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

Building project faced unique challenges

Students working on the 2010 Vlock Building Project were faced with several challenges—including a considerably smaller budget than the last two projects enjoyed—which required them to be especially inventive in their design. Early in the design process, the remains of another building were discovered buried on the lot. Rather than excavating the rubble, designers placed the entire house at the back of the property, leaving the front for extensive landscaping. A low brick wall fronts the property and relates the house to others on the street. Cost-saving measures included limiting the building’s footprint to about 900 square feet (which meant a more affordable foundation), and leaving existing deciduous trees behind the house (to help cool the house in the summer and warm it in winter). The Vlock Building Project provides graduate students in architecture with the opportunity to design and build a structure as an integral part of their education. The 43-year-old program is responsible for some 22 student-designed homes in New Haven.

Yale’s architecture archives continue to expand

This past September, Yale University became the legal owner of the archives of architect Charles Gwathmey ’62MArch, adding to a small but impressive collection that includes the papers of Eero Saarinen ’34BFA, Dean Robert A. M. Stern ’65MArch, and former dean Cesar Pelli. The archives of American architect and urban theorist Stanley Tigerman ’61MArch are expected in the near future. These collections, which include such documents as the architects’ drawings, notes, plans, models, and related materials, provide unique perspectives on the lives and work of the architects, as well as firsthand sources for study and scholarship. The university began collecting architectural archives about ten years ago through the Yale University Library’s Manuscripts & Archives division.

Exhibition celebrates professor’s legacy

An exhibition in the gallery at Paul Rudolph Hall offers a rare glimpse of a towering figure of twentieth-century architecture through the prism of his former students’ work. “An Architect’s Legacy: James Stirling’s Students at Yale, 1959–1983” features hundreds of architectural drawings by some 70 School of Architecture alumni who studied with Stirling when he taught at Yale in 1959 and from 1966 to 1984 as the Davenport Visiting Professor of Design. Among the former students whose work is on display are Robert Finkle ’60MArch, Craig Hodgetts ’67MArch, George Turnbull ’74MArch, Louise Braverman ’77MArch, Robert Kahn ’80MArch, Frank Lupo ’82MArch, and Marion Weiss ’84MArch. A video documentary accompanying the show offers an oral history of Stirling’s teaching at Yale. “An Architect’s Legacy” is on view through February 11, 2011.


School of Art
Robert Storr, Dean

Lecture series reaches across disciplines

A lecture series inaugurated this fall is bringing in speakers to discuss issues that affect students in all the four departments at the School of Art: painting/printmaking, sculpture, photography, and graphic design. The series is part of a movement to bring together the various media and encourage interaction among the traditionally siloed disciplines. The Monday Night Lecture Series is held in 36 Edgewood and features such speakers as Marie Lorenz ’02MFA, Peter Galassi, and Bill Berkson.

Faculty make do for fall show

In the spirit of past “Making Do” shows, School of Art faculty were invited to take part in a fall exhibition that emphasized aesthetic vitality and modest means. “Hands Off/Hands On” offered faculty the opportunity to exhibit an existing work or create a new one—with total freedom in method, format, and medium—and to “do more with less while casting fate to the winds,” according to associate dean Sam Messer, who curated the show. “Hands Off/Hands On” was on view through November 8.


Yale College
Mary E. Miller, Dean

Two cultural centers begin school year with new leadership

The College welcomed two new assistant deans at the start of this academic year to direct the Native American Cultural Center and the Afro-American Cultural Center.

Theodore (“Ted”) Van Alst Jr., who took over as director of the Native American Cultural Center, came to Yale from the University of Connecticut, where he was an assistant professor of English and modern and classical languages as well as an adviser, program leader, and strategic planner. Known as a wise and caring counselor to students on matters academic, cultural, and personal, Dean Van Alst speaks Spanish, French, Italian, German, Lakota, and Gullah, and has a special research interest in Native American cinema. He quickly immersed himself in the diverse interests and activities of the center and is anxious to highlight what he calls “the many facets of Native academic, social, and cultural developments.”

The new director of the Afro-American Cultural Center, Rodney Cohen, previously served as director of Presbyterian College’s office of multicultural student affairs and office of student activities. Prior to that he held positions at Notre Dame, University of Texas, North Carolina A&T State University, and Fisk University. In his previous work, he administered college-wide diversity programs, managed registered undergraduate organizations and student centers, and supervised multicultural student associations—experiences that positioned him well to continue the extensive outreach and partnerships that have long been a hallmark of “The House.” At the Afro-American Cultural Center, Dean Cohen is building on his past efforts to foster collaboration among areas including admissions, alumni affairs, faculty councils, academic programming, and development. A major goal, he said, has been “to create a seamless transition of leadership at the cultural center, while providing significant support and leadership of select programs within the Yale College dean’s office.”


Divinity School
Harold W. Attridge, Dean

Misusing the name of God for violent and divisive purposes

The Societas Homiletica, the international guild of scholars in homiletics, capped a busy summer on Sterling Divinity Quadrangle with its biennial conference, centered on the topic “Picturing God in a Fragmented World.” The theme emerged from a major issue that preachers and homileticians say they are encountering no matter where they are located: the misuse of the name of God for violent and divisive purposes. Emilie Townes, associate dean of academic affairs and the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology, a keynote speaker, said, “Colleagues, let’s stretch into our ministries (lay and ordained and beyond)—discover anew what a love of God and all of creation can and must mean when it is grounded in grace. … Sit down and play with the holy sand God has given you. … We must step into the places where the realities of diversity, difference, disagreement, harmony, hope, justice all exist as we seek out and try to live in genuine partnerships that are diverse, thoughtful, challenging, and strategic.”

YDS students garner prestigious awards

Three YDS students have been awarded major fellowships, two for work on the environment and one for poetry. Chosen for the 2010 class of environmental fellows by the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation are Stephen Blackmer ’12MDiv and Michelle Lewis ’13MDiv. Blackmer hopes to do ecology ministry as a priest in the Episcopal church, and Lewis is pursuing a dream to combine her interests in the environment, media, and pop culture to create her own nonprofit that would engage church groups in environmental issues. Nate Klug ’13MDiv is among five poets nationwide between the ages of 21 and 31 to be selected as a 2010 Ruth Lilly Fellowship winner. “My poems reflect two (perhaps contradictory) commitments,” says Klug. “First, I hope that my poems demonstrate care—care about their use of language, and care towards the poems’ subjects outside of language. … Second, I hope that my poems demonstrate abandonment, a relinquishment of human control over outcomes which poetry, unlike so many other ways of relating, can afford us.”

Faculty member teams with cosmologist on Journey of the Universe

YDS senior lecturer Mary Evelyn Tucker is partnering with cosmologist Brian Swimme on an ambitious multimedia project that aims to convey the nature of our physical world by tapping the perspectives of a multitude of disciplines, from astronomy to theology and religious history. The central component of the project is a film entitled Journey of the Universe,set for release in 2011. Already there is a website,, that gives visitors a taste of the film project’s breadth, including a video preview. A companion book is set to be published in 2011 by Yale University Press. An educational series will give the project further resonance in high schools, colleges, and divinity schools, according to Tucker. In June, PBS affiliate KQED in San Francisco is planning to give Journey of the Universe a broad debut in the United States’ sixth largest television market. “With the collective efforts of many people, including the voices of many Christian communities, we would hope to begin to reverse the exploitative worldview that dispenses with ecosystems and people in wanton ways,” Tucker observed. “New forms of eco-justice need to arise within the Christian churches to respond to this crisis that holds hostage the future of life itself.”


School of Drama
James Bundy, Dean

Playwright honored with Steinberg Award

Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Lynn Nottage ’89MFA, lecturer in the playwriting department at the drama school, is the recipient of the 2010 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award in recognition of her body of work. The $200,000 award from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, presented every other year, is the most lucrative prize in theater. It was established in 2008 to honor the artistic achievement of an American playwright whose body of work has made significant contributions to the American theater. The first honoree, that year, was Tony Kushner. Nottage is the author of Ruined, for which she received the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, as well as Intimate ApparelMud, River, StoneCrumbs from the Table of Joy (seen at Yale Rep in 1998); and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, which will debut at Second Stage Theatre in New York this spring.

Professor’s book wins library association prize

The Theatre Library Association has chosen The American Play: 1787–2000 as the winner of its George Freedley Memorial Award Special Jury Prize. The book, written by Marc Robinson ’90MFA, ’92DFA, professor of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism, was published by Yale University Press last year and has since garnered numerous honors and awards. The George Freedley Memorial Award was established in 1968 in honor of the first curator of the New York Public Library’s Theatre Collection and first president of the Theatre Library Association, and recognizes exceptional scholarship published or distributed in the United States during the previous calendar year that examines some aspect of live theater or performance.


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

Transforming technology—leader in design

Designing a robotic hand that can both pick up and manipulate small objects, like pens or coins, and powerfully grasp larger objects, such as hammers and cups, is no easy task. But the creative approach taken by Aaron Dollar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, has earned him a place on the list of the 2010 Young Innovators Under 35 by Technology Review. Each year, the magazine selects 35 young leaders whose work is “transforming technology” and shaping the future. Dollar joins the ranks of Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg, PayPal cofounder Max Levchin, and Linux developer Linus Torvalds. Dollar’s goal is to make simple, easy-to-use devices that mimic the human hand, with potential applications in domestic robotic assistance as well as prosthetics.

Haptic car seat alerts drivers

The Morrell Lab, led by assistant professor of mechanical engineering John Morrell ’86, was recently in the news for its design of a haptic car seat that transmits vibrations to the driver’s back, alerting them to cars approaching from behind and signaling when someone is in their blind spot. According to Morrell, a driver’s visual sense is already saturated, so a tactile interface with the environment may be a driver’s best defense. Vibrations on the left, right, or middle alert the driver to approaching cars while also providing a directional cue. Morrell says that the ultimate goal of the design is a “renaissance user interface” that uses the mind and body to the fullest.

Professor brings biomechanics focus to BME

Jay Humphrey, professor of biomedical engineering (BME), joined Yale in July, marking the first senior faculty hire in engineering since 2002 and the fourth new hire in BME in the past year. Humphrey comes to Yale from Texas A&M with primary research and teaching interests in vascular mechanics and mechanobiology, particularly related to vascular disease progression and treatment. Under his leadership, BME will expand into the area of biomechanics, complementing its core areas of bioimaging and biomolecular engineering (e.g., drug delivery and tissue engineering).


School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Peter Crane, Dean

National committee shapes geographical sciences research

Karen Seto, associate professor in the urban environment, is part of a National Research Council committee that has identified 11 questions that should shape geographical sciences research in the next decade. The questions aim to provide a complete understanding of where and how landscapes are changing to help society to manage and adapt to the transformation of the Earth’s surface, and they are grouped under the following four topics: how to understand and respond to environmental change; how to promote sustainability; how to recognize and cope with the rapid spatial reorganization of economy and society; and how to leverage technological change for the benefit of society and environment.

The committee’s report, “Understanding the Changing Planet: Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences,” was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, National Geographic Society, and the Association of American Geographers, and is available at

Documentary film premiere in March

Journey of the Universe, a documentary film that draws together scientific discoveries in astronomy, biodiversity, biology, ecology, and geology, with humanistic insights concerning the nature of the universe, will premiere at a conference on the same topic March 24–27, 2011, in Kroon Hall. The film, produced by Mary Evelyn Tucker, a codirector of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, is designed to not only show humanity’s wondrous connection to the cosmos, but also inspire people to form a new and closer relationship with the planet during a period of environmental and social crisis.

The film is narrated by cosmologist Brian Swimme, who touches on the birth of the cosmos 14 billion years ago, the human genome, and our current impact on Earth’s evolutionary dynamics in an effort to illuminate the profound role we play in the web of life.

A book of the same name, cowritten by Tucker and Swimme, will be published by Yale University Press in the spring. A trailer of the film can be viewed at

Doctoral student receives national award

Philip Marshall, a doctoral student at the environment school, recently received the Emanuel D. Rudolph Award by the Botanical Society of America. The award is given by the historical section of the society for the best student presentation or poster of a historical nature at the annual meetings. Marshall’s presentation was “Pinus strobus L. and the historical utilization and management of southern New England forests, 1600–1938.”


Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Jon Butler, Dean

Historian named Yale librarian

Frank M. Turner ’71PhD (history), John Hay Whitney Professor of History at Yale, was named University Librarian for a term of five years beginning September 1, 2010. He has served as interim University Librarian since last January and as director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library since 2003. Turner served as provost of the University from 1988 to 1992.

A distinguished intellectual historian, he has explored numerous facets of Victorian intellectual life in books and articles. His John Henry Newman: The Challenge to Evangelical Religion, published by Yale Press in 2002, describes Newman’s career in the Church of England and the motivations and circumstances leading to his conversion to Roman Catholicism. Turner has also edited Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua and his Idea of a University for Yale University Press. His earlier contributions to the history of Victorian thought include Between Science and Religion: The Reaction to Scientific Naturalism in Late Victorian England (1974) and The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain (1981), both published by Yale University Press, and Contesting Cultural Authority: Essays in Victorian Intellectual Life (1993), published by Cambridge University Press. The Western Heritage, coauthored with Donald Kagan and Steven Ozment, is in its tenth edition and has long been regarded as one of the leading textbooks on Western civilization.

Alumnus appointed president of Transylvania University

Owen Williams ’09PhD (history) has become president of Transylvania University, a 230-year-old liberal arts college in Lexington, Kentucky. Williams earned an AB in philosophy from Dartmouth in 1974 and an MA in intellectual history from Cambridge University in 1976, then spent 24 years on Wall Street as director of the government bond department at Salomon Brothers, executive director at Goldman Sachs, and chairman of Bear Stearns Asia. A decade ago, he enrolled in the Graduate School for a PhD. While at Yale, he completed an MSL degree at the Law School in 2007 and was an articles editor for the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities and coordinated the Yale Legal History Forum. His dissertation, “Unequal Justice Under Law: The Supreme Court and America’s First Civil Rights Movement, 1857–1883,” examined how the United States Supreme Court impaired African Americans’ access to juries, voting booths, and public spaces after the Civil War. David Blight was his advisor.

Overcoming depression fast

Yale researchers have discovered the mechanism that allows one antidepressant to take effect in hours, rather than in the weeks required for most antidepressants currently on the market. The findings were described in the journal Science, and graduate student Nanxin Li (psychology) was first author. According to Li and his advisor Ronald S. Duman, the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, the drug ketamine acts on a pathway that rapidly produces new synaptic connections between neurons—a process known as synaptogenesis. In addition, they were able to pinpoint a critical enzyme in the pathway, mTOR, which controls protein synthesis necessary for new synaptic connections. These findings may speed development of a safe, rapid, and easy-to-administer drug, but without the side effects and abuse potential of ketamine. “It’s like a magic drug—one dose can work rapidly and last for seven to 10 days,” said Duman.


Law School
Robert Post, Dean

Students play key role in historic Proposition 8 marriage case

A federal judge’s ruling in early August on same-sex couples’ right to marry was welcome news to Yale Law School students intimately involved in the case. On August 4, Judge Vaughn Walker declared that California’s Proposition 8, which eliminated the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry in California, violated the federal Constitution. The students had worked on the case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, as part of their participation in the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project (SFALP) working with the San Francisco city attorney’s office. SFALP cofounder and faculty advisor Heather Gerken, the J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law, said, “The students did an incredible amount of work on the case and often worked under intense timelines. But they were thrilled to do it.” The San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project is funded by the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School.

Justices examine technology at constitutionalism seminar

In September, Yale Law School hosted its fourteenth Global Constitutionalism Seminar, an event that brings together leading Supreme Court and Constitutional Court justices from around the world to discuss in strict confidentiality important legal issues of the day. The theme of this year’s seminar was “Technological Revolutions.” Fourteen justices attended, including U.S. Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer by speakerphone, as well as justices from Italy, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, Germany, the United Kingdom, and other countries. Topics discussed included freedom of speech and the Internet, surveillance and the right to anonymity, organ transplantation, and technology and the laws of armed conflict. Justice Brun-Otto Bryde of the Constitutional Court of Germany gave remarks on Friday, and Harvard Law professor Yochai Benkler, faculty codirector of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, spoke on Saturday. The Global Constitutionalism Seminar was founded in 1996 to promote international understanding of common issues of constitutional law.

Alumni Weekend 2010 explores science and law

Yale Law School alumni, faculty, students, and friends gathered on campus in New Haven October 8–10 for Alumni Weekend 2010, “A Weekend Odyssey Exploring Science and Law.” The weekend included a series of panel discussions examining how advances in science have changed our lives and affected the law. Discussion topics ranged from science and the three branches of government, to the law and emerging technologies, to the “CSI effect” and how popular conceptions of criminal proof may affect the criminal process. Other highlights included an all-alumni reception and dinner on Friday night and a presentation on Saturday of the Yale Law School Award of Merit. This year’s award went to four individuals who were instrumental to the founding of the Natural Resources Defense Council: James Gustave Speth ’64, ’69LLB; Richard Ayres ’69MA, ’69LLB; Edward Strohbehn Jr. ’62, ’63BE, ’66MA, ’69LLB; and John Bryson ’69LLB. A student-alumni breakfast on Saturday morning matched alumni with current students to chat about common areas of interest.


School of Management
Sharon Oster, Dean

Alumni named Donaldson Fellows

Four alumni who exemplify the Yale SOM mission of educating leaders for business and society have been named Donaldson Fellows: Bradley Abelow ’89MBA, COO of MF Global Inc.; Jennie Niles ’98MBA, founding principal of E. L. Haynes Public Charter School; Ken Ofori-Atta ’88MBA, executive chair and cofounder of Databank Financial Services, Ltd.; and Hilary Pennington ’83MBA, director of education, postsecondary success, and special initiatives, United States program, for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The four were chosen by a committee of faculty and staff after being nominated by fellow members of the Yale SOM community. The Donaldson Fellows are on campus in early November to participate in a series of panels and discussions open to all current students. The award, established in 2008, is named for SOM founding dean William H. Donaldson. For more information, go to

New fund tracks index inspired by faculty studies

K. Geert Rouwenhorst, deputy dean for curriculum development, professor of finance, and deputy director of the International Center for Finance at Yale SOM, rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange on August 23 in honor of the recent launch of the United States Commodity Index Fund (USCI) on the NYSE Acra exchange. The USCI tracks the performance of the SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index, a portfolio of 14 commodity futures selected each month from a pool of 27 eligible commodities. The design of the SummerHaven index was based on two seminal academic studies by Rouwenhorst and Professor Gary Gorton. Their widely cited paper, “Facts and Fantasies about Commodity Futures,” found that commodity futures produce the same returns as equities but with less risk, and offer a diversification benefit because their returns are negatively correlated with those of stocks and bonds. “The Fundamentals of Commodity Futures Returns,” authored with Fumio Hayashi of the University of Tokyo, showed that commodity futures returns vary depending on the physical inventory of the commodity in the economy; returns are greater when low inventories make prices more volatile.

MBA-E student blogs on experience for Bloomberg Businessweek

For the past two years, Linda Craib ’10MBA-E chronicled her experiences as a mid-career health professional working to get her MBA at Yale SOM. Trained as a pediatric critical care nurse, Craib wrote regular columns for the Bloomberg Businessweek website. In her most recent column, she described classes—from Corporate Finance to Macroeconomics to Entrepreneurial Business Planning—in which she developed critical management and leadership skills, which she applied even before graduating by founding a company dedicated to improving diagnostic testing for autism disorders. She expressed gratitude to a number of professors who made extraordinary efforts to help her along the way. Craib concluded: “As a member of the Class of 2010, I graduated with the realization that I had already started living the aspirations I outlined in my admissions essay.” Read the full column


School of Medicine
Robert J. Alpern, Dean

A year after her death, new fellowships memorialize Annie Le

When Annie Marie Le, an idealistic and ambitious doctoral student in Yale’s Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS), lost her life in a homicide last September, the Yale community—and the larger world—reacted with grief and dismay. In the wake of Le’s death, members of the Yale community came together to forge a scholarship fund that would commemorate her life and exemplary spirit in a lasting way by supporting the work of current graduate students. Two graduate students in the BBS program—Julie Button, a fifth-year graduate student in microbiology; and Jason Wallace, a fourth-year graduate student in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology—were named the first Annie Le Fellows and are receiving funding for the 2010–2011 academic year. Button works in the laboratory of Salmonella expert Jorge E. Galán, the Lucille P. Markey Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis. Wallace is a doctoral student in the lab of Ronald R. Breaker, the Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. The Annie Le Fellowship will be awarded each year by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, at the recommendation of faculty in the biological and biomedical sciences.

Child psychiatrist decodes Tourette’s

Best known for triggering symptoms of hay fever, histamine also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. A new genetic study led by Matthew W. State, the Donald J. Cohen Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry, suggests that histamine plays a role in Tourette’s syndrome. As reported in the May 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, in a rare family in which the father and all eight children, but not the mother, have Tourette’s, affected family members all carried the same mutation in HDC, a gene involved in histamine synthesis. Normally, HDC molecules pair up in a symmetrical complex to synthesize histamine. The mutation, which truncates the HDC protein, is found on only one of two chromosomes, and inhibits the enzymatic activity of the normal copy by forming an abnormal complex. Histamine-boosting drugs reduce Tourette’s-like behaviors in mice lacking HDC, and several are in human clinical trials for neuropsychiatric conditions, says State, also co-director of the Yale Neurogenetics Program. “This may mean that we have the opportunity to go directly from a rare genetic finding to a trial of a new approach to treatment. In our field, that would be very unusual, and very exciting,” he says.


School of Music
Robert Blocker, Dean

Metropolitan Opera broadcasts come to the School of Music

This fall, Morse Recital Hall at the Yale School of Music became the latest venue to offer the Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” broadcasts. A leadership gift from Frederick Iseman, Yale College Class of 1974, funded Yale’s access to the live performances as well as the technology required for the School of Music to present the broadcasts. The gift makes tickets available to all Yale students, as well as faculty and staff. The new technology was installed in September, and The Met @ Yale: the Iseman Broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD debuted on October 9 with Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. In all, twelve broadcasts are scheduled for 2010–11, including new productions of Wagner’s Ring,Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Verdi’s Don Carlo, John Adams’s Nixon in China, and Rossini’s Le Comte Ory.

Yale in New York at (Le) Poisson Rouge

The Yale in New York series expanded to a new venue, the celebrated music club (Le) Poisson Rouge. A concert on October 11 featured Sleeping Giant, a collective of five up-and-coming composers who are all YSM alumni. Along with the world premiere of Jacob Cooper’s Cello Octet, the program featured Ted Hearne’s One of Us, One of Them for percussion and piano; Christopher Cerrone’s Averno: A Fragment for soprano, mezzo-soprano, and mixed ensemble; Robert Honstein’s Why Are You Not Answering? for mixed ensemble; and Timo Andres’s Clamber Music for two violins and piano. Yale in New York continues on November 9 in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall with a concert of Yale guitarists playing music by Yale composers.

New and visiting faculty

Among the new faces on the School of Music faculty this year is Brian Lewis, an acclaimed violinist who is also widely recognized as a leader in music education. He is the Class of ’57 Visiting Professor of Music Education for the academic year. Pianist Ivo Kaltchev ’92MusM will soon conclude his semester as a visiting lecturer. Kaltchev is the chair of the piano division at the Catholic University of America as well as co-director of the Washington (DC) International Piano Festival. Another pianist, Hung-Kuan Chen, is visiting for the full academic year and will appear as a guest artist on the Horowitz Piano Series on December 1. Chen has won top prizes in the Arthur Rubinstein and Busoni competitions, is on the piano faculty of the New England Conservatory, and directs the International Piano Academy in Shanghai. Finally, the musicologist, tenor, and Yale graduate Paul Berry ’99, ’07PhD, was appointed assistant professor (adjunct) of music history.


School of Nursing
Margaret Grey, Dean

Study tests drug treatment of hyperactivity in autism

YSN professor Lawrence Scahill ’89MSN, ’89MPH, ’97PhD, is the principal investigator for a trial of the drug guanfacine to treat hyperactivity in autism. NIH awarded $1.7 million for an eight-week trial at four sites around the country. The study includes 170 children, ages 5 to 13 years, with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) such as autism and Asperger’s. “Consensus is lacking on how to treat children with PDD accompanied by hyperactivity,” said Scahill. “Guanfacine is commonly used in this population, but poorly studied.” The study will also explore how genetics moderate response.

Research will investigate disparities in breast cancer

A new research initiative conducted by Tish Knobf ’82MSN, professor at YSN, and Lyndsay Harris, associate professor of medical oncology at the medical school, will examine disparities in breast cancer outcomes for African American women. “African American women with breast cancer have poorer clinical outcomes compared with white women,” Knobf stated. With funding by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, she added, the new study “offers an opportunity for students to be mentored in research aimed at understanding and reducing breast cancer disparities.” Knobf and Harris will recruit students from medicine, nursing, and public health for the two-year training program.

GEPN students volunteer time to help veterans

Three faculty and 31 first-year Graduate Entry students traveled to Stand Down on September 10, an annual event that provides services to 1,200 needy veterans from across Connecticut. YSN’s contingent, led by assistant professor Linda Pellico ’89MSN, joined volunteers from 50 government and private organizations to provide a range of support to the veterans, including medical screenings, social service assistance, legal help, job counseling, and VA benefits information. YSN students checked blood pressure, oxygen levels, and blood glucose and gave tetanus injections. The event was led by YSN alumna and state Veterans’ Affairs commissioner Linda S. Schwartz ’84MSN, ’98DrPH.

Redeker named president of ENRS

YSN professor and associate dean of scholarly affairs Nancy Redeker became president of Eastern Nursing Research Society (ENRS) in March, in conjunction with the organization’s scientific sessions. She will serve as president for a term of two years. Redeker has set out three major goals for the organization under her leadership. “First is to engage junior faculty in nursing by creating opportunities for them to dialogue about research and receive training about research topics,” Redeker stated. This is in line with a second goal, to increase opportunities for mentoring between junior and senior faculty. Her third aim is to better engage clinical researchers in hospital settings.


School of Public Health
Paul D. Cleary, Dean

Students complete summer internship in public health training

Local high school and college students with the PARTNRS program (Parenting and Relationship Transition and Risk Study) completed a summer internship at YSPH designed to develop public health research skills and knowledge.

The three high school and two college students, selected from a pool of over 80 applicants, spent eight weeks learning about various aspects of public health work, including a training and certification program in human subject protection, HIPAA regulations, the safe handling of blood-borne pathogens, recruiting and interview techniques, facilitating interviews, and collecting specimens for STD testing. “The number and quality of applicants we received from the New Haven and Bridgeport area demonstrate the interest in public health research and the need for this type of program that helps to develop and grow future scientists from our own backyard,” said Trace Kershaw, an associate professor and principal investigator of PARTNRS. The program was funded by a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Disaster in Haiti poses further risk to children

As Haiti rebuilds from the devastation of January’s earthquake, the country’s most vulnerable children will likely face unique and additional risks in the forms of gender-based violence against women, child trafficking, and poor psychosocial health.

Jhumka Gupta, assistant professor at YSPH, contends that the physical devastation, widespread displacement, and loss of life from the earthquake, coupled with the high rates of poverty and gender-based violence against women that existed pre-disaster, will further compromise children’s health and safety. Their findings appear in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

“As international aid continues to pour into the Caribbean country, it is important that a holistic approach be developed to promote the safety and well-being of Haiti’s children,” said Gupta. Along with reunification of children with family members, it is also critical to ensure children’s safety within their own homes.

China’s public health threats topic of Yale conference

A delegation of Chinese health officials, political leaders, and executives traveled to Yale over the summer for a conference on controlling China’s rapidly increasing cancer rates and other serious public health problems.

Yale School of Public Health researchers are working with the International Prevention Research Institute (IPRI) and Chinese officials to establish the Comprehensive Cancer Center in Daqing, China. One of the many projects in Daqing is a landmark longitudinal study that will follow 300,000 people to assess the association between cancer and the many environmental and lifestyle risks facing the Chinese population.

“We paid a big price for economic growth in terms of people and land,” said Tongzhang Zheng, a YSPH professor. He illustrated the stunning rate of change in his native country with two photographs of the same place, taken 20 years apart. The first showed monkeys in a tree, gazing at the sunset; the second showed the Chinese National Theatre, a dome of titanium and glass, reflected in a manmade lake.



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