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After teaching about climate change for 18 years, Emily Bernhardt knows how difficult the subject is for students. “When you say, ‘let’s talk about climate change,’ they don’t feel great,” said Bernhardt, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Biology, last week at the Academic Council. “The topic overwhelms people. They end up feeling more sad in these discussions when you start with the science, saying ‘it’s a lot worse than you think.’” Duke’s Climate Commitment is beginning to change that, said Bernhardt and a… read more about Faculty Exchange Ideas on Duke’s Climate Commitment in Academic Council »

DURHAM, N.C. -- The “deathbed rally,” the “last hurrah” -- it’s not unheard of for living things to mysteriously perk up in the moments before death. It turns out that plants do it too, at least at the cellular level. A new study shows that diseased plant cells rally before their final demise, cranking up their protein-making machinery before life fades away. This end-of-life surge serves an important purpose: it actually helps the rest of the plant stay healthy, says Duke biology professor Xinnian Dong. Dong and… read more about Dying Plant Cells Alert Healthy Cells to Save Themselves From Disease »

Name: Jorge Fidhel Gonzalez Position: Supervisor of the Research Greenhouses for the Department of Biology Years at Duke: 13 What he does at Duke: Jorge Fidhel Gonzalez starts every workday by surveying his workspace: the Research Greenhouses that span about 15,000 square feet. Donning cargo shorts, a T-shirt and knee-high rubber boots, his first task is to walk across the sprawling facility behind the Biological Science Building, stopping by… read more about Blue Devil of the Week: A Caretaker for 1,000 Plants »

  Susan Alberts, Robert F. Durden Distinguished Professor of Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology, is a co-recipient of the Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology. The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards, now in their 15th edition, recognize and reward contributions of singular impact in science, technology, the humanities and music. The award is funded with 400,000 euros in each of their eight categories. Alberts, who until last year was… read more about Susan Alberts Receives International Frontiers of Knowledge Award »

In May, Jacob Egol will earn his bachelor’s of science degree in Biology with a concentration in cell and molecular biology, as well as a minor in Music. He was introduced to biology at Duke as a first-year student in the Exploration of Genetics and Genomics FOCUS cluster. Inspired by the course, as well as the many others spanning the subdisciplines of biology, Egol is pursuing an interest in cell and molecular biology and developmental biology. The senior currently works in the Silver Lab, part of the Department of… read more about Biology and Music Enhance the Human Experience »

Lichens, just like Chantal Harvey, thrive in the proximity of the sea. The Canadian artist lives in the small village of Baie-Johan-Beetz, along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the Côte-Nord region, far north along the Atlantic coast of Canada. Her house wouldn’t be out of place in a late-night Zillow dream. It’s a luminous red building planted firmly on the bare bedrock, mere feet away from the rolling sea and surrounded by water-carved monoliths and that hard and scrawny vegetation that seems to scream, “Life isn’t easy,… read more about When Science and Art Meet at the End of the Road »

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our colleague, Duke Professor and Herbarium Curator Emeritus Robert L. Wilbur (1925-2022). Bob passed away on 31 October 2022 with his family by his side. His long and distinguished career at Duke University began in 1957, when he joined the faculty of what was then the Botany Department. Over the course of many years, he was a professor, a former Department chair, a mentor to students, a taxonomist of temperate and tropical floras, the Curator of the… read more about Duke Flags Lowered in Honor of Robert Wilbur, Biology Emeritus Professor »

Junior Emily Miller is majoring in Biology with double minors in Theater Studies and Chinese — and can’t remember a point in her life when she wasn’t fascinated by the sciences. Her specific passion for biology began in middle school, when a science teacher’s enthusiasm for chemistry sparked Emily’s scientific interest. A year later, she dissected a cow’s heart in her eighth-grade biology class, and that hands-on experience was all it took to kick start her career path in the sciences. “I found it so fascinating that we… read more about Theater Studies Gives This Medical Researcher the Creativity She Needs to Discover New Solutions »