Assistant Professor of Biology Arnaldo Carreira Rosario joins the Duke faculty this year. (John West/Trinity Communications)You just bought a brand-new, top-notch computer. You take it out of the box and press the power button, anxious to get it going. The machine purrs slightly, the display lights up, and then you wait five, 10, maybe even 15 minutes until the whole thing boots up. Turns out that brains do exactly the same thing — minus the purring — and Arnaldo Carreira-Rosario, new… read more about Arnaldo Carreira-Rosario Wants to Understand How Brains Power Up »

Kelly Hogan is a new professor of the practice in the Department of Biology. (John West/Trinity Communications)A new chapter in the storied rivalry between Duke and the University of North Carolina will begin this fall when Kelly Hogan trades her Biology classroom in Chapel Hill for one in Durham. Hogan obtained her doctorate at UNC, then joined the faculty as a Biology professor and associate dean of instructional innovation in the university’s College of Arts & Sciences. Donning Duke… read more about Kelly Hogan Is Making Intro Classes Fun, Effective and Equitable »

Sara Lipshutz is a new assistant professor in the Department of Biology. (Gordon Oliver, edited by Shaun King/Trinity Communications)Be honest: when asked to think about an animal ready to fight for its territory, bearing weapons, testosterone coursing through its veins, what comes to mind? A roaring lion, mane flowing in the wind? An elk, antlers lowered in a menacing pose? Or a female bird? For Sara Lipshutz, new assistant professor in the Department of Biology, the answer is obviously the… read more about Fighting Females and Caring Males: Sara Lipshutz Studies Birds That Challenge Our Binary Expectations »

DURHAM, N.C. -- If you happened upon a witch hazel plant in the forest, you might describe it as a sweet-smelling shrub with crinkly ribbon-like petals. But to Duke University graduate student Justin Jorge, it’s a howitzer. That’s because of the impressive firepower of its fruits. When witch hazels are ready to disperse their seeds, their woody seed capsules split open. Pressure builds up, and eventually the seeds shoot out like bullets fired from a rifle, hitting 30 feet per second in about half a millisecond. “If you… read more about Members of the Witch Hazel Family Can Fling Seeds Fast Thanks to Spring-Loaded Fruits »

DURHAM, N.C. -- A few years ago while on a fishing trip in the Florida Keys, biologist Lori Schweikert came face to face with an unusual quick-change act. She reeled in a pointy-snouted reef fish called a hogfish and threw it onboard. But later when she went to put it in a cooler she noticed something odd: its skin had taken on the same color and pattern as the deck of the boat. Former Duke postdoc Lori Schweikert holds a hogfish she caught while on a fishing trip in the Florida Keys.A common fish in the western Atlantic… read more about This Fish Doesn’t Just See With Its Eyes -- It Also Sees With Its Skin.  »

An agave plant at the Duke Bioscience House has finally bloomed after 10 years. Last month the agave plant stalk first started growing, and it now stands at roughly 20 feet tall, sprouting flowers with nectar. At this greenhouse, this growth has created a lot of buzz. "They only produce one stem in their entire life and you have to wait 15 years for it to bloom and then it dies,” said Jorge Fidel Gonźalez, an assistant horticulturist with the biology department. Yes, this agave plant lives 10 to 15 years, sprouts a… read more about A Rare Bloom After a Decade of Waiting »

DURHAM, N.C. -- Health officials warn that drug resistance could wipe out recent progress against malaria, particularly in Africa and southeast Asia. Now, researchers looking for other ways to fight the mosquito-borne parasites that cause the disease have zeroed in on a potential new target: biological clocks. Most living things have internal clocks that govern fluctuations in everything from hunger and hormone levels to when genes are active throughout the day. In a study published June 6 in the journal Proceedings of… read more about Biological Clocks of People and Malaria Parasites Tick in Tune  »

DURHAM, N.C. -- Researchers studying a group of widespread but often overlooked microbes have identified a climate feedback loop that could accelerate climate change. But it’s not all bad news: this one comes with an early warning signal. Using a computer simulation, a team of scientists from Duke University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, showed that most of the world’s ocean plankton and many other single-celled creatures in lakes, peatlands and other ecosystems could cross a threshold where instead of… read more about Little-Known Microbes Could Help Predict Climate Tipping Points »

The first day of the inaugural Duke Climate and Sustainability Teaching Fellows’ weeklong workshop series is wrapping up when Alex Glass assigns homework to the assembled faculty participants: “Before tomorrow, I challenge you to come up with a topic from your course that you think doesn’t relate to climate change at all. Tomorrow we’ll discuss ways it does.” The Climate and Sustainability Teaching Fellows Program may be new, but for its three faculty co-leads — Charlotte Clark, Associate Professor of the Practice of… read more about For the Climate and Sustainability Teaching Fellows, the Connections are Myriad »

Five members of the Class of 2024 have been named to the third class of Nakayama Scholars.  The Nakayama Public Service Scholarship bolsters the university’s efforts to encourage students to use their Duke experience to engage with significant challenges facing communities around the world. The students represent multiple disciplines across Duke’s academic departments as well as a variety of future careers pursuits. Juniors Nhu Bui, Grace Endrud, Jacob Hervey, Chloe Nguyen and Ronit Sethi were chosen for their strong… read more about Duke Names Third Class of Nakayama Scholars »

DURHAM, N.C. -- Decades of research show that experiencing traumatic things as a child -- such as having an alcoholic parent or growing up in a tumultuous home -- puts you at risk for poorer health and survival later in life. But mounting evidence suggests that forging strong social relationships can help mitigate these effects. And not just for people, but for our primate cousins, too. Drawing on 36 years of data, a new study of nearly 200 baboons in southern Kenya finds that adversity early in life can take years off… read more about Adult Friendships Can Triumph Over Childhood Trauma, Even in Baboons »

DURHAM, N.C. -- What makes some cancer cells stay put while others break loose and spread through the body? A new study of C. elegans worms may hold some clues. Researchers at Duke University have put together what they say is the first complete “parts list” for a cell caught in the act of tunneling through the tissue barriers that normally keep cells in place. Understanding this process is important because it’s the first step in metastasis, when cancer becomes more deadly and difficult to treat, said senior… read more about Creating a ‘Parts List’ for Cancer’s Spread, With Help From a Worm »

The initial round of the Duke Climate Research Innovation Seed Program (CRISP) will fund 12 teams of Duke University scholars to accelerate research on sustainable, equitable solutions to climate change and its effects. The teams have collectively been awarded $643,000 to investigate wide-ranging topics such as lower-cost, higher-efficiency solar cells; subsidies for energy-saving home renovations; the environmental, health and justice impacts of mining critical raw materials; and pastoral care for climate change. During… read more about Twelve Research Teams Launching Projects to Advance Duke Climate Commitment Priorities »

The National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday announced the election of 120 new members and 23 international members in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Established by an Act of Congress signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.  Duke’s three new members join 31 other members of the National Academy of Sciences on the Duke faculty.  They are:… read more about Two Trinity Faculty Elected to National Academy of Sciences »