Scientific Advancement

Dr. Rebecca Buckley

Dr. Rebecca Buckley was born in 1933 in Hamlet, North Carolina. She graduated with an A.B. from Duke University in 1954 and an MD from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 1958, and she then continued her training and became a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Buckley studied pediatric allergy with Dr. Susan Dees in the Division of Pediatric Allergy at Duke, and was the chief of the division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology from 1974 to 2003.

Dr. Buckley studies and maintains a remarkable success rate with a surgical technique for babies with severe combined immunodeficiency, or "bubble boy disease," which enables significant numbers of SCID babies to develop normal immune systems through the removal of T-cells from donor bone marrow. Dr. Buckley was named the J. Buren Sidbury Professor of Pediatrics in 1979, a position she continues to hold currently; she was the first female at Duke Medical School to be given a distinguished professorship. Dr. Buckley has written extensively, served on numerous committees, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine, and has been given many awards, including the William G. Anlyan Lifetime Achievement Award from the Duke Medical Alumni Association, in 2006.

Dr. Priya Kishnani

Dr. Priya Kishnani was born in Bombay, India. She received her MD in Bombay in 1990. She came to the United States in 1991 and became a resident at Duke University Medical Center. At Duke, Dr. Kishnani became involved in designing the first clinical trials for a new treatment of Pompe disease, a rare disease affecting the heart and the muscles. The treatment, using a drug called Myozyme, was ultimately successful, and it achieved FDA approval for treatment of the disease in 2006. Dr. Kishnani has dedicated her career to advancing the treatment of Pompe disease globally. She has become an expert in designing clinical trials for treatments of rare diseases, and is often sought as a consultant for this expertise. She is published widely.

Dr. Catherine Wilfert

Catherine Wilfert was born July 26, 1936, in Inglewood, California. She graduated from Stanford College in 1958 with distinction and attended Harvard Medical School where she graduated cum laude. Dr. Wilfert's internship was at Boston Children's Hospital, and her residency was at North Carolina Baptist Hospital. In 1964, Dr. Wilfert returned to Boston where she continued to work in pediatrics and medicine. In 1969, she came to Duke University School of Medicine, where she achieved the rank of division chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in the Department of Pediatrics (1976-1994) and professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. In 1996, she left Duke to become the scientific director of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Dr. Wilfert's work since the onset of AIDS has primarily been focused on the eradication of pediatric AIDS, and she is considered a seminal investigator in the field. Her clinical trial group demonstrated the efficacy of using doses of AZT to reduce the incidence of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Due to the application of this knowledge, pediatric AIDS in the United States has been reduced by 75 percent. Dr. Wilfert now works to reduce mother-to-infant transmission of AIDS in developing countries around the world. She is also currently the chair of the Perinatal Working Group for the Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), sponsored by NIH.

Dr. Wilfert has been on the editorial board of numerous publications and has served as a consultant for private companies as well as US and state governments. In 1999, she became only the second woman President in the history of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. She is the recipient of many awards including the Award of Recognition for Outstanding Contributions to Advancing the Prevention of Perinatal Transmission at A Global Strategies Conference for the Prevention of HIV Transmission from Mothers to Infants in 1997. She also received a Lifetime Achievement Award in HIV from the Third International Meeting on HIV in India in 2001, and was given the Distinguished Award of Honor for Love of Humanity Especially in the Third World from the Cameroon Baptist Convention on Occasion of Its 50th Anniversary Celebration, in 2004. She was inducted to the Institute of Medicine in 1999.

Dr. Michelle Winn

Dr. Michelle Winn was born in 1966. She received a BS in biology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1988; and an MD from the Brody School of Medicine in Greenville, North Carolina, in 1992. Her residency was at Duke Medical School, and she became an associate professor of medicine in 2010. Dr. Winn’s research has focused on the kidney disease known as focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), and she has been well recognized for this work, including as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, in 2007. She has received other awards, including the Duke University Blue Ribbon Diversity Award, in 2004 and the American Society of Nephrology’s Young Investigator Award, in 2007, and has published widely.