Three Duke Psychiatry Faculty Members Win School of Medicine Awards

By Susan Gallagher

Three Duke Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences faculty members—Melanie Bonner, PhD, David Madden, PhD, and Joseph McClernon, PhD—have won 2024 School of Medicine awards.

Excellence in Professionalism Award

Melanie Bonner, PhD

Professor in Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Assistant Dean of Student Services in the School of Medicine

The Excellence in Professionalism Award recognizes a faculty member who exemplifies professionalism and personifies Duke’s guiding principles of respect, trustworthiness, diversity, teamwork, and learning.

Melanie Bonner
Melanie Bonner, PhD

Dr. Bonner’s work spans across patient care, research, education, and leadership. Since 1999, she has served as the director of the pediatric neuropsychology service, where she has trained practicum students, interns, and post-doctoral fellows. She’s also an associate member of neuro-oncology at the Duke Cancer Institute and works closely with the pediatric brain tumor program.
Dr. Bonner’s research focuses on evaluating and remediating cognitive functioning in children with illnesses that impact the central nervous system. She has co-authored more than 85 journal articles and several book chapters and has delivered more than 130 presentations and invited talks.
Dr. Bonner teaches, supervises, and mentors clinical psychology doctoral interns and graduate students, as well as teaching graduate psychology courses. From 2004 to 2015, she served as the director of graduate studies in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. In September 2023, Dr. Bonner was named assistant dean of student services for the School of Medicine.

Dr. Melanie Bonner is the epitome of professionalism. She is warm, kind, approachable, humble, and a leader in our community. Dr. Bonner is admired for her endless energy, affable spirit, and brilliant mind. I truly have no idea how she is able to do all that she does. Patients, students, and faculty turn to Dr. Bonner for help because we all know of her competency, compassion, and integrity.
Chris Mauro, PhD, associate professor and nominator

Career Mentoring Award in Basic and Translational Science 

David Madden, PhD

Professor in Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Chair of the Scientific Review Committee in the Center for Brain Imaging & Analysis

The Research Mentoring Awards recognize faculty members for excellence in research mentoring. Excellence can be demonstrated by the accomplishments of individual mentees, by programs implemented by the mentor, or by exceptional creativity in mentoring.

David Madden
David Madden, PhD

Dr. Madden’s research focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of aging, including the investigation of age-related changes in perception, attention, and memory, using both behavioral measures and neuroimaging techniques.

The behavioral measures have focused on reaction time, with the goal of distinguishing age-related changes in specific cognitive abilities from more general effects arising from a slowing in elementary perceptual processes. The neuroimaging techniques help define the functional neuroanatomy of those cognitive abilities (e.g., selective attention, memory retrieval, and executive control processes).

Dr. Madden’s research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1980, and he has co-authored nearly 200 scientific publications during his career.

Dr. Madden’s research program relies on the participation of investigators with different perspectives and types of expertise. In mentoring of postdoctoral fellows and students, he emphasizes an appreciation of the previous findings and theories leading to current research projects, as well as the development of the collaborative skills needed to conduct interdisciplinary research.

“I nominated Dr. Madden for this award because he is an accomplished researcher, thoughtful mentor, and delightful colleague who views mentorship as a passion more than an embedded component of his job duties. As a first-generation woman researcher from a low socioeconomic background, his individualized mentorship during my postdoctoral training has contributed significantly to my growth as an independent scientist.”
Jenna Merenstein, PhD, postdoctoral scholar and nominator

Career Mentoring Award in Clinical Research including Population Health Research and Data Science

Joseph McClernon, PhD

Professor in Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Associate Director, Duke Clinical & Translational Science Institute

The Research Mentoring Awards recognize faculty members for excellence in research mentoring. Excellence can be demonstrated by the accomplishments of individual mentees, by programs implemented by the mentor, or by exceptional creativity in mentoring.

Joe McClernon
Joseph McClernon, PhD

Dr. McClernon’s research is focused on increasing understanding of the behavioral and neurobiological bases of tobacco use, developing new and more effective interventions to address nicotine dependence, and informing the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) regulation of tobacco products. 

Dr. McClernon has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health, FDA, and foundations since 2002, has co-authored 180 scholarly publications, and has two patents. 

He has served in several leadership roles in the Duke Clinical and Transitional Science Institute; in 2023, he was named associate director of the institute. 

Throughout his career, Dr. McClernon has actively mentored high school students, undergraduates, research staff, graduate students, medical students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-career faculty at Duke and beyond. Many of his former trainees are faculty or staff scientists at academic medical centers, government agencies, and research institutes. While a division director in Psychiatry, he instituted a monthly group mentoring program (“Joe with Joe”)—which lasted nearly a decade—and a travel award for early career investigators.

“Dr. McClernon is the most wonderful mentor imaginable. His guidance and support have been instrumental in the development of my scientific research success and career goal to be an academic physician-scientist focusing on tobacco research. I am excited and honored to have Dr. McClernon as a life-long mentor and collaborator.”
Dana Rubenstein, Duke University medical student and nominator

The awards were presented on May 13 at the 2024 School of Medicine Spring Faculty Celebration, held at the Doris Duke Center at Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

Learn more about the 2024 School of Medicine faculty awards and award winners.