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Joseph (Alex) Duncan

Joseph (Alex) Duncan

  • MD, PhD
  • Immunology

  • Assistant Professor
  • UNC-Chapel Hill
  • jaduncan@med.unc.edu
  • 919-843-0715
  • 111 Mason Farm Road, MBRB rm. 8341B Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Area of Interest

Our lab focuses on studies of the molecular mechanisms of inflammatory signaling by two members of a recently identified family of nucleotide binding proteins (NOD2 and NLRP3), which are normally involved in mediating inflammatory response to microbial pathogens. Mutations in the genes encoding these proteins are responsible several human inflammatory conditions including Crohns disease, Blau syndrome, and a number of periodic fever syndromes. Chronic inflammation is known to be involved in the pathogenesis of cancer development in the colon and lung. At the same time, immune surveillance is known to play a critical role in the bodies ability to detect and eliminate transformed cells that might otherwise blossom into cancer. Many chronic inflammatory conditions that lead to the development of cancer result from dysregulation of inflammatory signaling pathways that are normally responsible for controlling infectious processes.

Awards and Honors

  • 1996 Haberect Wildhare-Idea Program Research Grant: Rapid Isolation of Small Peptide Affinity Tags
  • 1997 Twenty-Ninth Annual Sigma Xi Graduate Student Research Forum Poster Award: S-Acylation of Heterotrimeric G Protein Alpha Subunits
  • 1997 Alfred Gilman Memorial Award for Excellence in Research
  • 1998 UT Southwestern Graduate School Deans Discretionary Award
  • 2000 Alpha Omega Alpha appointment
  • 2002 David A. Ontjes Award (Outstanding UNC Internal Medicine Intern, 2001-2002)
  • 2004 Pfizer Fellowship in Infectious Diseases
  • Biochemical Characterization of Monarch-1, a Regulator of Signaling within the Innate Immune System
  • 2006 K12 Scholar - UNC Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Career Developmental Program
  • 2007 Sexually Transmitted Infection and Topical Microbicide Cooperative Research Center Developmental Award
  • 2008 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists