Pryer Lab first to sequence complete fern genomes

The Pryer Lab and collaborators have published the first two complete genomes among the ferns with a paper in Nature: Plants.  Authored by Fay-Wei Li, Duke Ph.D. graduate, the paper "sheds light on fern genome evolution and fern-cyanobacterial symbiosis" and was honored with the cover picture.  Congratulations to Kathleen Pryer and her hard-working team!

July 2018 issue of Nature: plants

Eily and Garde Win Biology Graduate Teaching Awards

Every year the Biology Department recognizes graduate students who achieved excellence in their role as Teaching Assistants.  The award is given to two students who have "achieved a high standard of classroom teaching based on faculty and student evaluations and made an effort to seek out professional development opportunities to improve their teaching." The 2018 winners of the Biology Graduate Teaching Award are Ariana Eily and Aastha Garde. Congratualations to both!

Graduation Day at WISER Girls Secondary School

Students at WISER Girls high school in rural Kenya (, founded by Prof Sherryl Broverman, celebrate the graduation of the 5th class of girls. Although their area has the lowest high school completion rates for girls, 90% of girls from WISER continue to college and university.

Graduation Day at WISER Girls School, Muhuru Bay, Kenya

A Tradition of Excellence

Do shrimp have color vision? How could we possibly know? Recent Ph.D. graduates Patrick Green (Patek Lab) and Eleanor Caves (Johnsen Lab) are showing the way in a Data Expedition – a new way to introduce undergrads to coding and data analysis. They have presented their Project on the Color Vision of Shrimp in two courses, Sensory Biology and Animal Physiology, using a dataset from Caves’ dissertation.  Caves lectures on the ecology of shrimp, and then Green gives instruction in the coding language R while Caves helps one-on-one.

Anne Lacey Receives Pillar of Excellence Award

DGS Assistant Anne Lacey has received one of the first Pillars of Excellence Awards from Dean Valerie Ashby.  These awards were created in 2017 to honor "non-teaching staff making significant contributions to the excellence of the school through their commitment to service, initiative, outstanding leadership, increased efficiency, enthusiasm, collaboration, mentoring, and diversity."  A chorus of Biology Graduate Faculty hastened to second the award.  Congratulations, Anne!

Biomajor Pranalee Pratel Presents at AACR Meeting

Graduating senior Pranalee Patel, a Biology and Global Health major, has been chosen to present a poster on her independent study research at the 2018 meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research. Her research, performed in the Cell Death Laboratory and mentored by Dr. Gayathi Devri, is titled "Targeting ribonucleotide reductase M2 using didox causes inhibition of estrogen receptor-negative, inflammatory breast cancer cell proliferation and tumor emboli formation in culture." Pranalee also received the Aalok S. Modi Prize for Global Health Fieldwork in 2017.

Nijhout Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Hearty congratulations to Professor Fred Nijhout on being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences! Fred is one of 213 new members, along with President Obama, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Tom Hanks. The Academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, Samuel Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and others. As one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, the Academy convenes leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to address critical challenges facing our global society.

Justin Wright Publishes in PNAS

Justin Wright, along with collaborator Jason Fridley of Syracuse University, has published a study of various factors affecting the re-growth of forests in cleared fields ("Temperature Accelerates the Rate Fields Become Forests," Jason Fridley and Justin Wright. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 16, 2018). The researchers found that temperature was most responsible for the faster growth of young trees in more southerly sites. As the forest regrows, it absorbs more carbon dioxide than meadowlands do.