Skip to main content

Duke Flags Lowered: Neurobiology Graduate Student Michael Mutersbaugh Dies Saturday

Michael Mutersbaugh Michael Mutersbaugh, a first-year Ph.D. student in Duke’s Neurobiology Graduate Program, died Saturday in a single-car automobile accident. Several other passengers are recovering from their injuries.

Mutersbaugh graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering in spring 2019, and joined the lab of Court Hull at Duke in the Department of Neurobiology that summer as a research technician. He entered the neurobiology Ph.D. program in fall 2020.

“Mike was a natural with experiments and analysis, and took off almost immediately with his own project,” Hull said. “It’s also really important to say what an outgoing, happy and gregarious spirit he was. He had such a warm presence, and it lifted the whole lab culture. He was thoughtful, energetic, and jumped at every chance he could find to help others. I think he felt as strongly about our community as we did about him.”

In a message to the Graduate School and School of Medicine communities, Deans Paula D. McClain and Mary Klotman said the university will work with Mutersbaugh’s family and friends to identify ways to safely pay tribute to his life. The deans also encouraged Duke community members who need support and assistance to take advantage of these resources:

  • DukeReach (919-681-2455), will help you identify support services from among the variety of resources across campus or in your local community.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers many services to Duke students. Any student can call 919-660-1000 to speak with someone, or for assistance with referrals in your local community. 
  • Personal Assistance Service (PAS) (919-416-1727) offers free confidential support and counseling to all employees, including faculty, staff, and postdocs, and to their benefit-eligible dependents.
  • Blue Devils Care provides Duke students with 24/7, no-cost virtual support for mental health needs.
  • Religious Life at Duke offers a wide range of student supports. Visit their website to connect with clergy from any of Duke's diverse faith groups.
  • The Office of Graduate Student Affairs ( is standing by to help graduate students and connect them with campus resources to provide the support they need.