In Brief: September-October 2008

October 1, 2008
  • Robert L. Clark, a longtime member of the Pratt School of Engineering faculty, has been named dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Rochester. Clark, a specialist in acoustics and bionanomanufacturing, was Thomas Lord Professor of mechanical engineering and served as interim dean while the university conducted the search for a replacement for Kristina Johnson, now provost at the Johns Hopkins University.
  • Erich Jarvis, an associate professor of neurobiology at Duke Medical Center, has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He was selected as an innovator in neuroscience, specifically for his comparative studies using songbirds, other bird and mammal species, and humans to get at the mystery of how language is learned.
  • Jay Lapidus, who compiled a record of 372-126 in eighteen years as head coach of the men's tennis team, has been promoted to the position of director of tennis, responsible for the day-to-day operations of both the men's and women's tennis teams. Ramsey Smith '01, a two-time all-America who has served on the coaching staff for the past three years, takes over as head coach.
  • H. Kim Lyerly, director of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Cancer Advisory Board. Lyerly, who is also George Barth Geller Professor of cancer research, is an internationally recognized expert in cancer therapy and cancer immunotherapy.
  • Mohamed Noor, associate professor of biology, is one of thirteen researchers who will receive a Darwin-Wallace Medal on February 12, the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. The medal was last awarded fifty years ago. Noor uses fruit flies to study how species form.
  • Phail Wynn Jr., Duke's vice president for Durham and regional affairs, has been elected chair of the board of directors of the Triangle Community Foundation, which connects philanthropic resources with community needs, creates opportunity for enlightened change, and encourages philanthropy as a way of life.
  • The Home Depot Smart Home, a ten-person student residence hall designed for green living and learning, has achieved a top-level platinum certification for its design from the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The building becomes the first at Duke and the second in the state to achieve platinum certification.
  • The University Writing Program will be renamed in honor of outgoing Trinity College dean Robert J. Thompson Jr. Thompson stepped down in June to return to teaching after nine years as dean. In a resolution approving the naming, the board of trustees recognized Thompson's role in securing a grant from the Mellon Foundation that led to the program's establishment in 2000. All Duke undergraduates take Writing 20, a first-year course in academic writing taught by postdoctoral Mellon Writing Fellows.