Monty Hughes Jr.
Assistant Professor in Surgery

 Dr. Hughes received his Ph.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina and was a post doc at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and NIH. He then joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor (with tenure). Following a brief stint as the director of the biology division of a start-up pharmaceutical company, he joined forces with Dr. Purves at the Medical University of South Carolina to begin this lab focused on benign urinary disorders. Dr. Hughes has been at Duke since 2015. He is currently an Assistant Professor working within the Department of Surgery and Division of Urology. He serves as the Director of the Urinary Dysfunction Laboratory which studies the role of inflammation in disorders such as bladder outlet obstruction and diabetic bladder dysfunction. In association with Dr. J Todd Purves, this lab has been instrumental in demonstrating the central importance of the NLRP3 inflammasome in sensing the biochemical stressors associated with these disorders and translating them into an inflammatory signal. This signal is ultimately responsible for changes in voiding function, denervation and fibrosis.

Current Research Interests

Our lab focuses on projects that have direct relevance to disorders that are regularly encountered by practicing urologists in the clinic. We are particularly interested in benign urologic disease caused by inflammation in the bladder. We have shown that nod-like receptors (NLRs) and the inflammasomes they form are present in the bladder epithelia where they serve as sensors of sterile damage and potentially bacterial infection. Upon activation, these structures mature the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, which are released and trigger inflammation and lower urinary tract symptoms, such as increased voiding frequency.

Inflammasome formation/activation during bladder outlet obstruction (such as during benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH) and diabetes appears to be a major contributor to urinary dysfunction in those patient populations. Consequently, these two disorders are intensely under study in our lab. A thorough understanding of the inflammasome system in the bladder, while learning to manipulate this system for therapeutic advantage, is the main pillar of our lab.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

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