School Notes

School Notes

A supplement to the Yale Alumni Magazine from the fourteen schools of Yale.

School of Architecture
Robert A. M. Stern, Dean

Religion and architecture in the Middle East

A symposium this month will focus on the intersection of religion and architecture in the Middle East. “Middle Ground/Middle East:
Religious Sites in Urban Contexts” will examine the connections between architecture and religion and the ways in which religious sites engage urban regeneration, economic growth, cultural identity, memory, and the limits of multiculturalism. Sessions will focus on the role of religious sites representing the three Abrahamic traditions in shaping urban environments in the Middle East. Recognizing that mosques, churches, synagogues, and other holy sites reflect patterns of social and cultural division, the symposium will address the layering of religious traditions, interfaith relationships, and practices of learning and tolerance. Taking place January 21 and 22, “Middle Ground/Middle East” will feature leading architects and scholars from a variety of fields and religious backgrounds, including the keynote speaker, Nasser Rabbat, the Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For more information, go to

Exhibition focuses on Kevin Roche

The first-ever retrospective of the work of Pritzker Prize–winning architect Kevin Roche will take place this spring in the YSA Gallery at Paul Rudolph Hall. “Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment” will be on view from February 7 through May 6. Designed by Dean Sakamoto and curated by Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen ’94MEnvD, the exhibition is organized into five thematic sections: Spaces for Display and Spectacle; Workspace and Workflow; Context and Community; The Greenhouse and the Garden; and Big, a selection of high rises by the firm. Roche, principal of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, is renowned for his designs of the Oakland Museum in Oakland, California (1961–69); the Ford Foundation headquarters building in New York (1963–66); the master plan and extension of the Metropolitan Museum (1967–present); and the Union Carbide world corporate headquarters building (1978–82). In conjunction with the exhibition, the YSA will hold a symposium, “Architecture as Environment: Kevin Roche and His Era,” February 17–20.

Dean Stern honored in New York City

The Historic Districts Council of New York City honored Dean Robert A. M. Stern ’65MArch in October with its Landmarks Lion Award. Since 1990, the award has been given to recognize “unusual devotion and aggressiveness” in protecting the historic buildings and neighborhoods of New York. “By designing so nimbly and writing so prolifically, Bob Stern has broadened minds and drawn attention to countless under-appreciated buildings,” HDC’s executive director Simeon Bankoff said in conferring the honor. Bankoff called Dean Stern “one of the most erudite, influential, and passionate Lions in the two-decade history of this award.


School of Art
Robert Storr, Dean

Local business exhibits student art

The Study at Yale—a hotel on Chapel Street across from the School of Art’s Green Hall—recently created an art gallery in its lobby as a venue for School of Art students to display their work. The Aisling Gallery—aisling is the Gaelic word for dreamor vision—will show the work of one student at a time for a period of six weeks each. The hotel will also hold opening night receptions for each artist and provide each a $250 credit voucher at Hull’s Art Supply store.

Works by emeritus professor on view at Whitney Center

An exhibition at the Whitney Humanities Center features works on paper by American artist William Bailey ’55BFA, ’57MFA, the Kingman Brewster Professor Emeritus of Art. Bailey is a widely exhibited American figurative painter known especially for his still lifes and portraits, which are painted entirely from memory or imagination. His works appear in collections worldwide, including those of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC. Bailey studied with Josef Albers at Yale, was a professor of art from 1969 to 1995, and served as acting dean of the School of Art in the mid-1970s. “William Bailey Works on Paper” is on view through January 28.


Yale College
Mary E. Miller, Dean

University ranked second in number of Fulbright Scholars

In October, the Chronicle of Higher Education announced that Yale ranked second in the nation in the publication’s rankings of top producers of U.S. Fulbright Scholars for 2010–2011. A total of 31 Yalies received awards, placing Yale behind only the University of Michigan, with 44 Fulbright winners. (The two institutions were equal in percentages, with just over one-quarter of each university’s total applicant pool receiving grants.)

Undergraduate Fulbright winners this year (16 students, or just over half of the university’s recipients) were announced by the Institute of International Education in July. They are: Presca Eun Jee Ahn, Branford College ’10 (journalism, United Kingdom); Elias Bildner, Davenport College ’10 (economic development, China); Kathleen Borschow, Branford College ’10 (English teaching assistantship, Spain); Gabriel Boorstyn Friedman, Saybrook College ’10 (English teaching assistantship, Brazil); Danielle Kehl, Timothy Dwight College ’10 (English teaching assistantship, Rwanda); Amy Larsen, Calhoun College ’10 (English teaching assistantship, Korea); Adrian Latortue, Silliman College ’10 (urban planning, Vietnam); Michael Leibenluft, Davenport College ’10 (theater studies, China); Zachary Marks, Saybrook College ’10 (English teaching assistantship, India); Jakara Mato, Branford College ’10 (education, Italy); Olga L. Pagan, Morse College ’10 (English teaching assistantship, Venezuela); Molly V. Perkins, Silliman College ’10 (English teaching assistantship, Russia); Harold Wesley Phillips, Timothy Dwight College ’10 (biology, Argentina); Sonia Singhal, Morse College ’10 (biology, France); Daniel Townsend, Calhoun College ’10 (political science, China); and Michael Vishnevetsky, Branford College ’10 (biology, Malaysia).

Junior faculty receive prizes

In October, the Yale College dean’s office announced this year’s recipients of its annual fall prizes for junior faculty members’ research, teaching, and writing. The six professors honored for 2010–2011 are:

Hong Tang (electrical engineering), for his work in spintronics, nanoelectromechanical systems, and nano-optomechanics; and Chinedum Osuji (chemical engineering), for his research on the structure and dynamics of soft materials: the Arthur Greer Memorial Prize, which recognizes outstanding research in the natural or social sciences.

Gundula Kreuzer (music), for her article, “‘Oper im Kirchengewande?’ Verdi’s Requiem and the Anxieties of the Young German Empire,” and her book expanding on its themes, Verdi and the Germans: From Unification to the Third Reich; and Brian Walsh (English), for his work, Shakespeare, the Queen’s Men, and the Elizabethan Performance of History:the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication.

Jonathan Gilmore (philosophy), for his teaching in Directed Studies, the Shulman Seminar, and the program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics, and his courses including Biology, Evolution, & Culture and Freedom of Expression; and Kathryn Lofton (religious studies), for her popular, engaging, and intensive classes, her dynamic approach to pedagogy, and the deep interdisciplinary resources she utilizes in her teaching and scholarship: the Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching.

To read more of the latest news from Yale College, with updated information online weekly, visit


Divinity School
Harold W. Attridge, Dean

Alumna to lead international organization

Christine Housel ’01MDiv is the new general secretary of the World Student Christian Federation, an international organization founded in 1895 that nurtured many of the leaders who later founded the World Council of Churches. The WSCF describes itself as committed to “dialogue, ecumenism, social justice, and peace” and constructive transformation “across boundaries of culture, gender, and ethnicity.” “I’m honored to lead this unique international community of Christian students that has been a prophetic voice to church and society for generations,” Housel said after the announcement of her appointment by the WSCF Executive Committee on November 4. “Leading the WSCF, I hope to further mobilize students in sharing their experiences of challenge and transformation, and to strategize together for change in our communities and the world.” An Episcopalian, Housel has spent the last 12 years living and working in Germany, China, France, and Switzerland, and has served as project manager at the WSCF international office in Geneva since 2008.

YDS students tour Saudi Arabia

At the invitation of key Arab leaders, 12 Yale Divinity students took part in a cultural tour of Saudi Arabia last October, accompanied by Lamin Sanneh, the D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity and director of the World Christianity Initiative at Yale, and Omer Bajwa, Yale’s coordinator of Muslim life. “Arabia isn’t my holy land, for sure, but on that final evening our trip felt a bit like a pilgrimage,” wrote one of the students, Eric Tipler ’12MDiv. “Islam is not Christianity, and Saudi Arabia is radically different from the United States. It is also, however, a country of people who, like many of us, are struggling to live out their faith in a modern, changing world. … The humane kindness of our hosts—and the fact that we, a Christian delegation, were there—left me hopeful that, in the long term, our similarities will outweigh our differences and that peace will prevail over a clash of civilizations. Our future, I think, depends on it.”

Tony Blair and YDS faculty discuss foundation work

Former British prime minister Tony Blair met with Yale Divinity School faculty on October 7 at the dean’s residence to discuss the interfaith work of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and how that work might intersect with Yale Divinity School interests. Blair teaches a course at Yale—Faith and Globalization—and the foundation has offices on Sterling Divinity Quadrangle. “Discussion included theoretical topics, such as whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and practical issues, such as strategies for dealing with issues of faith and globalization,” said Dean Harold W. Attridge. Blair also reflected on his time at Yale and what he had learned from teaching the Faith and Globalization seminar, launched in 2008 as part of a three-year effort to consider the engagement of religious faith in globalization issues. Co-teaching the course, which is open to Yale undergraduates as well as graduate and professional students, is Miroslav Volf, director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology.


School of Drama
James Bundy, Dean

Music theater initiative enters third season

Now in its third year, the Yale Institute for Music Theatre will select three original works from recent submissions to receive workshops in New Haven in June. Established jointly by the School of Drama and the School of Music, the Yale Institute for Music Theatre seeks to identify distinctive and original book musical, opera, and experimental/non-traditional music theater works by emerging composers and writers, and match them with directors, music directors, and actors/singers who can help them further develop their work. By limiting production resources and values, the workshops keep the focus on the creative process of the artistic team.

Selections for the inaugural season in 2009 were the book musicals sam i was with book, music, and lyrics by Sam Wessels, and POP! with book and lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman and music by Anna K. Jacobs; and the opera Invisible Cities with score and libretto by Christopher Cerrone ’09MusM, ’10MUSAM. In 2010, The Daughters, with music and libretto by Shaina Taub, and Stuck Elevator, with music by Byron Au Yong and libretto by Aaron Jafferis, were workshopped.

Yale Rep’s Notes from Underground travels to California, New York

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, adapted by Bill Camp and Robert Woodruff, and directed by Woodruff, was commissioned by and had its world premiere at Yale Rep in March 2009. Featuring OBIE Award–winning actor Bill Camp in the central role of the Underground Man, the acclaimed production recently had its West Coast premiere at La Jolla Playhouse in September. Notes from Underground then traveled back east for its New York debut, presented Off-Broadway by Theatre for a New Audience in association with Baryshnikov Arts Center, in November.

Drama School and Yale Rep join anti-bullying campaign

Students, faculty, staff, and guest artists at the School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre recently added their voices to the It Gets Better Project, which benefits the Trevor Project and GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. The It Gets Better Project was founded in September by writer Dan Savage in response to the alarming number of recent reported cases of LGBTQ youths taking their own lives after being bullied at school. Savage initially encouraged the LGBTQ community to share their own stories of surviving bullying on the It Gets Better YouTube channel as a way of letting young people know they are not alone and to give them hope that itwill get better for them, too. Some 6,000 videos have been posted so far.

More than half of the YSD/YRT community of students, faculty, staff, and guest artists participated in the taping, which took place primarily on November 1: some shared personal stories, others gathered together as a group at Yale Rep to tape the message that concludes the video. A reflection of the diversity< the drama community celebrates, participants brought their own unique perspectives and experiences to the project; all were united by a shared sense of compassion and tolerance. View the video at


School of Engineering & Applied Science
T. Kyle Vanderlick, Dean

White House honors professor for work on artficial vision

President Obama has awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers to Eugenio Culurciello, associate professor of electrical engineering. The awards represent the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers early in their careers. Culurciello, who joined the Yale faculty in 2004 after completing a doctoral degree at Johns Hopkins University, was recognized for his work on biomedical instrumentation for use in cellular biology and recording brain activity, as well as the development of bio-inspired synthetic vision systems. Unlike most of the award recipients, who are just starting out in their careers, Culurciello has already achieved concrete results after working for the past three years with the Office of Naval Research, which nominated him for the award.

Bar code for Alzheimer’s disease

Assistant professor of biomedical engineering Rong Fan recently received a New Investigator Award from the Alzheimer’s Association for “Assessing Heterogeneity of Alzheimer’s Disease Using Integrated Microchips.” Fan, who has been developing diagnostic nanotechnologies for the past few years, will extend the novel bar code chips he developed for cancer research to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The most common form of dementia, AD afflicts as many as 5.3 million Americans. There is no cure, treatment is limited, and its causes are not well understood. However, Fan believes that recent studies indicating that AD is not only a neurological disease, but also an inflammatory disease may be important for advancing diagnostics and even providing personalized treatment.

Fan plans to develop a microchip platform to analyze AD-associated signaling molecules drawn from a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid, separate and purify the samples, and create bar code displays to measure the proteins that are disease indicators. Made of only plastics and glass, Fan’s microchips are disposable, portable, and inexpensive, and thus represent a practical tool for large-scale clinical trials and point-of-care uses. Fan’s work will focus first on fabricating the microchip and establishing a protein panel appropriate for examining the signaling network in the AD microenvironment. Once this is done, Fan will begin analyzing patient samples, in collaboration with Yale–New Haven Hospital, to obtain data on disease diversity, which may ultimately be used for detection and stratification of AD in a clinical setting.

Engineering magazine available online

The second edition of Yale Engineering came out in late November and is available in digital format on the SEAS website. This year’s interactive, digital-format magazine features the Department of Biomedical Engineering’s extensive contribution to the field of medical imaging, while also highlighting several of the research advancements Yale engineering has made over the past year.


School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Peter Crane, Dean

Research study to examine sustainable development in Singapore

In a collaboration with the National University of Singapore, the environment school will conduct a study that will make recommendations for the sustainable development of Singapore. The Urban Metabolism Study will estimate and map the flow of materials and energy in the Jurong Lake District, which was created in 2008 and is under long-term development, and explore how land-use planning can incorporate resource-conservation strategies to minimize the use of, conserve, and recover scarce resources. It will also recommend strategies to optimize the use of raw materials and energy to achieve a more sustainable urban environment.

The three-year study will be conducted in collaboration with Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and Housing Development Board, and is supported by a $400,000 grant from Singapore’s Ministry of National Development Research Fund. It will be led by Kua Harn Wei, an assistant professor in the Department of Building at the NUS School of Design and Environment, and Marian Chertow ’81MPPM, ’00PhD, associate professor of industrial environmental management at the environment school.

Journal highlights environmental aspects of ICT

A special issue of Yale’s Journal of Industrial Ecology explores new environmental applications of information and communication technology (ICT) that could save society significant amounts of energy and money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Environmental Applications of ICT” examines recent advances in these technologies, including social networking, Web 2.0, smart energy monitoring, and geographic information systems, with possible applications in home, industrial, and municipal energy systems.

The Journal of Industrial Ecology is a peer-reviewed, international bimonthly journal that examines the relationship between industry and the environment from the perspective of the emerging field of industrial ecology. It is owned by Yale University, headquartered at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and published by Wiley-Blackwell.

Heat wave deaths highest in early summer

The risk of dying from a heat wave is highest when heat waves occur early in the summer and are hotter and longer than usual, according to an environment school study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP). Michelle Bell, associate professor of environmental health, and Brooke Anderson, a postdoctoral researcher, examined the instances of deaths during heat waves in 43 U.S. cities over a 19-year period, from 1987 to 2005. They found a 5 percent increased risk of mortality during the first heat wave of a summer, compared with those occurring later in the season. Bell said that people may be less accustomed to the heat early in the summer and may not protect themselves against it, and that people most vulnerable to heat waves may succumb during the first one of the season. The study also found that the risk of mortality was greater in the Northeast and Midwest than in the South. Bell said that even though it’s hotter in the South, the risk of dying may be lower because air conditioning is more prevalent and people are more acclimated to the heat.


Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Jon Butler, Dean

Graduate School lectures

Debra Fischer, professor of astronomy and geology & geophysics, presented the first of this year’s “In the Company of Scholars” lectures on November 18. Her topic was “Searching for Other Earths.” Fischer has discovered more than 100 planets orbiting nearby stars. Her research makes use of telescopes around the world, including the giant 10-meter Keck telescope in Hawaii. Most of the new worlds that have been discovered are planets similar to Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune in our solar system. However, Fischer is leading an effort to find small rocky planets, similar to Earth, orbiting our closest neighbors: two stars in the Alpha Centauri system.

The next talk in the series, “The Flattened Greek Vase,” will be presented by Milette Gaifman, assistant professor of classics and the history of art, on February 24. Gaifman’s research focuses primarily on Greek religious art and the relationship between art and ritual. The final lecture in the series, “Is There the Courage to Change the American Diet?” features Kelly Brownell, professor of psychology and epidemiology & public health, and founding director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Graduate School alumni, faculty, students, staff members, and their guests are welcome to attend these lectures.

A dozen Whiting fellows

Twelve Yale graduate students have been granted Whiting fellowships this year. Funded by the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, Whiting fellowships are given to students at seven universities in the United States that have outstanding graduate programs in the humanities, and are among the most prestigious awards given to advanced graduate students nationwide. At Yale, a faculty committee appointed by the dean selects the very best students from among those nominated by their departments for this honor. Among this year’s Whiting Fellows are four who are writing dissertations in the English department, two in comparative literature, two in both Renaissance studies and English, one in history, one in philosophy, and one studying both African American studies and history. They were honored at a dinner hosted by Dean Thomas Pollard in October.

Bringing philosophy to high school students

Not many public high schools offer courses in philosophy, but students in New Haven are luckier than most, thanks to a pair of Yale graduate students. Philosophy students Gaurav Vazirani and Arik Ben-avi created an outreach program last year at Hill Career Regional High School, where they taught an after-school pilot course funded by the Graduate School. This year they received a grant from the Squire Foundation to continue the project. They are currently teaching critical thinking skills and topics such as the ethical implications of cyberbullying. Graduate student Kelley Schiffman is working with Gaurav and Arik this year and will take over leadership of the course next year.


Law School
Robert Post, Dean

Expanding legal writing instruction

The Law School has recently expanded its legal writing program in a number of innovative ways. In 2009, Noah Messing ’00JD left his job as counsel for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton ’73JD to join Rob Harrison ’73JD as Yale Law’s second legal writing instructor. His writing courses, like Harrison’s iconic Advanced Legal Writing, take students beyond basic competence to excellence in legal writing. Several distinguished federal judges are helping train students in writing as well. U.S. District judge Mark Kravitz led a brief-writing course for first-years and co-teaches—with Senior Judge John Walker ’62 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit—an upper-level seminar on how to write briefs and argue cases in federal courts. Judge Walker is also meeting directly with first-years, offering custom feedback on their writing and giving advice to their teaching assistants. “Can you imagine being a first-semester law student and having a sitting Second Circuit judge evaluate your legal writing skills?” said Dean Robert Post ’77JD. “It’s pretty exciting.” The latest innovations supplement a program that was already working well and ensure that students are able to get more feedback on their writing from more sources.

Faculty appointed to named professorships

Richard Brooks has been named the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and Daniel Markovits ’91, ’00JD, has been named the Guido Calabresi Professor of Law. Brooks joined the Yale Law School faculty in 2003 as an associate professor of law. His areas of expertise are law and economics, contracts, business organizations, and race and the law. He previously taught at Northwestern University School of Law and in Cornell University’s Department of Policy Analysis and Management. Markovits joined the Yale Law School faculty in 2001 as an associate professor of law, after clerking for the Honorable Guido Calabresi ’53, ’58LLB, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was named a professor of law in 2007. He works in the areas of the philosophical foundations of private law, moral and political philosophy, and behavioral economics, and has written extensively on contract law and legal ethics.

Students hear Arizona immigration case argued live

Yale Law School students are taking part in an educational initiative of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in which the court sends live streaming video of its arguments to participating law schools around the country. On November 1, about 30 students gathered to watch oral arguments in USA v. State of Arizona, a highly publicized case concerning the constitutionality of Arizona’s contested immigration law. Clinical professors Mike Wishnie ’87, ’93JD, and Muneer Ahmad acted as moderators for the viewing, the first of three planned for the semester. After watching with students, they provided commentary and answered questions. “We were able to discuss not only the substance of the arguments made by each side and the political context of the case, but the backgrounds, demeanor, and questioning of the judges, the lawyers’ manner of presentation, and their strategic choices and blunders,” said Ahmad. “The video stream provided a great opportunity for students to engage with both the law and the lawyering in this important case.” Other scheduled viewings include Perry v. Schwarzenegger (Proposition 8 same-sex marriage) and Log Cabin Republicans v. USA (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell).


School of Management
Sharon Oster, Dean

Library in new SOM campus will be state-of-the-art

The library in the new SOM complex will be a state-of-the-art facility supporting teaching and research and will be located at the front of the building in proximity to classrooms, giving it a pivotal place in the new SOM campus. Support for the new campus was received recently with a $10 million pledge from Wilbur L. Ross ’59, CEO and chairman of WL Ross & Co. LLC. Ross’s gift, among the largest from an individual in support of the new campus, is being directed toward construction of the new library. “When I was an undergraduate at Yale, my father died, and Yale was a beacon that provided financial support,” said Ross. “This is a good opportunity to give something back. Since joining the Yale SOM board, I have become convinced that the quality of both faculty and students is world-class and that they deserve a campus of equal quality.”

Prospective students experience SOM

Each fall, scores of prospective students travel to Yale SOM for Explore Diversity, a two-day event that provides an in-depth look into the Yale MBA program. Attendees sit in on a mock class, hear alumni talk about their experiences, learn about career opportunities for SOM students, and meet current students and faculty. Explore Diversity is designed to provide prospective students a compact but full view of life at SOM. This year’s participants attended an admissions presentation, a panel with current students discussing life at SOM, and a cocktail reception with faculty and students, and heard an address from Dean Sharon Oster, in which she explained the school’s mission to educate leaders for business and society and stressed how important diversity is in accomplishing it. “Embracing diversity isn’t an add-on for us,” she said. “It’s central to our education process.”

CEO leadership summits held in Asia

For more than 20 years the Chief Executive Leadership Institute has been bringing together many of the world’s top CEOs to discuss pressing issues facing business leaders across the globe. In 2010 the 64th and 65th Yale CEO Leadership Summits were held in Mumbai and Shanghai, marking the growing importance of India and China to the global economy. At each event, scores of top CEOs from the United States, Europe, and Asia met to discuss the theme “Leading Global Enterprises Across Global Cities: Aspirations, Realities, and Alternatives.” At each summit, the institute presented its “Legend in Leadership Award” to an outstanding CEO: Yin Mingshan, founder and chairman of the Lifan Group, in China, and Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons, in India.


School of Medicine
Robert J. Alpern, Dean

Two Yale researchers honored for ‘exceptional creativity’

Tamas Horvath, chair and professor of comparative medicine, and Haifan Lin, director of the Yale Stem Cell Center, have received 2010 Pioneer Awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Pioneer Awards have been given annually since 2004 to scientists “of exceptional creativity who propose pioneering—and possibly transforming—approaches to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research.” With the new grant, Lin will study how piRNAs, a class of small RNAs discovered in his lab, guide epigenetic factors to specific points within the genome. He ultimately hopes to compile information on epigenetic effects of small RNAs in the first “functional epigenome map.” Horvath, co-director of the School of Medicine’s recently launched Program in Integrative Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism, is an expert on the effects of metabolism on higher brain functions. Horvath has proposed that a small set of cells in the brain’s hypothalamus known as AgRP neurons are master regulators of energy utilization in all the body’s tissues. With his Pioneer Award, he will study how AgRP regulation of the cellular energy metabolism of various tissues affects the health and longevity of those tissues, and thus the life span of the entire organism. Perturbations in AgRP function could contribute to many late-onset chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer. Each researcher will receive a $2.5 million grant as well as additional laboratory support over five years.

New program in biomedical ethics

The School of Medicine is launching a new Program for Biomedical Ethics, which will be directed by Mark R. Mercurio, associate professor of pediatrics. Biomedical ethics is a subject of great interest to students and of increasing importance to medicine, as technological advances and other influences on health care add complexity to the decision-making of physicians and their colleagues. The new program will coordinate and augment educational and other scholarly work in biomedical ethics at the medical school and create international visibility for work in biomedical ethics at Yale through publications, working groups, and other initiatives. The program will provide support to medical students pursuing research in biomedical ethics for their thesis work, and will also assist students in graduate school and postdoctoral training programs. Mercurio, an associate director of Yale’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, received his MD from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1982 and trained at Yale as a resident and fellow. An accomplished neonatologist, he received his master’s degree in philosophy from Brown University in 2004 and has for many years taught medical ethics to Yale residents, fellows, and medical students.


School of Music
Robert Blocker, Dean

Carnegie Hall concerts highlight guitar, percussion

The Yale in New York series opened in November with a program of contemporary Yale guitar music in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. All the composers on the program were Yale alumni and/or faculty: Kathryn Alexander, Ezra Laderman, Aaron Jay Kernis ’83Mus, Martin Bresnick, Ingram Marshall, David Lang ’83MUSAM, Jack Vees, Samuel Adams ’10MusM, and Benjamin Verdery. The performers included Verdery as well as his students from the Yale School of Music.

In December, the series presented the Yale Percussion Group with faculty director Robert van Sice. In Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, the ensemble played four works from the late twentieth century: Thierry de Mey’s Musique de Tables, Steve Reich’sSextet, James Wood’s Village Burial with Fire, and Mauricio Kagel’s theatrical Dressur.

Yale Opera to perform in Europe

Yale Opera students will have two international performances this year. In February, students will travel to Milan, Italy, to perform Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. In April, singers will take part in a concert performance and recording of Donizetti’s Maria Padilla as a part of the 2011 Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw, Poland.

Back home, Yale Opera’s annual run at the Shubert Theater is a brand-new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, conducted by Giuseppe Grazioli and directed by Sam Helfrich. The production, to be performed February 11 through 13, features set design by Andrew Holland ’98MFA, costume design by Kaye Voyce, and lighting design by William Warfel ’55, ’57MFA.

Saturday Seminars continue

The school’s Saturday Seminars continue this year with a focus on career development for musicians. In these workshops, students and experts in the field take part in lively discussions on important issues related to pursuing careers in music. The September seminar examined music entrepreneurship in a variety of settings within the broad field of music. The presenters discussed practical career considerations and the variety of options open to students, as well as the financial and tax implications of various kinds of work in music. The November session explored modes of community engagement in different career paths. Other seminars will explore funding for the arts, digital media, and other areas. All seminars are streamed live and on-demand at


School of Nursing
Margaret Grey, Dean

YSN PhD program ranked in top five nationally

The PhD program in nursing at Yale University is ranked in the top five in the nation among doctoral programs in nursing, according to ratings released by the National Research Council (NRC). The rankings by the NRC used a new and rigorous methodology that contains some of the most thorough measures ever collected on doctoral programs nationwide. It is the first ranking of PhD programs by NRC in 15 years and the first time nursing has been included. “This is really great news for our doctoral program,” added Nancy Reynolds, professor and director of the YSN PhD program. “This demonstrates recognition of nursing’s development as a field of scientific inquiry with established areas of doctoral research and characteristics of excellence.”

Diers named nursing “Living Legend”

Donna Diers ’64MSN, former dean at YSN, has been named a 2010 Living Legend by the Ameºrican Academy of Nursing (AAN). The ceremony for this year’s honorees was held on November 11 in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the AAN annual conference and meeting. The AAN’s highest recognition, the Living Legend designation is awarded to distinguished leaders in nursing. Diers was honored for her leadership in the development of clinical nursing research, graduate entry into advanced practice, and the use of data to determine outcomes of nursing care. Diers is the Annie W. Goodrich Professor Emerita and lecturer in nursing at Yale and serves as senior clinical coordinator in the Decision Support program within the Yale–New Haven Health System. She also holds adjunct professorships at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, and the University of Sydney. Diers served as dean of YSN from 1972 to 1985 and has worked in New Zealand for many years. See video of Diers receiving her award at

Research group to address diversity in HIV/AIDS research

A new research education institute at Yale will address the documented shortage of HIV/AIDS researchers from underrepresented groups. Developed as a partnership that includes YSN, the Institute for Community Research, and the University of Connecticut’s Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention, the Research Education Institute for Diverse Scholars is designed to provide scholars from underrepresented racial, ethnic, disabled, and economic groups with the skills and experience needed to become successful HIV researchers. “There is a compelling need to close the existing gaps in mentoring and theory-driven research education for new investigators in these specific groups,” said Barbara Guthrie, associate dean for academic affairs at YSN and one of the founders of the program. The Institute, funded with a $1.3 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, will be housed at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) at Yale.


School of Public Health
Paul D. Cleary, Dean

Exercise associated with reduced risk of endometrial cancer

Women who routinely perform moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise for 2.5 hours or more weekly have a significantly reduced risk of endometrial cancer, new research by the Yale School of Public Health has discovered. The study examined hundreds of women and found that those who exercised at least 150 minutes weekly—which could be something as simple as moderate-paced walking—had a 34 percent reduced risk of endometrial cancer compared with their sedentary peers. This association was particularly pronounced among active women with a body mass index (BMI) less than 25, where the reduction in risk was 73 percent, compared with inactive women with a BMI greater than 25. “Public health programs should encourage physical activity for those who have the highest risk of endometrial cancer,” said Hannah Arem, a doctoral student and one of the paper’s authors.

Downs Fellows discuss international research projects

A dozen Downs Fellows from the School of Public Health joined colleagues from the schools of medicine and nursing to present the results of their international research at an annual symposium and poster session that drew a capacity crowd. Dean Paul D. Cleary noted that the fellowship’s endowment continues to grow through donations and that the number of fellowships has risen by about a third over the last decade. The Downs International Health Student Travel Fellowship, more commonly known as the Downs Fellowship, honors Wilbur Downs (1913–1991), a professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale. Founded in 1966, the fellowship has sponsored more than 400 international research projects by Yale students in low- and middle-income countries.

Study will focus on liver cancer

While liver cancer remains relatively uncommon in the United States, its incidence has been steadily increasing; and for those afflicted with the disease the prospects for survival are very grim. In what is believed to be the first population-based study of its type in the United States, a Yale School of Public Health research team will examine the genetic and environmental factors associated with the deadly disease. The multiyear study is funded with a $6.98 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.

The incidence of liver cancer in the United States has nearly doubled since 1980 and there is evidence that factors such as infection with hepatitis viruses, especially hepatitis C virus, obesity, and alcohol consumption are contributing to the increase, said Herbert Yu, an associate professor at the School of Public Health and the study’s principal investigator. “If the link between lifestyle and liver cancer risk is true, then more people will face this devastating disease in the future if we do not change our lifestyle in diet and physical exercise,” he said.



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