Director: Joanne Kurtzberg, M.D.
Jerome S. Harris Professor of Pediatrics
Professor of Pathology
Director, Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program
Director, Carolinas Cord Blood Bank
Co-Director, Stem Cell Transplant Laboratory
Dr. Kurtzberg is an internationally renowned expert in pediatric hematology/oncology, pediatric blood and marrow transplantation, umbilical cord blood banking and transplantation, and novel applications of cord blood in the emerging fields of cellular therapies and regenerative medicine. Dr. Kurtzberg serves as the Director for the Marcus Center for Cellular Cures, Director of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, and Co-Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Laboratory at Duke University.
Dr. Kurtzberg’s research focuses on translational studies from bench to bedside with a focus on bringing cellular therapies in regenerative medicine to the clinic. Recent areas of investigation, which are funded by the Marcus Foundation, include the use of autologous cord blood in children with neonatal brain injury, cerebral palsy, and autism, as well as preclinical studies manufacturing microglial oligodendrocyte-like cells from cord blood to treat patients with acquired and genetic brain diseases. Studies of donor cord blood cells in adults with stroke and children with cerebral palsy and autism are also underway.
Dr. Kurtzberg’s lab has developed novel assays enumerating ALDH bright cells to predict cord blood potency from segments attached to cryopreserved cord blood units, and is performing translational research testing cord blood expansion, cellular targeted therapies and tissue repair and regeneration. Dr. Kurtzberg currently holds several INDs for investigational clinical trials.
Associate Director: Ravi V Bellamkonda, Ph.D.
Vinik Dean of Engineering
Pratt School of Engineering
Ravi Bellamkonda is the Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. Prior to becoming dean, Bellamkonda served as the Wallace H. Coulter Professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. He is committed to fostering transformative research and pedagogical innovation as well as programs that create an entrepreneurial mindset amongst faculty and students.
A trained bioengineer and neuroscientist, Bellamkonda holds an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. His graduate training at Brown University was in biomaterials and medical science (with Patrick Aebischer), and his post-doctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology focused on the molecular mechanisms of axon guidance and neural development (with Jerry Schneider and Sonal Jhaveri). His current research explores the interplay of biomaterials and the nervous system for neural interfaces, nerve repair and brain tumor therapy.
From 2014 to 2016, Bellamkonda served as president of the American Institute for Biological and Medical Engineering (AIMBE), the leading policy and advocacy organization for biomedical engineers with representation from industry, academia and government. Bellamkonda’s numerous awards include the Clemson Award for Applied Research from the Society for Biomaterials, EUREKA award from National Cancer Institute (National Institutes of Health), CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and Best Professor Award from the Georgia Tech Biomedical Engineering student body.
Associate Director: Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., FAPA FAPS
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Professor of Pediatrics
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Director, Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development
Director, Duke Autism Clinic
Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Geraldine Dawson is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Pediatrics, and Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke University. She is Past-President of the International Society for Autism Research and a member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. She is Director of the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development, an interdisciplinary autism research and treatment center, and Chair of the Faculty Governance Committee for the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. Dawson is Director of an NIH Autism Center of Excellence Award at Duke focused on understanding early detection, neural bases, and treatment of autism and ADHD. Dawson has published extensively on early detection, brain function, and treatment of autism. With Sally Rogers, she developed the Early Start Denver Model, a comprehensive early behavioral intervention for young children with autism. Her awards include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Psychological Science and the NIH Top 20 Advances in Autism Research Award in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. TIME magazine recognized her work as a top 10 medical breakthrough of 2012. She completed a Ph.D. in Developmental/Child Clinical Psychology from University of Washington and clinical internship at UCLA.