2024 Distinguished Professorships Awarded

This spring, three faculty members from Integrative Immunobiology were awarded distinguished professorships. These new honorees were celebrated at the annual distinguished professorship event on May 23.

In February, the Board of Trustees approved a total of 32 new distinguished professors across Duke University.

Distinguished professorships recognize faculty who have shown exceptional scholarship in advancing science and improving human health.

Per the Duke School of Medicine site, faculty members from IIB who were honored include:


Xunrong Luo

Xunrong Luo, MD, PhD

Boyce Haller Distinguished Professor in Nephrology 

Xunrong Luo, MD, PhD, is a professor of medicine and Director of Translational Research in the Duke Transplant Center. She is a clinical transplant nephrologist whose research focuses on mechanisms for establishing and maintaining immune tolerance in transplantation. She pioneered a non-chimeric approach to establishing tolerance that leverages the body’s natural process of clearing self-apoptotic cells without triggering an inflammatory response. She discovered the critical role of anti-inflammatory efferocytic receptors in mediating transplantation tolerance, and she has identified immune signals that disturb the balance of immune regulation by viral infections that can reactivate the immune system against the transplanted organ.

Kevin Saunders

Kevin Saunders, PhD

Norman L. Letvin M. D. Distinguished Professor in Surgery and the Duke Human Vaccine Institute

Kevin Saunders, PhD, is a professor in surgery who also has appointments in integrative immunobiology and molecular genetics and microbiology. His research focuses on vaccine and antibody development to combat HIV-1 infection and coronavirus infections. As the associate director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI) and director of the DHVI Laboratory of Protein Expression, he focuses on two main areas of research: vaccine design and antibody isolation and engineering. Together, his research program is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the molecular biology underlying antibody recognition of glycoproteins in order to produce protective vaccines. 

Georgia Tomaras

Georgia Tomaras, PhD 

A. Geller Distinguished Professor for Research in Immunology 

Georgia Tomaras, PhD, is a professor in surgery, chief of the Division of Surgical Sciences in the Department of Surgery, director of the Duke Center for AIDS Research, and co-director of the Duke Center for Human Systems Immunology. Her primary research focus is deciphering mechanisms of protective human immunity and identification of immune correlates of protection to further development of effective vaccines against infectious diseases. Her laboratory’s goals are to reveal the specificities and functions of protective immune responses that lead to prevention or resolution of disease, including findings that directly contribute to the design and implementation of clinical trials.