School Notes

School Notes

School of Architecture
Robert A. M. Stern, Dean

Alumni recognized by Academy
The American Academy of Arts and Letters has honored Elizabeth Gray ’82, ’87MArch, and Alan Organschi ’88MArch, principals of Gray Organschi Architecture, with a 2012 Architecture Award. Gray Organschi Architecture, based in New Haven, has earned recognition at the local, regional, and national level for innovative and environmentally sensitive projects that range from the adaptive reuse of damaged buildings to the creation of low-impact structures for ecologically delicate sites. Alan Organschi is on the faculty of the School of Architecture.

Summer seminar in Rome
This summer 30 architecture students will travel abroad for the annual Rome Drawing Seminar, led by Alec Purves ’58, ’65MArch, professor emeritus of architecture; Stephen Harby ’76, ’80MArch, lecturer in the School of Architecture; and Bimal Mendis ’98, ’02MArch, critic, assistant dean, and director of undergraduate studies. The seminar provides students the opportunity to develop skills in freehand drawing and sketching as a way of critically observing and learning about the layers of Rome’s historical and architectural development. Students visit and record key monuments spanning Rome’s history, from the ancient Forum to the Renaissance and Baroque Basilica of St. Peter, to the new contemporary art museum designed by Zaha Hadid, all in the company of faculty and local experts and scholars. The seminar is made possible through the generosity of Frannie and Gordon Burns ’75 and Edward P. Bass ’68, ’72ArtA.

Building a house in New Haven
Since 1967, the Yale School of Architecture has offered its first-year students the chance to design and build a structure as part of their graduate education. This year’s Vlock Building Project, a collaboration between the school and Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, will be a single-family house at 132–136 Newhall Street in New Haven. Working on the project from start to finish gives students the experience of interacting with a client and responding to the challenges of affordable housing and urban infill, while improving their skills in design and introducing them to social issues, group collaboration, budgeting, work documentation, and actual construction.


School of Art
Robert Storr, Dean

Brazilian artist-in-residence
This year’s Stavros Niarchos Foundation artist-in-residence at the School of Art has been the Brazilian conceptualist and sculptor Jac Leirner. Among the leading figures in the generation of Latin American artists that emerged in the 1990s, Leirner creates her work out of mass-produced, discarded, or scavenged objects and materials: obsolete airline ashtrays; devalued currency; used stationery, envelopes, and mailers; used shopping bags from museum stores and high-end airport boutiques; professional business cards; and, in her breakthrough work, all the leftover components from multiple empty cigarette packs.

Culminating her residency at the Yale School of Art on May 12, Leirner will mount an exhibition of works conceived and executed during her stay, which will remain on view through the end of the month, close for the summer, and reopen in September. Support for the residency is provided by the Hayden Fund for Art and Ideas and by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.


Yale College
Mary E. Miller, Dean

A real “gem” for team of Yale students
This past winter, a team of Yale College students tied for first place in the Food and Energy Project category at the world championship of the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Competition held at MIT. This highly competitive world event also saw the Yale College team advance to the “sweet 16.” At the North American championship in Indianapolis, the Yale team was a grand finalist—selected as one of the four top teams out of over 60 university teams from Canada and the United States. They also won the coveted prize of Best Natural Biobrick. Their project studied a special protein with antifreeze-like properties derived from a cold-tolerant beetle. The potential applications for such a discovery include deicing airplanes and methods to better preserve frozen foods and organs. A manuscript describing their work was recently accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed structural biology journal.

Student leaders receive training
There are over 450 registered student groups in Yale College, including groups focused on academics (for example, the Math Society), arts (Student Origami Society), and athletics (Quidditch club); cultural organizations (Black Men’s Student Union); Greek organizations (Delta Sigma Theta); and performance (Alley Cats), political (Yale Political Union), and religious groups (Hindu Students Council). Registration provides the group with the ability to receive funding from the college and access to college facilities. During spring term, all student organizations and varsity athletic teams were asked to participate in leadership training in order to maintain their registration status. Student groups and teams sent almost 1,000 officers to these new training sessions where they were greeted by a college administrator, heard about visionary leadership, and learned how to prevent sexual misconduct. These student leaders also learned how to avoid hazing and to provide a positive climate for their members.


Divinity School
Harold W. Attridge, Dean

New Testament scholar next YDS dean
President Richard Levin has named Gregory E. Sterling the next dean of Yale Divinity School, effective August 1. Sterling, a New Testament scholar whose work focuses on the writings of Philo of Alexandria, is currently dean of the Graduate School and professor of theology at Notre Dame. He will succeed Dean Harold Attridge, who first met Sterling in 1990 when both were on faculty at Notre Dame. In a different kind of Sterling appointment, Levin named Dean Attridge to a Sterling professorship, the highest honor Yale can bestow upon a member of the faculty. (For a Yale Alumni Magazine report on Sterling’s appointment, see “New Div School Dean is a Preacher-Scholar”.)

Ministerial studies assessment program comes of age
Five years ago, the seeds of a program designed to integrate the academic, spiritual, and vocational aspects of education at Yale Divinity School were planted in conversations between Dean Harold Attridge and Assistant Dean William Goettler. The ministerial studies assessment program is now an integral part of each and every master of divinity student’s life at YDS. Foundational elements of the program are the reflective essay written by all MDiv students at the end of every semester and the consultation that takes place during the spring semester of each MDiv student’s second year—a 90-minute meeting that involves intense advising, deep reflection, and direct feedback on a student’s academic, spiritual, and vocational trajectories. One sign of the maturation of the YDS program is the attention it has gained from other theological schools. In early November, representatives from a number of other schools, including Harvard Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary, gathered on Sterling Divinity Quadrangle to learn more about the YDS initiative and to share their own approaches.


School of Drama
James Bundy, Dean

Kennedy Center honors YSD students
Two YSD students are recipients of Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards, part of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival. Hansol Jung ’14MFA received the Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award and Kate Tarker ’14MFA was presented the National Science Playwriting Award. Each prize includes a check for $1,000, a professional development residency this summer, membership in both the Dramatists Guild of America and the Playwrights Center of Minneapolis, and an invitation to be in residence at the Kennedy Center theater festival in April.

Festival stages students’ plays
The seventh annual Carlotta Festival of New Plays, which presents three fully produced plays by graduating playwrights in rotating repertory, takes place May 4–12 at Yale’s Iseman Theater. This year’s plays are Petty Harbour by Martyna Majok ’12MFA, Fox Play by Jake Jeppson ’12MFA, and The Bachelorsby Caroline V. McGraw ’12MFA. During Professionals Weekend May 11–12, theater professionals from around the country will see all three plays, meet with the playwrights and other drama students, and take part in a panel discussion that features chair of playwriting Paula Vogel, playwright Dan LeFranc, and the three festival playwrights. The Carlotta Festival is named for Eugene O’Neill’s widow, Carlotta Monterey, who chose Yale University Press as the publisher of her late husband’s masterpiece Long Day’s Journey Into Night. The proceeds from this publication support playwriting at Yale University.


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

Yale engineers receive funding
Three separate Yale Engineering entrepreneurial teams have received funding through the Connecticut Innovations TechStart Fund. The teams each received $25,000 in financial assistance and are participating in the fund’s ten-week accelerator pilot program.

Seldera, a technology developed by associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science Andreas Savvides, develops intelligent sensing solutions for building energy and efficiency and other applications that involve rapid reasoning and automation using sensor and online data. Red Ox Technologies is developing a desalinating fuel cell that produces energy and inorganic salts. The technology was developed by Menachem Elimelech, Roberto C. Goizueta Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering; Andre Taylor, associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering; David Kohn ’11; and Claire Henly ’12. Scaled Liquid Systems, created by John Scrudato ’11 and Max Sutter ’11, is developing scalable, low-cost liquid cooling solutions for data centers.

Launched in January, the TechStart Fund was created to spur technology innovation and business formation. The intent of the funding is to allow start-ups to pursue the viability of a technology concept or business and determine whether additional funding might be obtained to launch a business.

Graduate student wins national award
Meagan Mauter, a graduate student in environmental engineering, has received the 2012 First Place Academic Achievement Award for doctoral dissertation from the American Water Works Association. Her dissertation, “Implications and Applications of Nanomaterials for Membrane-Based Water Treatment,” advances the concept that nanomaterials and other emerging technologies present a tradeoff between applications and implications and concludes that membranes are a uniquely promising platform for realizing nanomaterial application in a low impact, effective, and cost-efficient manner. The award will be formally presented at the AWWA annual conference and exposition in Dallas in June.


School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Peter Crane, Dean

Environmental health expert honored
Michelle Bell, an expert on the environment and human health, has received the inaugural Prince Albert II de Monaco/ Institut Pasteur Award for outstanding contributions to her field. Bell was honored March 23 in Monaco at a scientific symposium on environmental changes and their impact on human health. Prince Albert II of Monaco and the Institut Pasteur, a nonprofit research center in Paris dedicated to the prevention and treatment of disease, established the award to honor scientists for their study of how environmental conditions affect public health. Bell came to Yale in 2004 and was promoted to professor of environmental health in 2011. She has conducted several landmark studies of environmental health, including the largest study to date of the health impacts of tropospheric ozone.

Faculty awarded named professorships
Two members of the environment school faculty have been appointed to named professorships in recognition of their outstanding contributions to scholarship. Xuhui Lee, the Sara Shallenberger Brown Professor of Meteorology, is an internationally renowned expert in the biophysics and biometeorology of natural and human-dominated ecosystems, including agricultural systems. He works on the ways radiation, water, heat, and trace gases are exchanged between the vegetation and the atmosphere, as well as how these interactions influence large-scale biogeochemical processes such as the carbon cycle.

John Wargo has been named the Tweedy/Ordway Professor of Environmental Health and Politics. His book, Our Children’s Toxic Legacy, won the American Publishers Association Prize for the best book in political science in 1998. His most recent book,Green Intelligence, published by Yale University Press in 2009, examines the history of science and law regulating pesticides, radionuclides, diesel emissions, mercury in the food chain, and plastics. As chair of the environmental studies major in Yale College, Wargo has played a key leadership role over the past decade in the design and rapid growth of the major, which has nearly tripled within the past five years.


Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Thomas D. Pollard, Dean

Biology at Yale
A reunion/conference May 4–6 for alumni, students, and faculty of biological science departments traces the history of biology at Yale and brings together panels of alumni and faculty to discuss relevant topics in the field. Speakers include Thomas Lovejoy ’64, ’71PhD, who introduced the term “biological diversity” into the scientific community in 1980; Thomas Steitz, the Sterling Professor of MB&B and winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Jonathan Rothberg ’91PhD, founding CEO and chairman of several high-tech companies; Larry Gold ’63, founder of SomaLogic, Inc.; and leaders in scientific publication Emilie Marcus ’92PhD, executive editor of Cell Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Annette Thomas ’93PhD, CEO of MacMillan Publishers, London, England.

Alumna wins Grawemeyer Award
Barbara D. Savage ’95PhD (history), the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded the 2012 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for her book, Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion (Harvard University Press). The book introduces important new perspectives on the study of black religion and the political role of African-American churches. The Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the University of Louisville jointly present the award.

An unusual riboswitch
Graduating chemistry student Jenny Baker ’12PhD was part of a team that discovered that the fluoride ion, commonly used in dental hygiene products for its antibacterial properties and ability to strengthen enamel, targets a highly unusual riboswitch. “A riboswitch is a type of RNA that controls whether a specific protein is ultimately created (expressed) from the DNA that codes for it,” she explains. “Riboswitches interact with molecules or ions, their binding partners, which leads to an increase or decrease in protein expression.” Fluoride riboswitches are only the second class in over 20 known classes that are found in more than one domain of life. These new riboswitches are present in both bacteria and archaea—a large group of single-celled microbes that can live in extremely hot or salty environments, as well as under more common conditions. Her research has been published in the journal Science Express


Law School
Robert Post, Dean

Colloquium examines access to justice
The 15th annual Arthur Liman Public Interest Law Colloquium, “Accessing Justice, Rationing Law,” was held at Yale Law School March 1–2. Current and former chief justices from several states as well as scholars, students, practitioners, and many past and present Liman Fellows joined in a conversation on the question: how can courts respond to the demand for their services? The issues included providing adequate representation to criminal defendants, the right to “civil Gideon” for people unable to afford lawyers, and what role, if any, alternative processes and new kinds of courts may play in addressing these challenges.

Five awarded Gruber fellowships
Two Yale Law School students, a recent YLS graduate, and two School of Nursing students were named recipients of Gruber Global Justice and Women’s Rights Fellowships for 2012–2013. Amanda Gutierrez and Stephanie Keene (both ’12JD) and Becca Heller ’10JD, along with Nichole Trumper and Erin George (both ’12MSN), will each spend a year working on projects that help to promote global justice or women’s rights. The fellowships were introduced as part of the Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights at Yale Law School. They are open to all Yale graduate and professional school students in their final year as well as those who have graduated within the past three years.

Worker-rights clinic gets victory
Eleven New Haven residents who claim immigration agents illegally raided their homes in 2007 achieved a landmark settlement recently in their civil rights lawsuit against the government. The 11 were represented by students from the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) and pro bono counsel from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton of New York, led by Jorge Tenreiro ’03, ’06JD. They will receive $350,000, and any of them with deportation proceedings ongoing at the time of the settlement will have those proceedings dismissed. In addition to the students actively involved in the case this year, a long list of others from Yale Law School have contributed over the past five years, working on the civil rights action, removal defense cases, FOIA suits, and policy campaigns arising from the raids.


School of Management
Edward A. Snyder, Dean

SOM students consult in South Africa
A group of 25 Yale MBA students spent their spring break consulting pro bono for social enterprises in Cape Town, South Africa. The group comprises the Global Social Enterprise (GSE) elective course, which doubles as a student-led club founded in 2004 to allow students a hands-on opportunity to design and engage in consulting projects for clients in developing countries. The students worked remotely with their clients while completing fall-term coursework focused on Cape Town and South Africa, entrepreneurship in developing countries, social enterprises, and business planning. The spring break trip allowed them to work on-site with their clients for one week. This year’s group is working with five social enterprises, including a nonprofit that connects professional designers and a seasoned marketing team with local craft producers, and an organization that provides women with the training and business skills to create independent sewing cooperatives.

World travel for first-year students
In early March, first-year students at Yale SOM set off for nine destinations around the world—the culmination of their International Experience courses. The required IE courses allow students to apply the Yale MBA core curriculum’s multidisciplinary, integrative approach to analysis and problem-solving to a targeted examination of one or more global markets. Students prepare for their trip by studying the economies and cultures of their topic regions, and once abroad they meet with business, government, and nonprofit leaders to complement their study. Learn more at

New campus reaches milestone
On February 10, the new Edward P. Evans Hall “topped out,” with the last beam of structural steel being fastened in place. The shape of the building is now apparent; and as winter transitioned to spring, construction continued at an aggressive pace, with crucial work both on the inside and outside of the 242,000-square-foot building. Concrete floors were poured; electrical conduits, air ducts, and plumbing were installed; roofing work was begun. Over the next several months, workers will begin hanging interior and exterior glass.


School of Medicine
Robert J. Alpern, Dean

Center to study rare genetic diseases
For complex diseases like cancer and diabetes, there’s no way to predict whether a person will develop the illness during his or her lifetime. But for so-called Mendelian disorders, a mutation in a single gene is the direct and clear-cut cause of disease. The inheritance patterns of Mendelian disorders are straightforward, but discovering the genes responsible for these inherited diseases is not always easy. The fewer patients with a disease, the harder that disease is to study, because of limited funding and limited genetic samples to compare. Now, a four-year, $11.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health has established the Center for Mendelian Genomics at Yale, providing researchers with the resources to tackle the genetics of these rare disorders. The principal investigators at the new center include Richard P. Lifton, chair and Sterling Professor of Genetics; Murat Günel ’94Grd, the Nixdorff-German Professor of Neurosurgery and professor of genetics and neurobiology; Shrikant Mane, senior research scientist in genetics; and Mark Gerstein, the Albert L. Williams Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and codirector of the Yale Computational Biology and Informatics Program.

Urology department names leader
In January, Dean Robert J. Alpern and Marna P. Borgstrom, president and CEO of the Yale–New Haven Health System, announced the appointment of Peter G. Schulam as chair of the Department of Urology at the School of Medicine and chief of the urology department at Yale–New Haven Hospital. Urology, which had been organized as a section within the Department of Surgery since the section’s founding by Clyde L. Deming in 1921, has recently been elevated to department status by the Yale Corporation. Schulam, a native New Havener, comes to the School of Medicine from the Ronald Reagan Medical Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was vice chair of urology, chief of the division of endo-urology and minimally invasive surgery, and director of both the kidney stone treatment center and the surgical living kidney donor program.


School of Music
Robert Blocker, Dean

Two receive Sanford Medal
In February, Dean Robert Blocker presented the Sanford Medal, the School of Music’s highest honor, to two alumni for “distinguished service to music.” Cellist Jian Wang ’88CMus, whom Blocker called “one of the leading cellists of our age,” received the medal before performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major with the Yale Philharmonia. Early music pioneer William Christie ’69MusM received the Sanford Medal on February 25, before leading the Yale Philharmonia, Yale Baroque Ensemble, and the new Yale Choral Artists in an all-Handel program. The program was presented that night in Morse Recital Hall and again to warm critical acclaim in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on February 26.

Guitar Extravaganza returns
Guitar aficionados enjoyed a seventh Yale Guitar Extravaganza, directed by faculty member Benjamin Verdery, on March 24. The daylong event featured performances by SoloDuo (Matteo Mela and Lorenzo Micheli), Kim Perlak ’01MusM, Zaira Meneses, and the electric guitar quartet Dither (whose members include James Moore ’06MusM). The day opened with performances by two youth ensembles, the Hartt Suzuki Guitar Ensemble and the Heritage High School Guitar Ensemble (directed by Kevin Vigil ’99MusM). Students took part in master classes with Zaira Meneses and the members of SoloDuo. Educators Scott Cmiel, Daniel Corr ’01MusM, ’02ArtA, Jeffrey McFadden, Kim Perlak ’01MusM, Verdery, and Vigil came together for a panel discussion on the future of classical guitar pedagogy. Other sessions featured faculty member Jack Vees and, in a talk held at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, luthier Gary Lee.

Alumni gather in New York
The School of Music hosted a gathering for New York–area alumni at Steinway Hall on April 17. The event began with a reception that offered the opportunity to reconnect with alumni from across the years, and continued with a performance by four alumni of the piano program: Wen-Yin Chan ’04MusM, ’06MusAM, ’12MusAD; Han-chien Lee ’05MusAM, ’06ArtA; Mimi Solomon ’99; and Lucas Wong ’06MusM, ’07MusAM, ’12MusAD.


School of Nursing
Margaret Grey, Dean

AHRQ publishes YSN students’ ideas
Graduates with a master’s from the Yale School of Nursing not only need to be skilled in theory and practice; they also must possess the leadership skills to create innovation. Judith Kunisch, lecturer at YSN, designed a class project for these future leaders. Students created innovations to present in a simulated conference setting; they then submitted their ideas in professional practice memoranda to the Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Innovations Exchange website. AHRQ published six students’ memos and invited Kunisch to join their expert panel. Kunisch found the experience invaluable for her students, adding, “The key is that it’s bridging theory with practicality and reality.”

Professor authors nursing textbook
“We need to teach students how to think like a nurse, and how to focus quickly on the most critical aspects,” said Linda Pellico ’89MSN, director of YSN’s Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing (GEPN) program and author of the new interactive textbook, Focus on Adult Health: Medical-Surgical Nursing. The 56-chapter text focuses on the need-to-know content of advanced nursing practice and prepares master’s students for the NCLEX licensure examination. Pellico wrote the text specifically for students who come into accelerated nursing programs like the GEPN program.

Heart study examines why some delay medical help
Too often, heart attack sufferers delay several hours before going to the hospital, losing valuable time. Yale researchers are asking why, in hopes of reversing this harmful pattern. “We are so embedded and invested in our daily lives that we are very, very reluctant to just drop everything and seek medical care,” said Angelo Alonzo, research scientist at YSN and head of the Yale Heart Study team. “Only when the signs and symptoms become so overwhelming that we have few choices, do we willingly go.” Researchers created a survey asking heart attack survivors to elaborate on their experiences. The team hopes to gain valuable insights and help people seek immediate care when experiencing heart attack symptoms.


School of Public Health
Paul D. Cleary, Dean

The success of antismoking measures
Quantifying for the first time the impact of antismoking measures on lung cancer mortality, a new study finds that more than 800,000 lives were saved in the United States over a 25-year period. The authors also note that 2.5 million people who died from smoking-related lung cancer in this same period might have survived if stricter tobacco control measures had been in effect. Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health and more than a dozen other universities and institutes formed the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network consortium and used various mathematical models, including one developed at Yale, to analyze trends in cigarette smoking and quantify the impact of various tobacco control measures.

YSPH students monitor food safety
Yale School of Public Health students are assisting state and local health department officials in an enhanced effort to monitor Connecticut’s food safety and speed up the detection of outbreaks of Salmonella and other potentially serious food-related illness. The students are part of the newly created Foodborne Diseases Centers for Outbreak Response Enhancement (FoodCORE) group that is administered by the Emerging Infections Program at the School of Public Health. One of the primary responsibilities of the student team will be to rapidly interview people involved in a case of foodborne illness. This information will help state and local health officials quickly detect clusters and possible outbreaks of foodborne diseases; and having a dedicated interview team will free up public health professionals to address other issues during an outbreak.

The educational costs of diabetes
While the health implications of diabetes are well understood, new research led by YSPH has found that the disease also comes with high nonmedical costs for patients in the form of educational achievement and future earnings potential. Researchers found that young people with the disease are 6 percentage points less likely than their healthy peers to earn a high school diploma and that their lifetime earning potential will be significantly curtailed as a result of the disease. A young adult with diabetes is also 10 percentage points less likely than others to find employment, the study found.



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