Duke’s STAR Program Faculty and Staff

Danny Benjamin, MD, PhD, MPH

Daniel Benjamin

Dr. Benjamin is the Kiser-Arena Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics at Duke University, adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, and adjunct professor of pharmacy at the University of North Carolina School of Pharmacy. Dr. Benjamin has active NIH-sponsored research in clinical pharmacology, therapeutics, trials, and pharmacoepidemiology. He is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications. He has led or is leading more than 20 clinical trials for FDA labeling, and his annual research budget is $15,000,000. He is the principal investigator and chair for the Pediatric Trials Network (PTN), an NICHD-sponsored initiative to study off-patent therapeutics in children of all ages. In that role, he has broad oversight of 5–7 multicenter trials and 3–6 pharmacoepidemiology projects each year. He recruits the protocol chair for each project and oversees selection of all team members and operations staff. In addition to his research activities, Dr. Benjamin has a track record for dedication to mentorship and education of trainees at all levels. He is the PI of a K24 (NICHD) grant and co-PI of a T32 (NIGMS) grant, as well as faculty mentor for four faculty mentees supported by the NIH.

Kanecia Zimmerman, MD, PhD, MPH

Kanecia Zimmerman

Kanecia Zimmerman, MD, PhD, MPH is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care Medicine, at Duke University Medical Center, as well as the co_principal investigator of the STAR program. She completed her PhD in pharmacoepidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health. Dr. Zimmerman is the recipient of a Duke CTSA Career Development Award, and she focuses her research on improving the safety of drugs administered to critically ill children. Dr. Zimmerman is a graduate of the Duke Clinical Research Institute Fellowship program and currently serves as one of its associate directors. She is passionate about teaching and mentoring young scientists. Dr. Zimmerman also served as a mentor for the 2015 Duke's STAR Program.

Karan Kumar, MD MS

Karan Kumar

Karan Kumar, MD MS, is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center. He obtained his Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship and Master’s in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at Duke University, while also completing a research fellowship at Duke Clinical Research Institute. Dr. Kumar’s research focuses on improving the efficiency and execution of pediatric clinical drug trials through a combination of biostatistics, health informatics, real-world data, and innovative clinical trial design. He has served as a statistician, lecturer, and mentor for Duke’s STAR Program since 2017.

Jonathan McCall, MS

Jonathan McCall

Jonathan McCall, MS, is director of communications for Duke Forge, Duke University’s center for actionable health data science. Before joining the Forge, Jonathan worked for the Duke Clinical Research Institute for two decades, first as a clinical data specialist and later as a science writer and editor. While at the DCRI, he also oversaw communications efforts for the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory and developed the first edition of the Collaboratory’s online “Living Textbook,” Rethinking Clinical Trials. From 2015 to early 2017, Jonathan worked as a contractor for the US Food and Drug Administration, where he helped support scientific communications efforts for FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, MD. Since 2017, Jonathan has been instructor for the STAR program, where he teaches classes on scientific and professional writing.

Divine Pinson

Divine Pinson

Divine Pinson has been employed by the Duke Clinical Research Institute since 2010, serving in a variety of administrative roles. In 2012, she received the Karen S. Pieper Fellowship Supporter Award for her work assisting DCRI fellows acclimate to the DCRI environment. She has been involved with the Duke's STAR Program since its inception in 2013, acting as a critical partner in the day-to-day logistics of the program.