Duke Digest – February 18, 2016

In today’s issue:

  • Vice-President Joe Biden Tours Duke Labs, Talks Cancer ‘Moonshot’
  • DC Event: Panel to Tackle Healthcare Innovation
  • Duke Engineering Professor on the History and Politics of U.S. Infrastructure
  • Research Reveals How Fruit Flies Get Their Sense of Smell, Taste
  • Government Officials Visit Campus, Record Podcasts

 

VICE-PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN TOURS DUKE LABS, TALKS CANCER ‘MOONSHOT’
Invoking the aspirational spirit that put U.S. astronauts on the moon, Vice President Joe Biden visited Duke Health last week as part of the national “moonshot” initiative he is leading to advance cancer research.

With the Duke Cancer Institute and the Duke University School of Medicine as a backdrop, the vice president cited the unique history of the Research Triangle area, where major universities, biotechnology companies, and federal research agencies have long combined forces. He said the area’s teamwork demonstrates the sort of collaborative effort that the cancer cure moonshot aims to foster nationwide.

As part of his visit to Duke on Wednesday, Vice President Biden met with Paul Modrich, Ph.D., who shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with UNC’s Dr. Aziz Sancar. Both scientists have been pioneers in the study of DNA repair, which has been crucial to understanding how cell repair mechanisms can go awry and lead to cancer. Biden cited their “groundbreaking work” as the kind of science that should be further fostered.

Vice President Visits to Discuss Cancer ‘Moonshot’ (today.duke.edu)
WATCH: VP Biden visits Duke, speaks about “Cancer Moonshot” initiative (newsoberver.com)

 

DC EVENT: PANEL TO TACKLE HEALTHCARE INNOVATION
An upcoming panel discussion featuring Duke faculty and staff will highlight advances in medicine and technology that continue to revolutionize the healthcare landscape. The panel will be moderated by Greg Daniel, the Director of the Duke-Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy. The panelists represent perspectives from across the healthcare sector, including business, policy, research, and technology. Discussion themes will highlight ways that innovation is changing the delivery and management of care, the major technological advancements to expect in the future, and the related policy challenges and considerations that accompany these changes.

Immediately following the program, attendees are encouraged to continue the discussion at the networking reception where drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served.

A full list of panelists and registration information can be found here. The event is hosted by DukeDC.

DUKE ENGINEERING PROFFESOR ON THE HISTORY AND POLITICS OF U.S. INFRASTRUCTURE
Henry Petroski, the Aleksander S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering at Duke University, recently published “The Road Taken,” a book in which he takes an in-depth look at the history and current state of infrastructure in the United States, specifically that of roads and bridges. In an interview with the Pratt School of Engineering, Petroski talks about researching the policy and politics of infrastructure funding.

Henry Petroski: Insights on America’s Road Taken (pratt.duke.edu)

 

RESEARCH REVEALS HOW FRUIT FLIES GET THEIR SENSE OF SMELL, TASTE
In a recently published study, Duke-led research sheds light on how fruit flies develop their keen sense of smell and taste. Duke University biologist Pelin Volkan and colleagues have identified a set of genetic control switches that interact early in a fly’s development to generate dozens of types of olfactory neurons, specialized nerve cells for smell. The findings could be a key to understanding how the nervous systems of other animals – including humans, whose brains have billions of neurons – produce such a dazzling array of cell types from a modest number of genes.

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (1457690).

Same Switches Program Taste and Smell in Fruit Flies (today.duke.edu)

FED. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS VISIT CAMPUS, RECORD PODCASTS
The road between D.C. and Duke’s campus has been well-traveled by federal officials in recent weeks. Gene Dodaro, the Comptroller General of the United States, sat down for a conversation with Kelly Brownell, the dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy. In a separate visit, Duke alum Macon Phillips (T ’04), whose run Social Media at the White House and the State Department, discussed ‘digitizing politics’ and visited students through the Center for Politics, Leadership, Innovation and Service (PoLIS).

Cyber Security, Water: Cause for Concern to Nation’s Top Fiscal Watchdog (Sanford.duke.edu)
Digitizing Politics: Talking with a Social Media for the White House and State Department [Podcast] (Sanford.duke.edu)