI for the Pediatric Trials Network, a $95 million initiative to describe the PK and Safety of off-label drugs in children. He has collaborated with the FDA on a series of projects related to the Pediatric Exclusivity Program, through which he learned the specific intricacies related to pediatric drug trials regulations and ethical considerations. He is recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a premiere mentor and educator. His research program serves as a platform to train students and early career investigators. Scholars@Duke Bio

Jen-Tsan Ashley Chi, MD, PhD (Basic/Translational Research, -omics) Associate Professor in the Dept. of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology.

Dr. Chi's research interests are to use functional genomic approach to understand the nutrient addiction and stress adaptive pathways of human cancer cells. Dr. Chi’s lab uses functional genomic approaches to investigate the nutrient signaling and stress adaptations of cancer cells when exposed to various nutrient deprivations and microenvironmental stress conditions. Scholars@Duke Bio

Lawrence David, PhD Assistant Professor, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology.

Dr. David is an interdisciplinary scientist, with expertise in genomic and computational biology. As a young investigator, he was awarded several young investigator awards and was listed in Science News’ "10 Scientists to Watch" for extensive microbiome research (commensal microbes and human microbiota) related to LUTS and urinary tract infections. He has worked for over a decade at the interface of nutrition and genomics, and his lab has spearheaded a collaborative effort to develop genomic dietary assessment techniques. He is known for his productivity and innovative approaches to understanding, predicting, and manipulating how human microbiota behave over time. Dr. David has worked for over a decade at the interface of nutrition and genomics, and his lab has spearheaded this collaborative effort to develop genomic dietary assessment techniques. Scholars@Duke Bio

Ken Gall, PhD Professor in the Dept., of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Associate Director of the Pratt School of Engineering, MEDx Initiative.

Dr. Gall’s expertise is in mechanical engineering design and materials science. His research has a particular emphasis on the creation, modification, understanding, and commercialization of synthetic biomaterials. He is/was a founder and director of multiple start-ups in the medical device space. He has developed expertise in navigating the difficult road of getting a medical device to market. This knowledge is valuable to our K12 scholars who are interested in investigating novel neuromodulating devices to improve voiding dysfunction as well as exploring other 3D polymers for the surgical treatment of urinary incontinence. Scholars@Duke Bio

Warren Grill, PhD Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Neurobiology, Electrical and Computer Engineering (Basic/Translational Research).

Dr. Grill has research interests in neural engineering and neural prostheses which includes design and testing of electrodes and stimulation techniques, the electrical properties of tissues and cells, and computational neuroscience with applications in restoration of bladder function, treatment of movement disorders with deep brain stimulation, and multi-joint limb movement. Scholars@Duke Bio
Monty Hughes, PhD Assistant Professor in Surgery, Surgery – Urology.

Dr. Hughes conducts high-level scientific studies of the underlying biochemistry/cell biology/physiology of the urinary system. He is a trained biologist with 65 publications in cell biology, biochemistry, physiology and immunology. He also serves as the director of the Urinary Dysfunction Laboratory, a collaborative research lab with Dr. Todd Purves. The lab’s research program centers on inflammation in the bladder as an underlying cause of benign urologic diseases, particularly bladder outlet obstruction and diabetic bladder dysfunction. Dr. Hughes has extensive experience training mentees at all levels from post graduate to undergraduate. Scholars@Duke Bio

J. Eric Jelovsek, MD, MMEd, MSDS, Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Director, Data Science for Women’s Health

Dr. Jelovsek’s current research interests focus on statistical models in the field of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery. With the advancement of statistical learning techniques and training in Data Science, Dr. Jelovsek has devoted efforts to improving the accuracy of the informed consent process between patients and surgeons. He serves as Co-PI of the Duke site in the NIDDK LURN Network as much of the efforts in the network is working to “individualize” medicine to patients with benign lower urinary tract conditions. Dr. Jelovsek has extensive experience with mentoring and education, having been the Program Director for the OB/GYN Residency Program, Medical Director of the Multidisciplinary Simulation and Advanced Skills Center and Vice Chair of Education at Cleveland Clinic before coming to Duke. He mentors early career investigators who are interested in learning how to build, code and test prediction models. He has significant experience building structured curricula specifically in the area of statistical modeling that is directed at the practicing clinician and trainee and works in multidisciplinary research teams dealing with data science topics including: computer scientists, statisticians, data scientists, software engineers and biomedical engineering. In addition, he has significant clinical research experience as an investigator in the NICHD Pelvic Floor Disorders Network (PFDN). Scholars@Duke Bio

Michael E. Lipkin, MD, MBA (Clinical Research), Associate Professor of Surgery, Division of Urology, Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Lipkin's research focuses on minimally invasive management of urologic diseases and kidney stones. He has technical expertise in the current management of kidney stones, as well as expertise in the pathophysiology of kidney stone formation. Dr. Lipkin's background in business administration provides him with the knowledge and skills to manage crossfunctional teams and mentor trainees. Scholars@Duke Bio
Matt Maciejewski, PhD (HSR) Professor, Dept. of Population Health Sciences; Research Career Scientist and Director of the Health Economics and Policy Unit in the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care at the Durham VA Medical Center.

Dr. Maciejewski uses large administrative data to conduct research in 3 areas: 1) clinical and economic impacts of cost barriers to medication and health care use, 2) evaluation of programs and interventions for the management of obesity and chronic conditions, and 3) primary care decision-making by veterans and Medicare beneficiaries. He has several NIH and VA grants to support this work. He has been the primary mentor for doctoral students, Master’s students, and post-doctoral fellows. Scholars@Duke Bio

Susan K. Murphy, PhD (Translational Research) Associate Professor, OBGYN; Chief, Division of Reproductive Sciences.

The Murphy Lab is interested in the study of ovarian cancer etiology and biology, ovarian cancer stem cells and the establishment and maintenance of DNA methylation in humans. The lab focuses on how epigenetic deregulation is associated with altered neurodevelopment and disease and the use of epigenetic profiles to help with detecting risk of later adverse outcomes as well as for developing tests for early diagnosis and for guiding therapeutic decisions. Scholars@Duke Bio

Evan Myers, MD, MPH (Epidemiology, HSR) Walter L. Thomas Distinguished Professor of OBGYN, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chief of the Division of Clinical & Epidemiologic Research, OB/GYN.

Dr. Myers’ research focuses on application of quantitative methods, especially mathematical modeling and decision analysis, to problems in women's health. Recent and current activities include modeling work in ovarian and uterine cancers, pulmonary disease, and complications of pregnancy.  He also has extensive experience as a teacher and mentor for a wide range of learners, including junior faculty and has trained multiple prior trainees on NIH training grants.  He is currently Research Director for Duke's NICHD-funded Women's Reproductive Health Research Scholar training grant. Scholars@Duke Bio

Chris Newgard, PhD (Basic/Translational Research/-omics) W. David and Sarah W. Stedman Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology, and Medicine, Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Director, Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center.

Dr. Newgard has devoted his professional career to metabolic research. After coming to Duke in 2002 to lead the Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center he developed a comprehensive metabolic profiling (“metabolomics”) platform to support the work of his own laboratory, and numerous collaborating laboratories at Duke and at outside institutions. He and his colleagues formed the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute in 2013, which focuses on use of multi-omics technologies for development of new disease detection and intervention strategies. Scholars@Duke Bio

Andrew Peterson, MD, MPH (Clinical Mentor, RCT) Professor of Surgery.

Dr. Peterson research interests include improving the care of cancer survivors and the prevention of genitourinary side effects from various medical, surgical and radiation therapies for cancer. His clinical interests include reconstructive urology and bladder dysfunction in men and women; urinary incontinence in men; reconstruction for urethral stricture and trauma; new bladder construction and urinary diversion. He serves as the Vice Chief of Medical Operations, the Urology Residency Program Director and directs the Reconstructive Urology and Genitourinary Cancer Survivorship Fellowship. Scholars@Duke Bio

Kathryn Pollak, PhD (Clinical Trials, HSR) Professor, Dept. of Population Health Sciences, Professor in the Dept. of Family Medicine and Community Health.

Dr. Pollak is a social psychologist who designs and tests behavioral interventions to promote smoking cessation, reduce health disparities, and improve clinician-patient communication. She also is one of the heads of the Palliative Care Research Cooperative that supports multi-site palliative care trials. Finally, Dr. Pollak serves as a Communication Coach where she teaches clinicians effective communication techniques. She has mentored several post- doctoral fellows and medicine fellows. Scholars@Duke Bio

Glenn Preminger, MD (Clinical Mentor), James F. Glenn, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Urology, Professor of Surgery, Division Chief of Urology in the Department of Surgery.

Dr. Preminger is a world leader in the field of endourology and kidney stones. He has a life-long commitment to education and is the former Director of Education for the AUA and former Program Director for the Urology residency. His research focuses on metabolic aspects of stone disease and collaborates with Dr. Pei Zhong on modifications to improve the efficacy of shock wave lithotripsy. Scholars@Duke Bio

J Todd Purves MD, PhD (Translational Research/Clinical Mentor) Associate Professor of Surgery.

Dr. Purves is a pediatric urologist in the Division of Urology at Duke where he spends half of his time as a clinician and the other half running an NIH funded laboratory. His lab focuses on projects that have direct relevance to the disorders that are regularly encountered by practicing urologists and urogynecologists in the clinic. The lab is particularly interested in common underlying pathways that may be affected in multiple diseases as well as translational approaches that may quickly enhance treatment protocols. The innate immune system within the bladder is invariably involved in benign conditions, regardless of the type and etiology of lower urinary tract symptoms in each particular patient. He serves as mentor on multiple NIH-funded training grants. Scholars@Duke Bio

Jonathan Routh, MD Paul H. Sherman, M.D. Distinguished Associate Professor of Surgery, Urology Dr. Routh, KURe alumnus, is a pediatric urologist and health services researcher, and Chief at the Duke Center for Children’s Surgery. His clinical & research interests include minimally-invasive surgery, complex urologic reconstruction, surgical and non-surgical management of children with disorders of sex development, and pediatric urologic oncology. He is a dedicated mentor of students, residents, post-docs, and junior faculty, and also serves on the KURe Advisory Committee. Scholars@Duke Bio
Chuck Scales MD Associate Professor of Surgery, Associate Professor in Dept. of Population Health Sciences.

Dr. Scales has extensive clinical and health services research training and experience having completed training in clinical and health services research in the Duke Clinical Research Training Program and the UCLA Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. His research has been to use large administrative data to evaluate the quality of clinical research and statistical methods in the urological literature as well as urologic practice patterns, cost effectiveness of urologic treatment and the epidemiology of urologic disease. He is the Principal Investigator for the scientific data research center of the NIDDK Urinary Stone Disease Research Network (U01). His research is in clinical and health services research in benign urological disease, with a focus on stone disease. The NIDDK Urinary Stone Disease Research network plans to identify methods to increase adherence to fluid intake for secondary prevention of stones, test interventions to mitigate patient symptoms from ureteral stents, and establish a biorepository and data warehouse for future research. He has a successful track record for competing for support and publishing manuscripts through an NIH Medical Student Research Training Grant, the CaPSURE Scholars program, the NIDDK-sponsored Urologic Diseases in America Project, the NIH/NIA GEMSSTAR R03 program and has mentored pre- and post-doctoral trainees. His experience in grant submissions and knowledge in funding sources for urologic research will be valuable to KURe scholars. Scholars@Duke Bio

Kenneth Schmader, MD Professor of Medicine, Geriatrics Dr. Schmader directs the P30 Duke Pepper Older Americans Independence Center and is Co-PI of the NIAID-funded Vaccine and Therapeutics Effectiveness Unit at Duke. Hi is a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. His research focuses on translational, clinical, and observational studies of zoster, influenza, and other infections in older adults. Dr. Schmader also conducts research in medications and older adults, with an emphasis on pharmacoepidemiology, optimal drug use, and reduction of adverse drug reactions. Scholars@Duke Bio

Nazema Siddiqui, MD, MHSCR Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dr. Siddiqui, alumna of the KURe Program, studies the urinary microbiome in aging, recurrent urinary tract infections, and overactive bladder (OB) and the pathophysiology of OB with particular emphasis on translational biology. She is the Director of Research in the Division of Urogynecology and a member of the Duke IRB. She is also Principal Investigator for the Duke University Medical Center Pelvic Floor Disorders Network (PFDN) Clinical Site. She has mentored over 20 fellows, residents, and PhD candidates. In 2020, Dr. Siddiqui received the 2020 Jeffrey H. Silverstein Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in the Surgical and Related Medical Specialties. Scholars@Duke Bio

P. Brian Smith, MD, MHS, MPH  Samuel L. Katz Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics.

Dr. Smith has expertise in clinical trial design, HSR and epidemiology. His research program is focused on using clinical trials and databases to evaluate dosing, safety, and efficacy of therapeutics in children. He has published >180 articles. He has experience leading multi-center studies, including trials for pediatric drug labeling. He served as Chief of the Division of Quantitative Sciences in the Dept. of Pediatrics. He directly mentors medical students, residents, fellows, and junior faculty. He also served as the Assoc. Dir. of Duke Clinical Research Institute’s research fellowship. He has mentored/co- mentored faculty, pediatric subspecialty fellows, pediatric residents, medical students, and undergrads. Scholars@Duke Bio

Herman Staats, PhD Professor of Pathology, Associate Prof of Integrative Immunobiology; Associate Prof of Medicine

Dr. Staats is a member of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. His lab investigates methods of inducing and regulating antigen-specific immune responses at the mucosal surfaces of the host for the purpose of aiding the development of vaccines and treatments for infectious agents such as HIV and agents of bioterrorism, cancers and environmental allergies. Scholars@Duke Bio

Shyni Varghese, PhD Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Dr. Varghese has a joint appointment in the Duke departments of Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Orthopaedic Surgery. She is the first MEDx Investigator. A leader in the field of biomaterials and stem cells, Dr. Varghese’s work focuses on three major areas: musculoskeletal tissue repair, disease biophysics, and organ-on-a-chip technology. Her research group works at the interface of biomaterials and cells with a focus on understanding the role of physicochemical properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM) on tissue regeneration and disease progression. She has served as a PI or co-PI on multiple federal and state funded grants, and has an extensive history of mentoring postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. Scholars@Duke Bio

George Webster, MD (Clinical Mentor), Professor of Surgery, Division of Urology.

Dr. Webster is world-renowned in urodynamics, neurourology, prosthesis for urinary incontinence, reconstructive urology and voiding dysfunction. He received lifetime achievement awards from the AUA and the British Association of Urologic Surgeons. He has collaborated with the Urogynecology Division for the many years and has recruited participants for Pelvic Floor Disorders Network protocols and served as investigator in the Lower Urinary Tract Network (LURN), an NIDDK sponsored network. Dr. Webster has extensive experience mentoring fellows and residents. Scholars@Duke Bio

Kevin Weinfurt, PhD (Clinical Trials), James B. Duke Professor and Vice Chair for Research. Dept. of Population Health Sciences and Co-Director of the Center for Health Measurement. Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, and Faculty Associate, Trent Center for the Study of Medical Humanities and Bioethics

Dr. Weinfurt conducts research on measuring patient-reported outcomes, research ethics, and the psychology of medical decision making. Currently, Dr. Weinfurt is co-PI of the coordinating center for the NIH Health Systems Research Collaboratory, dedicated to improving understanding of how to conduct pragmatic clinical trials. Within the NIH Collaboratory, he has led or co-led work on bioethics, patient-reported outcomes, and dissemination of lessons learned. He served on the Board of Directors for the International Society of Quality of Life Research and a member of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s Clinical Trials Advisory Panel. Dr. Weinfurt is a member of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP), which provides expert advice and recommendations to the Secretary of HHS on issues pertaining to the protection of human subjects in research. As an educator, Dr. Weinfurt co-directs Duke’s masters-level Clinical Research Training Program and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in bioethics, health measurement, psychology, and research methods. Scholars@Duke Bio

Kent J. Weinhold, PhD (Basic/Translational research), Joseph W. and Dorothy W. Beard Prof. of Surgery (with tenure), Chief of the Division of Surgical Sciences, Prof. of Immunology, and Dir. of Duke Center for AIDS Research.

Dr. Weinhold has served as PI for the AIDS Vaccine Evaluation Group and HIV Vaccine Trials Network Central Immunology Laboratory charged with monitoring humoral and cellular immune responses elicited by candidate HIV-1 vaccines in Phase I/II trials. His research focuses on the comprehensive profiling of human immune reactivities associated with preventive and therapeutic vaccine strategies, as well as the search for cellular and soluble immunologic biomarkers to predict disease outcomes. He has published over 185 original articles, and has chaired numerous NIH Review Groups and Special Emphasis Panels. Scholars@Duke Bio

John Wiener, MD (Clinical Mentor), Professor of Surgery, Division of Urology and Chief of Pediatric Urology.

Dr. Wiener is a master clinician and senior pediatric urologist specializing in all areas of pediatric urology. He is very committed to education and serves as the Assoc. Program Director for the Urology residency. Dr. Wiener has served in national leadership positions in pediatric urology including President of the Society of Fetal Urology, Executive Council of Society for Pediatric Urology, and the Examination Committee of the American Board of Urology. His research interests include genetic causes of congenital defects of the kidneys and genitourinary tract and the urologic management of spina bifida. He is currently funded by the CDC as a Principal Investigator for the National Spina Bifida Patient Registry and UMPIRE (Urologic Management to Preserve Renal Function in Neonates and Young Children with Spina Bifida) protocol. Scholars@Duke Bio

Pei Zhong, PhD (Basic/Translational Research), Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.

Dr. Zhong has been researching therapeutic ultrasound for over 20 yrs. His research focuses on four broad and interconnected areas in the emerging field of therapeutic ultrasound, which is located at the interface of engineering, biology and clinical medicine: ultrasound-targeted gene delivery and activation, synergistic combination of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and immunotherapy for cancer treatment, innovations in shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) technology, and mechanics and bioeffects of acoustic cavitation. Dr. Zhong was a member of the AUA Task Force on SWL from 2007 to 2009. Scholars@Duke Bio