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Discovering new therapies for old maladies

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SQUARE-FEET OF NEW HEALTH FACILITIES

In medical research, intuition and keen perception are skills honed over years of experience. So it’s no wonder that Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, founder and director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank since 1998, knew she had to follow an encouraging trend she and her team discovered. Cord blood transplants to treat children with metabolic disorders showed significant improvements in cognitive development. Expanding her scope, Kurtzberg partnered with Geraldine Dawson, director of the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development. Their collaboration produced similar advances in patients’ brain function.

Kurtzberg (left) and Dawson (right)

Thanks to more than $40 million in support from the Marcus Foundation during Duke Forward, Kurtzberg and Dawson’s research grew into a five-year project using cord blood to treat autism, stroke, cerebral palsy and other brain disorders. If they are successful in developing therapies to restore brain function to people with these currently incurable disorders, they could potentially decrease disabilities and improve the quality of life for millions of children and adults.

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FOR PATIENT CARE, RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

Left: Michelle Nowlin and Bass Connections students presenting their work at a poster session. Below: Bass Connections students conducting research out in the field.

Uncovering new paths to sustainability As Michelle Nowlin puts it, agriculture has to be part of the conversation around climate change. Nowlin, a clinical professor at Duke Law School and supervising attorney at its Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, leads a Bass Connections project team that is amplifying the discussion around agriculture’s effects on global health and the environment. Her students examined animal husbandry in countries like China, Brazil and the Netherlands, and did field research on North Carolina farms. By studying policy abroad and practice at home, they hope to enact U.S. policy change that results in more sustainable

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BASS CONNECTIONS PROJECTS

animal waste management and healthier meat production processes. The Bass Connections Initiative, which raised $91.4 million during Duke Forward, has created opportunities for students like Nowlin’s to partner with new communities for positive global change. “These students are morally courageous. They were not just looking at PowerPoint slides or images on Google Earth,” says Nowlin. “Confronting this out in the field — in its totality — allowed us to have a shared experience, identify solutions and create meaningful impact.”

CONNECTED THE CLASSROOM TO THE REAL WORLD

9/14/17 10:51 AM

Fall 2017 Issue v. 3  
Fall 2017 Issue v. 3  

Includes Duke Forward campaign insert