Research Magazine Articles




December 9, 2020

WE ASKED Marjoleine Kars ’82, Ph.D. ’94, an associate professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and author of Blood on the River: A Chronicle of Mutiny and Freedom on the Wild Coast (The New Press), about how she found this untold story and what compelled her to write about it.

Duke Forest trees

December 8, 2020

Writer:

Scott Huler

The forest works on a different time scale.

Duke Forest, 7,000 acres in six divisions sprawled across Durham, Orange, and Alamance counties, where hardwoods tower and even Highway15-501 becomes a distant rush that actually might be a river, or the wind in the pines. When life speeds up, the forest slows it down.

A Sengi peeks out from among the Djiboutian landscape

December 8, 2020

Writer:

Corbie Hill

MAYBE THIRTY FEET from the campsite something rattled in a trap.

September 26, 2020

Writer:

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

Writer:

Scott Huler

BILL KAELIN LIKES A PUZZLE.

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.

July 22, 2020

Writer:

Scott Huler

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

A damaged and abandoned sailboat near Beaufort

July 22, 2020

Writer:

Corbie Hill

Memorial Day 2020 and Carteret County was as mobbed by tourists as Liz DeMattia has ever seen it.

Magnifying glass

February 26, 2020

Writer:

Corbie Hill

A long, low creature, looking like a cross between a coyote and an otter, moved through something akin to a mangrove swamp. It had stumpy legs and a long skull full of sharp teeth. On land, it slunk between fruiting trees in whose branches lounged the earliest monkeys. Four-tusked and hippo-like elephants trundled nearby in this lush, tropical proto-Nile ecosystem. When this creature took to the river, it shared the water with early manatees.

February 26, 2020

Writer:

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

Writer:

Scott Huler

ANIMALS AND MICROBES

Image of children building a house of cardboard while monkeys place in box

November 13, 2019

Gummy bears. They reveal a sweet reality. Watch the video: A couple of three-year-olds are noisily negotiating a challenge cleverly arranged for them. They pull together on some ropes, thereby unsealing a big-box container and unleashing a flood of the candy treats. It doesn’t take much prodding by either partner to arrive at an equitable distribution; if one points out she’s gummy-deprived, the other will quickly correct the gummy imbalance.

August 8, 2019

Writer:

Scott Huler

For a guy who spends his time studying climate change, facing down the future of an Earth warming at an astonishing rate, under the management of a population that commonly resists even admitting its problems, Drew Shindell seems surprisingly optimistic.

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.

Kristian Lum M.S. ’08, Ph.D. ’10

May 17, 2019

With the preponderance of available data has come a preponderance of concern about how the information is used and who possesses it. Kristian Lum M.S. ’08, Ph.D. ’10 counts herself among those concerned. And as lead statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, she’s in a position to help elucidate data use.

“A lot of my work touches on the ways in which data and machine learning may not work in the way you’d like or hoped,” she says.

Professor Abbas Benmanoun

May 17, 2019

How did you respond personally to the instantly notorious case, from earlier this semester, of a Duke faculty member seeming to challenge Chinese students around their speaking Chinese in a social space?

Economist Sandy Darity, teaching

May 16, 2019

Writer:

Lucas Hubbard

The clip lasts just five minutes, but little about it seems right. Sure, Sandy Darity is talking about one of his ideas to combat the racial wealth gap, but absent are his laidback nature, his ubiquitous laugh. It’s July 2018, and Darity’s the guest on Bloomberg’s What’d You Miss? His posture and movement— hunched; fidgety—reflect a man aware of the stage and of the fact that he has brought his ideas, at least briefly, to the center of it.

May 14, 2019

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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.

August 1, 2014

The trigger of your senses can often prompt specific memories. For Tracy, it’s a particular piece of music that brings thoughts of the place she once called home.

Produced for The Short Audio Documentary course taught by John Biewen at the Center for Documentary Studies.

July 30, 2014

Produced for the Motion Design course taught by Raquel Salvatella de Prada, assistant professor of the practice of art, art history & visual studies, and arts of the moving image.

July 22, 2014

Writer:

Michael Penn

Kimberly Blackwell ’89 could have gone about anywhere to begin her career as a pioneering breast-cancer doctor. After graduating from the Mayo Medical School in 1994, she chose to come back to Duke. Now a clinical oncologist at the Duke Cancer Institute, Blackwell is regarded as one of the top breast-cancer researchers in the country.

The education of Ida Owens youtube thumbnail

April 29, 2014

In the spring of 1961, Ida Stephens Owens graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina College—now North Carolina Central University— with a major in biology. Just a few months earlier, Duke University’s board of trustees voted to integrate its graduate and professional schools. Owens came to the attention of Daniel C. Tosteson, then chair of the physiology department, who was recruiting accomplished students from black colleges to pursue advanced degrees in the sciences.

Can pills crush the pain?

April 28, 2014

Writer:

Taylor Sisk

Jeffrey Swanson, a professor in the Duke School of Medicine’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, offers an analogy for perceptions of mental health. “There’s this continuum between night and day, and there’s this moment, dusk, where you can’t really tell the difference between night and day.” Dusk suggests that there is no absolute of either; that it’s a question of degree.

April 28, 2014

THE CATALYST: In 2000, Congress passed legislation to create the Veterans History Project. Housed in the Library of Congress, the ongoing collection includes correspondence, audio narratives, and visual materials from veterans of every American war since World War I. Several years ago, Center for Documentary Studies instructor Michelle Lanier and then-visiting professor Elaine Lawless saw an opportunity to contribute to the project at duke.

Samantha Emmert helps Victoria Thayer examine a deceased dolphin.

April 28, 2014

“The rolling sand dunes and gentle waves of Emerald Isle are so picturesque that I almost forget why I am here: to conduct a necropsy on a stranded bottlenose dolphin,” wrote Samantha Emmert from the Duke Marine Lab in early 2014. Emmert spent her junior year researching an outbreak of morbillivirus epizootic, a measles-like virus that has ravaged dolphin populations along the Atlantic Coast since last summer.

February 27, 2014

An Alumni Faculty Fellow, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Chancey Stillman Professor of practical ethics in the philosophy department and the Kenan Institute for Ethics. His current work explores moral psychology and brain science, uses of neuroscience in legal systems, and freedom and responsibility. He co-teaches a MOOC, “Think Again: How to Reason and Argue.”

February 27, 2014

Athletes who suffer from torn-cartilage injuries may soon be in luck. Mimicking the strength and suppleness of natural cartilage is tricky, but Duke researchers have developed a synthetic version that comes pretty close to the real thing.

Articular cartilage, the tissue between bones and joints, enables us to bend body parts like elbows, hips, and knees. But overuse or injury can lead to wear-and-tear on cartilage, making movement painful and difficult.

February 27, 2014

Nearly 5,900 natural-gas leaks have been found under the streets of Washington by a research team from Duke, Boston University, and Gas Safety Inc. Some of the leaks could have posed explosion risks, according to the team.

“Repairing these leaks will improve air quality, increase consumer health and safety, and save money,” says Robert B. Jackson, a professor of environmental sciences, who led the study.

Vocal fry

February 18, 2014

Writer:

Scott Huler

By the time you finish reading this story you will have learned the following things: Men can hear fertility status in a woman’s voice—and they like it; a big, deep “me Tarzan” voice seems to help not just men but women succeed in politics and business; the pitch and tone of a CEO’s voice in a conference call may give you information about stock performance; women have it even tougher than you knew; and there may be evolutionary value in this whole “vocal fry” trend (think Kardashian end-of-s

Lawson and his colleagues implant the bioengineered blood vessel.

July 25, 2013

In a first-of-its-kind operation in the U.S., a team of Duke doctors helped create a bioengineered blood vessel and transplanted it into the arm of a patient with end-stage kidney disease.

The procedure, the first U.S. clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of the bioengineered blood vessel, is a milestone in the field of tissue engineering. The new vein is human cell-based product with no biological properties that would cause organ rejection.

Image of brain shaped like a heart

July 25, 2013

On the HGTV show House Hunters, prospective buyers choose from several home options. The final decision comes down not just to cost, but also to the emotional investment potential homeowners have in a particular property. That link between emotions and perceived value is powerful—and Duke researchers have discovered why.

Photos by Donn Young

May 14, 2013

Andrew Fontanella could be forgiven for wanting to be somewhere else. At six foot three, with a tousle of curly dark-brown hair that adds another inch or two, he looms above everyone else in this cramped second-floor classroom in the generically named Medical Sciences Research Building on Research Drive. It’s 11:30 on a windy Wednesday morning in March, and Fontanella keeps an eye on the clock.

May 14, 2013

1. It really is a popularity contest: Rhesus macaques that have large, strong social networks tend to belong to families of similarly amiable macaques. Not only that, but playing nice with others tends to yield greater reproductive success. A corollary shows that the most aggressive monkeys have greater reproductive success—but so do the most passive monkeys. The loser? The monkey in the middle.

May 14, 2013

Let’s face it: Warnings regarding teenage smoking are as earth-shattering as those about alcohol’s deleterious effects behind the wheel. But new research from a team of U.S., U.K., and New Zealand geneticists adds an interesting caveat to the common wisdom. It turns out that teenagers with high-risk genetic profiles for becoming heavy smokers are far more likely to become addicted to smoking and have a harder time quitting as adults than those without the same precondition.

February 13, 2013

In the ongoing struggle to find a better way to treat cancer, the hopes of doctors and patients have been buoyed recently by the revival of an old idea—using the body’s immune responses to attack tumors. But while immunotherapies have shown tantalizing promise, they’ve presented frustrating problems. In some cases, the immune system waged attack on healthy tissues and organs, as well.

February 13, 2013

Writer:

Tim Lucas

For millennia, African lions ruled a seemingly boundless kingdom, a sprawling, unbroken stretch of savannah onethird larger than the continental U.S. But today, 75 percent of that vast savannah is gone, and humans are fast chipping away at what remains. And Stuart Pimm is worried.

February 13, 2013

As winter recedes, millions of Americans renew their pledges to eat better and exercise more. And hundreds of scientists work to discover the keys to make those efforts more successful. Here’s the latest on what Duke researchers are learning about maintaining a healthy body:

February 13, 2013

Birds do it. People do it. Now, Duke researchers are convinced that mice, too, can learn how to imitate songs to woo a mate. The surprising conclusion comes from a team of Duke neurobiologists who observed that male mice imitate the ultrasonic squeakings of other males. The researchers identified certain features in a mouse’s brain that are similar to the parts of the brain humans and birds use to learn vocalization, which suggests mice can pick up a tune.

Illustrations by Arlen Schumer

February 13, 2013

One morning last semester, a Duke undergrad peeled off from a busy day on campus to hustle to a basement office in the Sociology- Psychology Building, where scientists were waiting to peer into her brain. Within minutes the slim first-year student, chic in a black-and-white shorts set, was sitting before a computer screen in a narrow, beige room. For more than an hour, her fingers clicked answers to hundreds of questions about her tastes, behaviors, quirks, and feelings.

Walking meditation: Stone labyrinth at Duke Integrative Medicine (Credit: Jon Gardiner)

February 13, 2013

Writer:

Bridget Booher

On Good Friday in 2009, Mary Ann Harrison made a phone call that changed her life.

Robert Lefkowitz [All photos by Chris Hildreth]

November 5, 2012

YOU’VE JUST WON THE NOBEL PRIZE.

Congratulations! So what’s the first thing you do?

August 8, 2012

 

Remember those not-too-distant days when people got excited about a camera with a couple of measly megapixels of resolution? Make way for the gigaage. Duke engineers have now developed a camera capable of capturing up to 50,000 megapixels—or fifty gigapixels—of data, five times better than perfect human sight.

Change of heart: Successful regeneration of damaged aortal tissue may have broader therapeutic applications. [Copyright: Dr. Fred Hossler/Visuals Unlimited/Corbis]

August 8, 2012

 

How do you mend a broken heart? Duke medical researchers think they have a new way, using the very scar tissue that forms after a heart attack.

Student Summan Mirza pets the tail of a flounder on an earlier night hike at Beaufort. [Katie Vo]

August 7, 2012

Dan Rittschof sweeps his scuba light across a sliver of the Neuse River. It’s 11:30 p.m., and he and his students are taking one last look across the water to see if any interesting creatures appear.

April 1, 2012

The days after the September 11 terror attacks—a period of high stress and anxiety for most Americans—turned out to be a relief for at least one group.

Whales in Canada’s Bay of Fundy experienced less stress during the period after the attacks, when ship traffic came to a standstill, according to new research from the Nicholas School of the Environment. The research team relates the change to reduced noise from ships during the temporary lull.

January 31, 2012

Tropical birds, trees may not be adapting fast enough to climate change.

January 31, 2012

 

Intestinal bacteria may determine whether statins lower cholesterol.

January 31, 2012

 

Software developed for mine dectection may held doctors spot cancer cells.

January 31, 2012

 

Study reveals surprises on teenage drug use.

Despite what television shows and prison incarceration records would have you believe, a new analysis of teenage drug use finds greater problems among whites, Native Americans, and Hispanics than among Asian and African-American teens.