DPT Faculty and Student News

DIBS Announces 2020 Seed-grant Funding Recipients
Timothy Faw Research Team Receives $75,000 Grant

Programs fund innovative, interdisciplinary science

Five interdisciplinary teams have received 2020 Research Incubator or Germinator Awards from the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS). The awards are designed to promote high-risk/high-return neuroscience research that is collaborative, crosses disciplinary boundaries, and is likely to draw external funding. 


The research teams will address health issues affecting millions, including spinal-cord injuries, the relationship between tobacco use and chronic pain, how changes in the gut are communicated to the brain, the use of novel technologies to understand the neural mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease, and the effects of toxins on the developing brain. They represent multiple departments and schools, including the Duke School of Medicine, the Pratt School of Engineering, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, and the Nicholas School of the Environment. 


Three of the Incubator Award teams will receive $75,000; a fourth will be funded at $100,000 through the generosity of the DIBS External Advisory Board. Previous awards have brought in significant external grants after the initial seed funding, resulting in a seven-to-one return on investment over the past six years. The follow-on grants typically come from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and private foundations. The fifth is a Germinator Award of $25,000 that will support a study led by a graduate student with support of faculty mentors.  


“We are pleased to be able to make these awards and highlight the value of interdisciplinary research,” said DIBS Director Geraldine Dawson, PhD, in announcing the award recipients. Even during these financially challenging times, Dawson noted, “we remain strongly committed to supporting collaboration and innovation in the neurosciences at Duke. We were especially pleased to see the breadth of departments and schools that received funding.”


Dawson also expressed gratitude for the generosity of the External Advisory Board. “Our board members are very enthusiastic and generous supporters of the Incubator program, and we thank them for making a fourth Incubator Award possible for 2020-2021.” 


Congratulations to Dr. Faw and his team!

Incubator Recipients, $75,000 each



Timothy Faw, PhD

Orthopaedic Surgery

School of Medicine


Daniel T. Laskowitz, MD, MHS, Neurology; 

Muhammad Abd-El-Barr, MD, PhD, Neurosurgery; 

Haichen Wang, MD, Neurology, School of Medicine



A Novel Apolipoprotein E (apoE)-mimetic Pentapeptide to Improve Recovery in Acute Spinal Cord Injury


Novel therapies that improve mobility after spinal cord injury (SCI) could lead to better quality of life and save billions of dollars in lifetime costs. Targeting the early inflammatory response to SCI is appealing, as it is the main cause of tissue damage after the initial injury. Apolipoprotein E (apoE) plays a critical role in mediating this neuroinflammation after nervous system damage. However, systemic delivery of the intact protein is ineffective as a therapeutic because it fails to cross the blood-brain barrier. As such, we have developed small, apoE-based peptides that mimic the function of the intact protein, cross the blood-brain barrier, and have few side effects. Here, we will test the hypothesis that early treatment with an apoE-mimetic peptide, CN-105, reduces inflammation, tissue damage, and improves recovery in a clinically relevant animal model of SCI. This peptide, developed at Duke, has received Investigational New Drug and Orphan Drug designations from the Food and Drug Administration, which will facilitate translation to early clinical trials.



Congratulations to the Duke DPT faculty and students receiving honors at the APTA NC Virtual Conference held on October 24. 

APTA NC Student Scholarships and Awards – October 2020

APTA NC Awards
J. Kyle Covington, PT, DPT, Ph.D. – 2020 Founders’ Lectureship – “We are right where we are supposed to be”
Sabrina Burri – Outstanding PT Student Award

APTA North Carolina Scholarship and Loan Fund, Inc. Scholarships
Rachel Meyers – Ben F. Massey Jr. Student Scholarship
Dashaé Smallwood – Diversity Student Scholarship
Glenda Holcomb – General Student Scholarship
Monica Khechumian –  General Student Scholarship


Outstanding Non-Research Poster Winner
Margory Molloy, DNP, RN, CNE, CHSE
; Margaret Bowers, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, CHSE, A.A.C.C., FAANP, FAAN; Remi Hueckel, DNP, CPNP-AC, CHSE, FAANP & Amy Pastva, Ph.D., PT, CHSE  
"Where's the closest AED?": An interprofessional simulation to improve the "drop to shock" interval on campus

Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine Conference (PRiSM) accepted
Return to Play Decision Making after ACL Reconstruction–State of the Art in 2021
Jonathan Riboh MD, Mark Paterno PhD, DPT, Jack Magill PT, DPT, Chisty Zwolski PT, DPT, Dai Sugomoto PhD, ATC


Dr. Ashley Poole was recently invited to speak in a webinar sponsored by APTA-Acute Care entitled “From Bedside to Webside: Academic & Clinical Teaching of Acute Care Physical Therapy in the COVID Era.” |