DR/TL? (Didn't read, too long?)

Brief mentions of things going on among Duke researchers, scholars, and other enterprises

Slow-growing microbes in peat bogs in the lazy South break down organic matter much more slowly than their northern relatives, making them much better carbon sinks and more effective in preventing the release of greenhouse gases than their counterparts further north. * Warming seas driving fish deeper to find cooler water may diminish the capacity of some fish to compete for mates by demonstrating bright coloration. Deeper water means less sunlight, which means less color vision by any fish you’re trying to impress. * Baby mantis shrimp don’t have to grow into their wicked jabs; they can deliver the famously lethal blows from their lock-and-spring elbows even in their larval state. So, if you’re looking for a baby gift for a mantis shrimp, think boxing gloves. * Activation of a certain neural signaling pathway can turn mice into “superlearners,” but it turns out some neural cells use that pathway all the time. Those cells release acetylcholine, a chemical linked to attention and learning. Boosting it helps treat dementia, so learning to work with them may offer improvements in therapy for dementia. * Are you a female baboon who suffers from high levels of stress? You have a greater risk of dying than your less-stressed sisters. We know this because we looked for stress hormones in your poop (one more thing to worry about). Take some you-time, female baboons. *


A chance finding in a basic study indicates that women, who have only half as many severe COVID infections as men, may be better at fighting off COVID-19 because of a specific kind of immune cell. In a comparison of mucosa and blood from healthy men and women and from COVID patients, healthy women turned out to have more mucosal-associated invariant T cells, or MAIT cells. Those cells migrate to the lungs when COVID strikes, and, again, women have many more.* If you’re exposed to more traffic-related air pollution as a child and adolescent, you’re more likely to suffer from mental illness at age eighteen. *


A machine-learning algorithm can listen to symphonies and distinguish between different conductors and orchestras. Given all Beethoven’s symphonies conducted by a variety of leaders, the artificial intelligence was able to compare and distinguish, even noting how some modern interpretations are more like traditional, Beethoven-era interpretations of the music. The machines never got confused and clapped between movements. * Artificial intelligence can combine satellite images and weather data to identify air-pollution hotspots accurate to the city-block level. This could enable better pollution management, better mitigation strategies, and more equitable treatment plans for those affected. *


Eighteen Duke Ph.D. students received awards from the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) for 2021. * Junior Carlee Goldberg was among sixty-two students selected nationally as 2021 Truman Scholars, memorials to President Harry S. Truman. Students from every state are selected based on their leadership potential, high academic achievement, and a commitment to careers in public service and advocacy. * Junior Joy Reeves and sophomore Quinn Smith are recipients of the Udall Scholarship, which recognizes students who have demonstrated a commitment to careers in the environment or Native American tribal public policy.* Business professor Aaron “Ronnie” Chatterji has been appointed chief economist of the United States Department of Commerce, acting as the principal economic adviser to the secretary of commerce. * New York Times columnist Frank Bruni and Stephen Buckley ’89, lead story editor for Global Press Journal and former editor of the St. Petersburg Timesare the new Patterson professors at the Sanford School’s DeWitt Wallace Center. * On April 20—that’s 4/20—DukeCreate and DuWell sponsored an online course in cooking chocolate-chip cookies. That event took place, once again, on 4/20. Well played, DukeCreate and DuWell. * Niisoja Torto ’20 has been awarded the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, which provides full funding of graduate work at Stanford. * As part of Duke’s anti-racism efforts, the Office of the Provost and the graduate school are funding ten Summer Research Fellowships for Research on Racism and Systemic Inequalities for this summer.  

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