Joseph A. Duncan, MD, PhD, FIDSA

Program Director, Physician Scientist Training Program
Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology
Associate Program Director – Research, Internal Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Duncan was selected to lead the Department of Medicine’s new physician scientist training program in 2015. After completing his MD/PhD degrees at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Duncan came to UNC to pursue training in Medicine and Infectious Diseases through the ABIM Research Pathway. During his training he was awarded the Pfizer Fellowship in Infectious Diseases and the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award for Medical Scientists before joining UNC as a faculty member in Infectious Diseases. Dr. Duncan has a longstanding interest in physician scientist career development and has been a team leader and member of the admissions committee for the UNC Medical Scientist Training Program. In 2014, Dr. Duncan became the director of UNC’s Infectious Diseases Training Program, which includes ACGME accredited clinical subspecialty training in Infectious Diseases as well as scientific training and career development for physician scientists working in the field of Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Duncan completed his PhD in Pharmacology through the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. His doctoral research utilized biochemical and molecular approaches to study the regulated, reversible acylation of heterotrimeric G protein subunits during signal transduction. As a research fellow, Dr. Duncan focused on signal transduction pathways in innate immune signaling. His lab now focuses on multiple aspects of immune signaling in generating protective responses to infectious diseases as well as the exploitation of host immune signaling pathways by successful pathogens during infection.

Dr. Duncan is an active Infectious Diseases clinician working on inpatient Infectious Diseases consult services at UNC and in the Sexually Transmitted Infection Clinic at the Durham County Health Department. His experiences both as a former ABIM research pathway trainee and as a clinician, scientist, and director for an ACGME-accredited clinical training program place him in an ideal position to lead the UNC Physician Scientist Training Program.


Debra L. Bynum, MD, MMEL

Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program
Associate Professor of Medicine

Dr. Bynum is the Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the University of North Carolina. Originally from eastern North Carolina, she was the first person in her family to attend college and graduated from Davidson in 1990 with a degree in Biology and a focus on ecology and marine biology. From there, she came to Chapel Hill for medical school and stayed at UNC for residency training. After completing a year as Chief Resident, she joined the faculty at WakeMed hospital where she worked in the clinic caring for Raleigh’s underserved, attended on the inpatient service with UNC residents and students, and helped to found one of the first hospitalist programs in the area.

After three years at WakeMed, she returned to UNC for further training as a fellow in the Geriatric Medicine program and was appointed to a faculty position in 2001. During the subsequent fourteen years, she held multiple leadership positions within the School of Medicine. She served as the Program Director for the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship from 2008-2014 and was selected to lead the Internal Medicine residency program in May of 2014.

She has received multiple teaching awards, has been recognized for her contributions to educational scholarship and mentorship by the Academy of Educators, and was honored with the Joseph M. Craver Medical Alumni Distinguished Professorship in 2012. With a commitment to a career as a medical educator, she recently completed the requirements to earn a Master of Science degree in Medical Education Leadership. With this background, Dr. Bynum has demonstrated a dedication to the program and department, experience in medical education for trainees at all levels, and a commitment to patients and learners.


Janet Rubin, MD

Vice Chair for Research
Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Dr. Rubin became the new Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine in 2015. She brings over 30 years of experience in funded research, NIH and VA grant review and junior faculty development to this position. A longstanding interest in mentoring young investigators toward independent research careers has been critical to her new initiatives as Vice-Chair. These include the Physician-Scientist Development Pathway, the recruitment of new physician scientists to the DOM, outreach to the DOM’s many K-grant holders, and involvement in UNC’s successful MSTP program. Along with Alex Duncan, she developed and teaches the highly successful R-grant writing group.

Dr. Rubin’s NIH funded laboratory investigates how physical factors regulate mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. Recent findings include that the nuclear envelope is a mechano-sensory site, and that intranuclear actin regulates osteogenesis. These studies use cellular techniques as well as a running mouse model. Read more about this work.

Dr. Rubin practices endocrinology as a member of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. She has adjunct appointments in Bioengineering, Pharmacology and Pediatrics. Dr. Rubin’s family is committed to UNC Medicine: her husband is a member of the Cardiology Division, her daughter is finishing MSTP training, and her son-in-law is a Med-Peds resident.


Benjamin Vincent, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology

Dr. Vincent joined UNC faculty after completing ABIM research pathway residency and fellowship in Oncology at UNC in 2015. Dr. Vincent’s path to research track training did not follow traditional MSTP training. Instead Dr. Vincent spent two years training in cellular immunology and immunogenetics in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Frelinger, former Chairman of the UNC Department of Microbiology/Immunology, through the Howard Holderness Distinguished Medical Scholars Program. With a strong desire to continue a career in biomedical research, Dr. Vincent entered UNC’s Internal Medicine residency and pursued ABIM research pathway residency with subspecialty training in Oncology, where his fellowship research was done with Dr. Jonathan Serody in tumor immunology. His current research in immunogenomics focuses on how T cell receptor and B cell receptor repertoire characteristics predict survival and response to immunotherapy in breast cancer, bladder cancer, and acute myeloid leukemia. He is currently a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Immunotherapy Group, Faculty Director of the Immunomonitoring Core, and Leader of the MP1U Pre-clinical Immunotherapy Program. Dr. Vincent provides the perspective of a recent ABIM research pathway trainee and non-MSTP pathway trainee to the UNC Physician Scientist Training Program leadership team.