25 posts

Georgia Tomaras            

School of Medicine                 

My laboratory is focused on understanding immune variation among individuals to elucidate ways to maximize immune potential and resilience. Over the past two decades, we have built a cutting-edge research laboratory program comprised of expert teams specializing in biophysical immunology, antibody immuno-technology, systems immunology, mucosal immunology, preclinical translation, data management, quality assurance, biostatistics, computational immunology, and program management. We explore the mechanisms that effector cells engage in for clearing infection in vivo and her laboratory applies systems immunology approaches to discover how protective immunity is achieved. Our laboratory has discovered specific antibodies that correlate with protections status and is focused on bridging basic and translational science for improving human health.

Immune resilience 

Truls Ostbye          

School of Medicine                 

chronic disease epidemiology; obesity; health services research; population health; public health; social medicine; medical informatics; health information systems; health surveys; program evaluation; cost-of-illness; clinical trials; primary care reform; international collaboration; electronic distance education; pharmacoepidemiology; aging; nutrition; dementia; diabetes; and stroke.               

Community medicine and occupational risks of health in tropical countries that are most likely to be impacted by climate change driven heat stress. 

Megan Reller

School of Medicine                 

Improved diagnosis of zoonotic and arboviral acute febrile illness; epidemiology and environmental predictors of acute febrile illness; temporal and geospatial distribution and predictors of acute febrile illness; diagnostic testing; clinical trials for COVID-19 infection; respiratory viruses in resource-poor environments

extensive expertise in the design, conduct, and analysis of prospective epidemiologic, microbiologic, and clinical studies of zoonotic, arboviral, and respiratory acute febrile illness in Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Madagascar;  fluency in French and Spanish; relationship between rainfall and leptospirosis and arboviruses; epidemiology of acute febrile illness; improved detection of arboviral and zoonotic causes of acute febrile illness                                                     

Nrupen Bhavsar

School of Medicine

I am a quantitative epidemiologist with methodological expertise in the design and analysis of observational studies that leverage data from cohort studies, registries, and the electronic health record (EHR). My background, training, and research is in the measurement and characterization of biomarkers, risk factors and treatment outcomes for chronic disease using real-world datasets. My primary research interests are in the use of novel sources of data, including the EHR, to conduct chronic disease research at the intersection of informatics, biostatistics, and epidemiology. My ongoing work aims to integrate informatics, epidemiology, and biostatistics to reduce the burden of chronic disease. I have topical expertise in multiple chronic diseases, including oncology, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease. In parallel, I have a portfolio of research that aims to understand the impact of social determinants of health, including dynamic neighborhood changes, such as gentrification, on the health of adults and children.    

Cardiovascular, cancer, and kidney disease epidemiology; observational study design; electronic health record and claims data; informatics; social and environmental drivers of health, neighborhood change, gentrification 

Valerie Sabol

School of Nursing                   

My scholarship, teaching, and clinical focus includes translating and implementing evidence-based practices for older adults, often a vulnerable population, across care settings. In one of my courses, for example, I address sustainability concepts and how the environment/climate impacts obesity (i.e., nutrition, mobility, and overall health). Also, improving appropriate disposal of medical waste is an emerging interest (co-authored publication currently in review).

As a nurse/nurse practitioner, I am passionate about the impact of climate on individual/population health and sustainability efforts that support individual/population/planetary health. I have served on the Campus Sustainability Committee and the University Climate & Sustainability Strategic Task Force. Few healthcare faculty and licensed providers are proficient with this emerging science and the content is notably limited/absent from healthcare curricula and annual training, respectively. I seek to partner with experts to discover new knowledge and create databases that lend itself to teaching Duke students and healthcare providers.

Catherine Staton

School of Medicine

I research access to quality health care in low and middle income countries both at the patient level and the national level.

I conduct emergency medicine access to health research globally with is greatly impacted by climate/ climate change and climate related disasters.

AnnMarie Walton

School of Nursing

My research centers on understanding and minimizing occupational exposures to known carcinogens. Specifically, I am interested in pesticide protective behaviors for Latino migrant and seasonal farmworkers and in minimizing occupational exposure to antineoplastic drugs for healthcare workers. I have experience with some methods of assessing contamination and exposure including surface wipe sampling, hand wipe sampling, and recently the use of silicone wrist bands.

I am the Duke University School of Nursing’s liaison to the Nurses Climate Challenge and am trying to increase education for our students in population health (which I facilitate) about climate change: I also served on the University Climate Initiative in the Climate Resilience Workgroup. I put together a webinar with a student and the Duke Gardens staff about gardening as a climate change solution. I gave a lecture to the health system about climate change for Earth Day in 2021 and participate in the Moral Movements in Medicine to do some introductory climate change education. I do not consider myself an expert in this area, but someone interested in learning more and in ensuring that nurses understand the impact that healthcare facilities have on the environment. I also know that pesticides (which are part of my research) are in greater use because of the impact of climate change. I am a member of ANHE (Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments) and a member of a newly formed group of nurses interested in environmental health within the Oncology Nursing Society.

Amie Koch

School of Nursing

My research revolves around vulnerable populations. There are three main branches of my research (a) communication, palliative care, end of life decision making of pediatric and adults, (b)Diversity, Equity, Inclusion including cultural/racism impact on health and health education and LGBTQ health and wellness, and (c) focusing on health promotion, community health and community wellness.               

I was a co-author on an environmental health nursing textbook, my chapter was about neighborhoods and community health.  I am passionate about being active in slowing down climate change and global impact of how we are harming our globe.

Karin Reuter-Rice

School of Nursing

I am a tenured associate professor in the School of Nursing, School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and affiliate faculty in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. I am both a clinical expert in child health and scientist. My research focus is in the area of trauma and brain injury. With a collaborative research team approach and federal, foundation and industry funding, I examine the relationship between biological processes, physiologic responses and health outcomes in children who are at risk for or who have experienced a brain injury. In my work I uses technology approaches, such genetic and genomics to further advance the science in pediatric brain injury. My work also straddles the community with a lens on prevention and a focus on reducing disparities in children who experience a concussion. My published research findings have been presented internationally and have led to new practice recommendations for children at risk for neurologic injury while hospitalized in the intensive care unit. I also serve as the chair of the North Carolina Governor’s Brain Injury Advisory Council’s Children and Youth Committee, where we develop health policies that support brain injury prevention and recovery.                

My expertise is in child heath, which is greatly impacted by climate events and ongoing climate challenges. There are many examples of adverse climate effects on child health from a macro and micro level. One example is epigenetic changes that have both life-long and generational consequences on health. Additionally, there are indirect effects of less obvious climate concerns that leave unintended downstream side effects in the health of children, families, and communities that would benefit by investigation and/or broader educational initiatives.

Allison Stafford

School of Nursing

My research is focused on promoting mental health equity among adolescents and young adults from underserved and immigrant backgrounds.

I have research expertise in qualitative methods, implementation science, and adolescent health. While I have limited experience in climate change research, I am interested in the impact of climate change on adolescent mental health (e.g., “ecoanxiety”) and how clinicians can promote hope among youth.

Mercedes Bravo

School of Medicine

My research focuses on identifying and characterizing relationships between social and environmental exposures and disparities in health and developmental outcomes. I am particularly interested in advancing health equity through better characterization of disparities in exposures and disparities in health outcomes. Examples of my work include examining associations between air pollution, temperature, and health outcomes.

Collaborative work examining temperature and health, as well as ambient air pollution and wildfire-related PM2.5 and health