ARTICLES BY Dennis Meredith

  • September 1, 2014
    Research was the central purpose of the original field station—later to become the Duke Primate Center—established in 1960. That year, Yale anthropologist John Buettner-Janusch moved his collection of eighty prosimians, including both lemurs and bushbabies, to cages in Duke Forest. 
  • August 1, 2011
     This year, as the Pratt School’s biomedical engineering department celebrates its fortieth anniversary, it is marking an extraordinary double
  • August 1, 2011
  • Mary Eubanks. Les Todd
    June 1, 2006
     The same merciless sun that blasted a drought-stricken North Carolina in the summer of 2002 shone like a spotlight of triumph on Mary Eubanks.
  • Cystisoma: its large, pale retina minimizes its shadow when viewed from below. Widder, HBOI
    November 30, 2005
    Floating in the warm depths of the Gulf of Mexico, Sönke Johnsen is surrounded by "ghosts," swirls of ethereal entities whose glimmerings tell him he is not alone in the see-forever cerulean waters. He is enveloped in a clear-as-glass menagerie of creatures that make the open ocean their home. They survive because they have evolved to be nearly invisible.
  • Huntington WIllard. Chris Hildreth.
    August 1, 2005
    Huntington Willard, it could be said, is a true X-man. In algebra, X denotes the archetypal unknown quantity. The aptly nicknamed "Hunt" Willard confesses to an inordinate fondness for the unknown. He revels in tackling profound genomic mysteries that confound other researchers and could lead to astonishing new scientific insights--or simply to more mysteries.
  • August 1, 2005
  • August 1, 2005
    When Huntington Willard, director of the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy (IGSP), prepared to move into his office at his new headquarters, he requested that a doorway be built directly between his office and his laboratory, in addition to the existing doorway leading to the rest of the IGSP.
  • June 1, 2005
    A central mystery of mental disorders such as depression is how infinitesimal typos in the genetic blueprint for the brain can cause a predisposition to such disease. Researchers have long known that depression tends to run in families, but they have yet to pinpoint a single genetic flaw that could help explain why--until now.
  • Site detectives: Cabeza, left, and LaBar. Jim Wallace.
    June 1, 2005
    Take a journey back into the most vivid memories of your life. For me, there's the terrifying childhood attack by a deranged rooster; the gut-roiling public embarrassment of a forgotten speech; and, ah yes, the sweet, transporting taste of my first kiss. Such memories don't just benignly percolate up in our minds, like the mundane recall that we need to buy bread at the market.
  • June 1, 2005
    Tweet Mystery of Life(Originally published in the July-August 1994 issue)
  • Les Todd.
    October 1, 2004
    At six foot three, Philip Benfey towers incongruously over the bedraggled-looking collection of shriveled plants that he displays with considerable pride. The plants languish in plastic pots on a shelf in his laboratory's closet-like plant-growth room.
  • October 1, 2004
  • October 1, 2004
  • June 1, 2004
    Science is really funny, observed a boy in Liane Carahasen's fourth-grade class at Hillandale Elementary School in Durham. He giggled at the "oops" moment when he accidentally tore the adding-machine tape he was to scroll out for the experiments. With considerable laughing and excited chatter, he and his fellow students were spreading out a dozen or so tapes across the floor of the school cafeteria.
  • June 1, 2004
  • Net work: Scott Loarie of Stanford, left, weighs birds, while Costa Rican Dionisio Paniagna-Castro tags them at Las Cruces. All photos by Chris Hildreth.
    August 1, 2003
    Nature rules this place, and with a mahogany fist. She has decreed this forest to be no gentle glade, but a biological battleground, where each species fights for her favor. All the creatures great and small employ their own offensive tactics. Strangler figs wrap their roots around the mammoth trees, thrusting branches upward toward the light.
  • Richard Schneider
    January 31, 2003
    One entered the gleaming new headquarters of Cogent Neuroscience by climbing a broad, burnished stainless-steel spiral staircase, ascending each step as a scientist might trace the individual units of a gene along the spiraling DNA double helix. Cogent's metaphorical staircase was apt.
  • January 31, 2003
    Nearly a decade ago, when the medical giant Johns Hopkins University took on a small biotech startup named CellPro in a patent infringement lawsuit, the results might have been predicted. Hopkins won, and tiny CellPro was driven out of business.
  • January 31, 2003
    Many critics of industry sponsorship of clinical trials have gathered statistics suggesting a biasing of results in favor of the company's drugs o
  • August 1, 2002
    As the morning sun spreads summer warmth onto meadows and ponds, the fearsome hunters prepare for launch, whirring their membranous wings to warm flight muscles for the day's hunt. Muscles taut, they vault into the air. They are gossamer death, skimming the landscape, their bulbous eyes enabling a panoramic view as they search for the slightest glint of prey. A river cruiser acrobatically flips its streamlined body, swooping to snag a mosquito in mid-flight for an aerial meal.
  • Mutual admiration: spotted hyena Phoenix, whom Drea hand-raised, gives her a nuzzle bonding with hyenas. Kathy Moorhouse.
    March 31, 2002
    The searing ocean wind whistles into the desert ghost town, blasting through the empty buildings, lofting a stream of salty grit that over decades has eaten away their bricks to a pockmarked ruin. The empty buildings surrounding the abandoned African diamond mines once held rowdy crowds of miners.
  • November 30, 2001
    Erich Jarvis nestles himself into the thick green foliage of the Brazilian forest, just as the morning sun begins to drive vapor off the broad wet leaves. He has arrived just in time for the most important daily event in his scientific fieldwork--the "dawn chorus."
  • Eyes on the future:Will Duke still be her home?
    August 1, 2001
    In a typical sunny day at the Duke Primate Center, a steady stream of visitors find themselves charmed and captivated by the exotic lemurs that live in its cages and range through its forested open enclosures. Led by volunteer guides, tour groups may witness the long-limbed acrobatic sifaka leap soaring from branch to branch.
  • June 1, 2001
    A hot stone embedded in the middle of my belly. That’s what the nagging ache felt like when it asserted itself abruptly one evening—a distinctive new addition to the repertoire of usual gastric phenomena I’d experienced over decades of stomach ownership.


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