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Joseph Nevins Named Director of IGSP Center for Genome Technology at Duke

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. – Joseph Nevins, Ph.D., a Howard Hughes Medical
Institute investigator and James B. Duke professor of genetics
at Duke has been named director of the Center for Genome
Technology, a center of the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and
Policy
(IGSP).

Nevins investigates the genes that control normal cell
growth and the genetic disruptions that lead to cancerous tumor
development. His work incorporates DNA microarray, or gene
chip, technology to simultaneously measure the activity of
thousands of genes, thereby creating "genetic fingerprints"
that can predict the future course of breast, ovarian, and
brain cancers. He has been the interim director of the Center
for Genome Technology (CGT) since its inception in 1999, and
his latest appointment is effective immediately.

CGT develops and applies novel approaches to the analysis of
the genome -- an organism's complete set of genetic
instructions. Part of the center's mission is to provide
support for investigators in applying these technologies for
their research.

"Joe is a terrific geneticist with a deep appreciation of
how to utilize genome technology to enhance a broad portfolio
of both basic and clinical research," said Huntington Willard,
Ph.D., director of the IGSP. "He also has a superb sense of
academic duty and institutional loyalty. Through our wide
international search, it became very clear that he was ideal
for the job. I'm thrilled that he agreed to take on this
important task."

Nevins received his Ph.D. in microbiology at Duke, where he
studied viral gene regulation. He completed his postdoctoral
studies as a Jane Coffin Childs fellow at the Rockefeller
University, where he focused on the mechanisms by which DNA is
transcribed into messenger RNA. He returned to Duke in 1987 as
professor of microbiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Investigator.

Nevins became chair of the newly created Duke department of
genetics in 1991 and continued as chair when the department was
merged with the department of microbiology, creating the
department of molecular genetics and microbiology. He will
remain as chair of the department until next summer, when a new
chair is identified. A search committee for the position is
currently being formed and the search process is under way.

Nevins feels that the time is right to step down as chair,
and he is excited about his work with CGT. "I simply felt it
would be impossible to head the department and also play an
important role in developing campus-wide programs in genome
technology if I was to do either of them right. My research and
CGT go hand in hand. I find it a great opportunity to take
discoveries in breast cancer genomics research and apply them
in clinical settings. Now, all of the pieces are in place to
further develop and apply the technology to problems of very
significant clinical and biological importance, within the
context of the IGSP."

In his new role, Nevins will oversee the incorporation of
genome technologies into research endeavors that span the
university -- both at the medical center and on the main
campus. "There are terrific opportunities to build
collaborations between the center and programs in schools all
around Duke, from the medical school to biology, chemistry and
engineering," he said.

The IGSP represents Duke's comprehensive response to the
broad challenges of the Genomic Revolution. Because advances in
genome science and its applications raise a broad spectrum of
ethical, legal and policy issues, the IGSP comprises -- in
addition to scientists, engineers and physicians -- scholars in
law, business, economics, public policy, ethics, religion,
environmental studies and other humanities and social
sciences.

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