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Duke Surgery Welcomes New Director of Gene Therapy

Thursday, April 26, 2018
Aravind Asokan, PhD

We are pleased to announce that Aravind Asokan, PhD, will join the Department of Surgery as the new Director of Gene Therapy in the Division of Surgical Sciences with a secondary appointment in Molecular Genetics & Microbiology. Dr. Asokan comes to Duke from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, where he served as Associate Professor in the Departments of Genetics and Biochemistry & Biophysics.

Dr. Asokan’s research focuses on engineering technologies for gene therapy, gene regulation, and gene editing. He has made significant contributions towards understanding and re-engineering the biology of adeno-associated viruses (AAVs). His lab has developed AAV vector platforms for gene transfer studies to treat musculoskeletal disorders, cardiac failure, and neuropathies. Additionally, his group is developing new tools to control RNA stability and translation for the control of gene expression. These innovative platforms have the potential to lead to novel and transformative therapeutics.

Dr. Asokan will lead department efforts to build next-generation molecular and viral tools that can be developed into gene-based medicines. This research aims to improve therapeutic strategies, including genetically modifying transplanted organs to enable graft acceptance, modifying stem cells, and treating central nervous system disorders.

Dr. Allan D. Kirk, Chair of the Department of Surgery says, “We are thrilled to have Dr. Asokan join our department. Dr. Asokan brings an exceptionally contemporary skill to Duke and the Department of Surgery. His work will allow novel approaches to the treatment of cancer, transplantation, immune diseases, and many other maladies, and in doing so, help us incorporate genetic therapies into routine surgical practice.”

We look forward to welcoming Dr. Asokan to Duke Surgery when his appointment begins August 1.