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  “It was definitely not what you sign up for when you decide to go to graduate school.” In August 2020, when many were adapting to new work patterns enforced by COVID-19, Danielle Vander Horst and more than 400 other new graduate students were beginning their journeys toward a Duke Ph.D. Their first year was unlike that of any other cohort. No welcome social. No bumping into lab mates in the hallway. No finding new restaurants in a new town. “You sign up for the department, you sign… read more about In 2021, the 2020 Ph.D. Cohort Finally Experienced Duke in Person »

Midway through the fall semester, Duke has seen zero COVID transmissions traced back to the classroom. This is a result of a COVID response plan that in several ways distinguished itself from those at other universities: Masks in the classroom, full vaccination of faculty, staff and students, and heavy surveillance testing and quick turnaround of results. A month of declining and low numbers of infections shows that the response is working; Last week at the Academic Council a team of faculty experts and senior… read more about The Modeling Data Behind Duke's COVID Response Plan »

Congratulations, class of 2020!  The Biology Department would like to invite all 2020 Biology majors and their families to a Biology Meet & Greet, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Sunday, September 26 on the French Family Science Center Plaza (look for the tent). This will be an opportunity to reconnect with professors & classmates, and share what you have been up to.  This is a drop-in event, so come by at your convenience. Full schedule of Duke-wide commencement events read more about Commencement 2020 »

The Trinity College of Arts & Sciences has announced the winners of the 2021 awards for undergraduate teaching. Given each year, the awards honor exceptionally strong educators from across the college. Teaching award recipients are selected by the Arts & Sciences Council on the basis of student evaluations, teaching statements and colleague recommendations. “These four awards are bestowed by the Arts & Sciences faculty in recognition of especially outstanding teaching,” said Arts & Sciences Council Chair… read more about Arts & Sciences Teaching Awards Celebrate Excellence Across the College »

Twenty-four million. That’s how many students worldwide could drop out of school because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a paper published by the United Nations last year. The data are still coming in for fall back-to-school in North America. But parents and teachers in Kenya worried the U.N. prediction was proving all too true when the 2021 school year started there. About 250,000 girls and 125,000 boys who were in school at the start of the pandemic didn’t come back to the classroom. For girls in particular,… read more about Duke-Founded Initiative Is Helping At-Risk Girls Defy the Odds in Kenya  »

DURHAM, N.C. – Trickling down over rocks, surrounded by wildflowers and ferns, Appalachian mountain streams are chock-full of life. They hold some of the world’s greatest diversity of freshwater animals, including many species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. But this biological diversity is severely threatened by mountaintop coal mining, whose downstream pollution impacts many of these species, according to a study in the September 2021 issue of the journal Ecological Applications. Researchers found  that… read more about Mountaintop Mining Causes 40 Percent Loss of Aquatic Biodiversity  »

DURHAM, N.C. – What do frog eggs have in common with anti-aging creams? Their success depends on a group of chemical compounds called retinoids, which are capable of generating and re-generating tissues. A new study in plants shows that retinoids’ tissue-generating capacities are also responsible for the appropriate development of roots.  If you’ve ever planted a radish seed, you know that the first thing it does is develop a long vertical root. Give it a bit more time, and it will get smaller roots that run perpendicular… read more about Growth-Promoting, Anti-Aging Retinal at the Root of Plant Growth Too »

Nicolas Altemose started doing research on the human genome during his first year at Duke. Now, the Biology major and 2011 graduate has contributed to one of the decade’s biggest advances in science and medicine: the most complete sequencing of the human genome to date. Along with a team of 99 scientists from all over the world, Altemose helped fill in many gaps in the human genome, correct past errors and find over a hundred seemingly functional new genes. His contribution focuses on centromeres, the bundle of DNA that… read more about Duke Biology Alum Helps Unveil the Human Genome »

At an ongoing outdoor exhibit in Dallas, Texas, Duke alumnae Jessica Taaffe stands among more than 120 3D-printed statues of women who were determined to be “STEM innovators” by an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies. Taaffe’s interests lie at the intersection of science and policy. Her resume includes time at the World Bank and various science outreach and communications initiatives. In interviews for the IF/THEN Exhibit, she describes being motivated by the application of science, not just the discovery process, and… read more about Duke Alum Featured in 3D-printed Outdoor Exhibit »

Record high temperatures, water shortages, prolonged droughts, soil salinification. Things aren’t exactly looking up for fruit and produce growers. Dr. Lucia Strader, an associate professor in Biology, has just been awarded a $3.36 million grant from the National Sciences Foundation (NSF) to try to help. Along with Drs. Ross Sozzani, from North Carolina State University, and Max Staller, from the University of California, Berkeley, Strader is proposing a new method that would allow scientists to improve plants’ resistance… read more about Biology Professor Lucia Strader Awarded $3.4 Million to Revolutionize Transgenic Plants »

Duke University has awarded distinguished professorships to 22 faculty members representing seven Duke colleges and schools.   “Our honorees are recognized as international leaders in a diverse range of fields,” said President Vincent Price. “Their research has already had a significant impact on broader society, helping to improve lives and shape our understanding of the world.” The honorees are the “successors of faculty leaders who helped define the university’s commitment to ethical scholarship, leadership and public… read more about Duke Awards 22 Distinguished Professorships »

Richard Hilleary, a postdoc in Sheng Yang He’s lab, was awarded a two-year fellowship to identify and leverage molecular mechanisms that render some plants more resilient to increases in temperature.  The NIFA fellowship is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program (AFRI). This Initiative aims at funding the next generation of researchers, education, and extension professionals in the food and agricultural sciences. The postdoctoral fellowships in… read more about Postdoc Richard Hilleary receives NIFA fellowship from the USDA »