Biological Sciences Magazine Articles

September 26, 2020


Andy Read

It was the end of sophomore year in college, and I was looking for an interesting way to spend the summer and earn a little money. I stumbled across an ad for a summer job at the Ontario Science Center in Toronto that sounded fascinating—reconstructing the skeleton of a sixty-foot fin whale that had stranded the previous summer in Nova Scotia. I knew nothing about whales, but the concept of marine biology sounded pretty good to a kid who grew up in the middle of Canada.

Nobel winner Bill Kaelin, along Boston's Charles River

July 23, 2020


Scott Huler


Not a crossword, not a Sudoku. You won’t find Kaelin playing Words With Friends, and Board Game Night was never a staple in the Kaelin household. A puzzle demands concentration. It demands focus; it requires you to pay attention to one thing at a time.

Mark McClellan

July 22, 2020

Mark McClellan is the founding director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration

What does the fall season look like with the coronavirus? 

July 22, 2020


Scott Huler

Duke has one surprising place to look for its quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic: the Ebola outbreak of 2014-15.

blue mask

March 4, 2020


Robert Bliwise

This issue’s long-planned cover story follows one researcher’s fixation on developing an AIDS vaccine. We could not have planned for what’s become a fresh global fixation, on the coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. By late January, it had disrupted university-supported travel to China and had rejiggered the academic calendar at Duke Kunshan University.

February 26, 2020


Barry Yeoman

When a Duke-led research team won a $300 million federal grant to help develop an AIDS vaccine in 2005, the global situation was looking grim.

Didn't read/Too long

November 19, 2019


Scott Huler


A graphic of number as if in computer code

August 7, 2019

My boys have dark brown curls and mischievous smiles. They speak with clarity and confidence. They move with boundless energy but also with unexpected grace. They enjoy playing with their lovies, reading with their daddy, and dancing with me, their mommy. They were born in St. Louis, but their great-grandparents were born in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are six and eight. They represent the best of America. And I am scared for their future.

May 14, 2019


Among other things, February is known as a month in which we should consider matters of the heart. Which means, in a way, every month is February for Arun Sharma ’12.

September 30, 2014


Louise Flynn

Billy Pizer, professor of public policy, economics, and environment, and his colleague Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, wanted to find a hands-on way to engage students with the issue of emissions regulation. The Bass Connections energy-theme courses, in which graduate students and undergrads work together in small interdisciplinary groups, seemed the ideal setting in which to launch a new research project on the topic.

September 29, 2014

When David Shiffman ’07 applied to Duke in 2002, he wrote his application essay about the first time he swam with sharks. The then-landlocked Shiffman, who grew up in Pittsburgh, included an anecdote about consoling his father before his dive into the deep with an eleven-foot tiger shark—“Don’t worry, Dad; they don’t usually eat people.”

September 26, 2014

December 26 marks the tenth anniversary of one of the worst natural disasters of all time—the Indian Ocean tsunami, which devastated Indonesia’s Aceh province, killing some 160,000 people. Since 2005, Elizabeth Frankenberg, a professor of public policy, has led an Indonesia-based fieldwork project that has followed a group of 32,000 people (first interviewed, pre-tsunami, in 2004).


November 19, 2013

There’s an eerie elegance to the old bones of the Palaeopropithecus sloth lemur. Perhaps 8,000 years ago, the (then-living) lemur hung upside down in Madagascar. Nowadays, its skeleton rests like a hidden treasure at Duke’s Division of Fossil Primates on Broad Street, among more than 25,000 other fossils of the earliest primates and animals.

Kevin Schafer/Minden Pictures/Corbis

November 14, 2013


Karl Leif Bates

Cloud-draped Marojejy National Park rises like a deep green island on a pastel sea of human disturbance. In each muddy quadrangle of rice paddy around the island’s feet, a single cow is staked out to graze and defecate. This rainforest preserve is a dwindling refuge of Madagascar’s native biodiversity, 80 percent of which exists nowhere else on Earth.

Women sunbathing on a beach

November 12, 2013

We’re all too familiar with the symptoms of prolonged exposure to UV rays. There’s the crimson skin, the itchiness, and of course, that overpowering feeling of lethargy. But what actually makes the skin hurt to the touch? A Duke researcher believes he has an answer for sunburned beachgoers: TRPV4.

November 12, 2013

Even Blake S. Wilson B.S.E.E. ’74 is in awe of the cochlear implant, and the electrical engineer is one of the core developers of the device. “Most of today’s implanted patients can understand everyday speech with hearing alone, without lip reading—many in noisy environments, some even on the telephone.