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Student and Faculty Highlights

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Jessica Erlingis (1st-year Ph.D. student) has received a one-year graduate fellowship from the American Meteorological Society.

Jing Tao (2nd-year Ph.D. student) has been awarded a NASA Earth System Science Fellowship, which provides 3 years of support.

Computational Biology and Bioinformatics

Matthew Eaton (5th-year Ph.D. student) published “WNT11 expression is induced by ERR (alpha) and (beta)-catenin and acts in an autocrine manner to increase cancer cell migration” in Cancer Research (September 24th, 2010) PMID 20870744.

Nathan C. Sheffield (3rd-year Ph.D. student) published “Mitochondrial genomics in Orthoptera using MOSAS” in Mitochondrial DNA. He was also awarded a Graduate School 2010-11 Teaching Mini-grant for his project “Developing a Workshop and Website Devoted to Improving Scientific Writing.”


Patrick Halpin (Associate Professor of Marine Geospatial Ecology) and research associates Jesse Cleary and Ben Donnelly have developed a map for the Census of Marine Life and National Geographic Maps that provides the most detailed overview yet of the increasing troubled state of life in the world’s oceans. The two-sided, poster-sized map can be viewed online at

Wenhong Li (Assistant Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences) led a study that was published in the Journal of Climate that suggests that global warming is the main cause of a significant intensification of the North Atlantic Subtropical High (NASH), also known as the Bermuda High, that in recent decades has more than doubled the frequency of abnormally wet or dry summer weather in the southeastern United States. The study is the first to investigate decadal-scale and interannual variations in the NASH and their impacts on extreme summer rainfall in the Southeast.

Jeffrey Vincent (Clarence F. Korstian Professor of Forest Economics and Management) led an international team that recently published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that gave evidence that steady rise in average minimum temperatures associated with climate change may cause rice production to decline over coming decades in six Asian nations that produce 90 percent of the world’s crop.

Master of Arts in Teaching

Katie Brehm, William Cole, Ruth Chan, and Tim MacArthur (1st-year M.A.T. students) were each awarded a Robert Noyce Scholarship. This scholarship provides mathematics and science students with scholarship and stipends in exchange for an agreement to teach for two years in any public high school identified as being in a high-need school district.

Michelle Garst, Danial Rowe, Sean Mournighan, and Brittany Smith (1st-year M.A.T. students) were each awarded a fellowship through the Durham Teaching Fellowship Program, which provides full tuition and a stipend in exchange for an agreement to teach in the Durham Public Schools for two years upon completion of the program.

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Sam Stanton (doctoral student; advisor Assistant Professor Brian Mann) won the best overall student paper award at the Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures, and Intelligent Systems Conference (SMASIS) in Philadelphia, PA (also winner of the mechanics symposium at the same conference). An updated version of the conference article on the same topic has recently been published in the Journal of Applied Physics.

Xuanhe Zhao (Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science) has had his paper “Active Porous Scaffolds for Controlled Drug and Cell Delivery” accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Thomas Brothers (Professor of Music) and Kerry McCarthy (Assistant Professor of Music) received a Visiting Artist Award ($12,000) from the Provost and the Council of the Arts, Duke University, 2010, for producing a concert of Monteverdi’s Vespers with the professional group Piffaro and various performing ensembles at Duke.

Jamie Keesecker (2nd-year Ph.D. student) was a quarter-finalist in the Atlanta Chamber Players’ “Rapido!” composition contest, in which composers are given musical parameters and two weeks to compose an original piece.

Stephen Pysnik (3rd-year Ph.D. student), the outgoing South Central Graduate Music Consortium representative, organized the annual conference in September featuring papers by music graduate students from Duke, the Universityof North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Virginia. The keynote speaker for the conference was Caroline O’Meara from University of Texas at Austin.

Philip Rupprecht (Associate Professor of Music) co-organized the international conference, “Tonality 1900-1950: concept and practice,” held jointly at Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on October 1-2. The conference, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ernst Siemens Foundation for Music, Munich, brought six distinguished European scholars into dialogue with 12 U.S.-based scholars of 20th-century music.

Larry Todd (Professor of Music) published his book Fanny Hensel: The Other Mendelssohn (Oxford University Press:2010).

Psychology and Neuroscience

Joseph Dunsmoor (4th-year Ph.D. student) received an individual National Research Service Award Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health.

Terrie Moffitt (Knut Schmidt Nielsen Professor of Psychology) and Avshalom Caspi (Edward M. Arnett Professor of Psychology) were jointly recognized with the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize for Productive Youth Development at a December 3, 2010 ceremony in Zurich. The prize includes a 1 million Swiss Franc award to further their research. On October 29, 2010, they also received the Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research from NARSAD, the brain and behavior research fund. The $50,000 award recognizes their international research exploring how the environment and genes interact to shape human behavior and mental health.

Nestor Schmajuk (Professor of Psychology) edited Computational Models of Conditioning (2010, Cambridge University Press), which shows how recognized scientists delve into the use of mathematical models to help explain the multiple properties of classical conditioning, that is. the machinery that controls learning and evoking of emotional experiences. This book follows another of Schmajuk’s works, Mechanisms in Classical Conditioning – A Computational Approach (2010, Cambridge University Press).

Romance Studies

Dana Chirila (6th-year Ph.D. student) was the invited guest speaker at the Kennesaw University, GA event Year of Romania: “Cosmopolitan personalities of Romanian culture. Eugen Ionesco and his contributions to world literature,” November 18, 2010.

Valeria Finucci (Professor of Italian Studies and Theater Studies) was named director of the Duke University Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Walter D. Mignolo (William H. Wannamaker Professor of Literature and Romance Studies, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Spanish & Latin American Studies) was appointed International Board Member for the six-year project “Time, Memory and Representation,” Sorderton University, Sweden ( He also serves on the Advisory Board of The Hong Kong Advanced Institute for Cross Disciplinary Studies (College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences), at the City University of Hong-Kong, China. In October, 2010, he delivered the Annual Norbert Lerner’s Lecture Series at the Universidad Diego Portales, Chile. Additionally, he was the 2010-11 Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Warwick University, England). He also curated the exhibit “Esteticas descoloniales” which opened in Bogota, Colombia, on November 10, 2010. His book, The Idea of Latin America (2005), was published in translation in spring, 2010.

Statistical Science

David Dunson (Professor of Statistical Science) received the 2010 Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies Award, given annually to a person under the age of forty in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession of statistics. He was also named the 2010 Myrto Lefkopolou Distinguished Lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health and delivered his talk there in September.