GCB News

Diao Receives $3 Million Grant from 4D Nucleome Consortium

Yarui Diao, Ph.D. received a U01 grant, totaling $3 million in research funding for 5 years, from 4D Nucleome Consortium (phase 2) through the NIH Common fund. Diao aims to determine the function and regulation of high-order chromatin structure on gene regulation and skeletal muscle regeneration in response to ischemia induced limb damage and recovery.

Primate Evolution's Tangled Tree | Fundamental Concepts with Jenny Tung

Duke Associate Professor and MacArthur fellowship recipient Jenny Tung discusses tree metaphors, human evolution, and what might have happened when our ancestors ran into other extinct archaic hominins. This video is part of Duke University's Fundamental Concepts series. Each episode features a Duke faculty member explaining an entire concept from beginning to end in roughly 10 minutes.

Diao and Lowe awarded Genomic Innovator Awards

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, selected Yarui Diao and Craig Lowe, two Genomic and Computational Biology (GCB) faculty, to receive 2020 Genomic Innovator Awards. NHGRI honored a total of 12 early career investigators in genomics. Each awardee will receive five years of funding.

Research Roundup: August 2020

Here are summaries of a selection of the papers published by GCB faculty in August 2020:


Charlie Gersbach was part of a team that investigated enhancer RNA (eRNA) to gain a better understanding of their role in neuronal gene regulation. Read more

Andrew Allen, Columbia University collaboration seeks answers on genetic causes of stillbirths

GCB member Andrew Allen, Ph.D., professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, collaborated with researchers at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons to uncovered an array of new genes that cause stillbirth. This significantly increases the understanding of the condition’s genetic foundations. The findings suggest that genetic analysis could be used to counsel parents who have previously experienced stillbirth and to unlock new human biology.

AI May Offer a Better Way to ID Drug-Resistant Superbugs

Biomedical engineers at Duke University have shown that different strains of the same bacterial pathogen can be distinguished by a machine learning analysis of their growth dynamics alone, which can then also accurately predict other traits such as resistance to antibiotics. The demonstration could point to methods for identifying diseases and predicting their behaviors that are faster, simpler, less expensive and more accurate than current standard techniques.

The results appear online on August 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Roundup: July 2020

Here are summaries of a selection of the papers published by GCB faculty in July 2020:


As the world battles COVID-19, people have been asked to practice social distancing. Terrie Moffitt, Avshalom Caspi and team examined whether one type of social distancing behavior—reduced movement outside the home—was associated with conventional health behaviors. Read more 

NHGRI-Funded Project Creates Encyclopedia Detailing Inner Workings of Human and Mouse Genomes

The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Project is a worldwide effort to understand how the human genome functions. With the completion of its latest phase, the ENCODE Project has added millions of candidate DNA “switches” from the human and mouse genomes that appear to regulate when and where genes are turned on, and a new registry that assigns a portion of these DNA switches to useful biological categories. The project also offers new visualization tools to assist in the use of ENCODE's large datasets.