School Notes

School Notes

News from your Yale school.

School of Architecture
Robert A. M. Stern, Dean

Gehry to discuss current projects

Renowned architect Frank O. Gehry, currently the Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor, will present "Work," a lecture on his current projects, on April 10 at an open house for admitted students. This semester's appointment is the latest of almost a dozen visiting professorships Gehry has held at the school, starting in 1979. Gehry, designer of the Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, received an honorary degree from the school in 2000.

Advanced studios at home and abroad

Advanced studio courses for spring semester sent students far afield as they explored a variety of projects in Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Berlin, Germany; in Amsterdam; and on the Greek island of Corfu. Others stayed closer to campus with trips to Boston, New York, and Toronto. The range of architectural challenges was just as broad -- from building high-performance yachts to designing airports; from constructing a chapel, reflecting pool, and courtyard for a religious order to designing a concert hall for Lincoln Center. On Corfu, the challenge was coming up with a plan to convert an industrial site to a mixed-use development project comprising residential, commercial, retail, and leisure uses.

Young artists respond to modern architecture

An exhibition of works in various media explores the impact that modern architects such as Le Corbusier, Philip Johnson, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright have had on a new generation. These masters of the Modern incorporated developments in technology and engineering into their work, using such industrial materials as iron, steel, concrete, and glass, while attempting also to advance social change. "Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture" showcases works by 16 young artists in response to Modern architecture. Parts of the exhibit, which runs through May 9 at the Architecture Gallery, run concurrently at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Symposium considers sustainable architecture

The role of architecture in mitigating climate change is the focus of the symposium "Sustainable Architecture, Today and Tomorrow: Reframing the Discourse," taking place April 4-5. The event commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Brundtland Commission Report, which outlined the strategies nations should adopt toward achieving sustainable development. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former director-general of the World Health Organization and currently a UN special envoy on climate change, will be the keynote speaker. "The symposium proposes to introduce multiple contexts from which to reexamine the underlying questions of sustainability," says Michelle Addington, a professor at the School of Architecture with a courtesy joint appointment at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Among the questions that will be raised are: "Is enough being done?" "Is what is being done effective?" and "Can we integrate knowledge from other disciplines into the practice of sustainable architecture?"


School of Art
Robert Storr, Dean

Dean's interview available online

"Art is a vocation, not a profession," says Robert Storr, dean
of the School of Art, adding that while the choice to be an
artist comes from within, art students must "be realistic as to how to proceed" with their careers. The dean was giving advice to current and future students as part of his conversation with the Art Gallery's Anna Hammond, which can be accessed as a free podcast at iTunesU. In the 38-minute talk, entitled "My Life as an Artist," the dean also discusses his own career in
art, what he sees as the role of the artist in today's society, and his vision for the future of the art school -- which includes expanding the study of digital media, and in particular establishing a dedicated professorship in video in order to be competitive with other art schools that already have such a program. To hear the entire podcast, go to and click on "arts and architecture."

Faculty lecture series

A series of talks by School of Art faculty addresses contemporary issues in art and draws from the speakers' recent work. The spring lecture series, "Work at Hand," opened on February 13 with Dean Robert Storr discussing his experience as the curator of the 2007 Venice Biennale. Jessica Stockholder, director of graduate studies in sculpture, and Tod Papageorge, director of graduate studies in photography, will give subsequent talks. The lectures, which are held in Green Hall, continue through April. Check the school's website for the schedule.


Yale College
Peter Salovey, Dean

Yale debate team wins competition in China

A group of four Yale College students demonstrated their mastery of Chinese language, rhetoric, and culture by winning the Varsity International Debate Competition in Beijing, the world's premier debate competition in Chinese for non-native speakers. The Yale team competed against teams from South Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. In October, the students had beaten teams from Columbia, Princeton, and Harvard to win the right to represent the United States in the competition in China.

The team, composed of Adam Scharfman ’08, Nick Sedlet ’08, Austin Woerner ’08, and J. T. Kennedy ’09, debated controversial topics such as whether smoking should be banned; bullfighting; and, in the final competition against the team from Oxford, whether a university should be hard to get into and easy to graduate from, or easy to get into and hard to graduate from. All of the students on the team have been recipients of Yale College's Richard U. Light Fellowships, which allow students to study Chinese intensively in China over the summer.

Broader support for freshmen from diverse backgrounds

For more than 35 years, the Yale College dean's office has appointed "ethnic counselors" as part of the freshman counselor program to provide additional support for freshmen who identified with one of Yale's minority cultural groups. These counselors served as informal mentors and connected freshmen to a variety of resources on campus. The program has provided valuable assistance over the years, but students and administrators have been concerned recently that the program is inadequate to address current needs. "Yale is much more diverse than it was in 1972 when the ethnic counselor program started, but the size and scope of the program has changed very little," says Dean of Freshman Affairs George Levesque. Some of the current ethnic counselors are now responsible for up to 60 freshmen across several colleges. Meanwhile, other freshmen who are not necessarily affiliated with one of the cultural houses often face significant challenges in their adjustment to Yale but have comparatively little specialized support. After a lengthy review of the program, the dean's office recently announced a significant expansion of peer advising programs for freshmen.

Under the new system, which will go into effect in the fall of 2009, the ethnic counselors will be fully integrated into the freshman counselor program, and all 90 freshman counselors will receive extensive intercultural training. In addition, a broad network of peer mentors will be established. These peer mentors will continue much of the traditional work of ethnic counselors but in greater numbers and in a wider variety of communities. In addition to the cultural centers, the dean's office envisions having peer mentors through the Office of International Students and Scholars, the chaplain's office, the Queer Resource Center, and other offices. "We of course want to maintain and strengthen the support we have provided to students of color," Levesque said, "but we don't want to overlook equally powerful factors such as socioeconomic class, a disability, religion, being the first person in a family to attend college, or sexual identity."

Pamela Y. George, assistant dean of Yale College and director of the Afro-American Cultural Center, who coordinates the ethnic counselor program, is pleased with the move. "I believe that we are taking some very important steps in creating a more comprehensive and efficient structure that will impact the entire college and support the greatest number of students served by the freshman counselor program," she said, adding that it is "essential that we bring more intercultural education into the residential colleges and the daily lives of all students."

Students monitor elections in Kenya

Nine Yale students traveled to Nairobi over the holidays, working with election monitors from around the world, seeking to ensure fair and democratic elections in Kenya, a country where elections are still tenuous. The U.S. embassy in Nairobi helped organize the trip and train the students for what they would see over the following days, and especially on December 27, the day of the elections. On that day, the group traveled all over Nairobi from 4 a.m. until midnight, monitoring and observing conditions at the polls around the city, including Kibera and Mathare, two precincts that experienced a great deal of violence following the elections. In Kibera, the students were present when presidential candidate Raila Odinga arrived at his local polling place to vote. (Odinga, the students reported, was turned away temporarily because his name did not appear on the list of voters for that neighborhood.)

The students, most of whom left directly after the elections, agree that the short time they spent in Kenya was a valuable educational experience. "It's important for undergraduates to take full advantage of our excellent liberal arts education," said Julie Carney ’08, a political science major and a trip organizer, "and to find situations that meet the broader vision of connecting the academic with the larger world where such expertise matters." Some of the students are trying to find ways to extend the educational experience to Yale undergraduates who did not travel to Kenya. Aniket Shah ’09 added, "I really want to see us start taking a more active approach on working with youth leaders in countries like Kenya."


Divinity School
Harold W. Attridge, Dean

Honors for YDS faculty

Professor emerita Margaret A. Farley has received one of the nation's most prestigious prizes in the field of religion, the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Farley, the Gilbert L. Stark Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity School, received the award from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the University of Louisville for her book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics (Continuum, 2006). Others honored late in 2007 include Emilie Townes, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology; Carolyn Sharp, associate professor of Hebrew Scriptures; and Harry Stout, the Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Christianity. Townes was named alumna of the year by the University of Chicago Divinity School, while Sharp was given the Fortress Press 2007 Teaching Award. Stout's book Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War (Viking, 2006) was awarded the Philip Schaff Prize at the American Society of Church History meeting.

Fall Reflections launched at National Press
Club gathering

In the run-up to another presidential election year, almost
100 people packed a room at the National Press Club in the nation's capital on December 6 to hear a panel of writers and representatives from the government, nonprofit, and academic sectors speak on the topic "Faith and Citizenship: The Conversation in 2008." The occasion was the formal launch of the fall 2007 issue of Yale Divinity School's magazine of theological and ethical inquiry, Reflections, which was entirely devoted to the subject of faith and citizenship. Several panelists, all contributors to the issue, called for a new tenor to the public discourse, such that people of different faith traditions would be mutually respectful of each other. "What we need so much now is a certain amount of religious humility," said Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne. "But how do you combine passion and humility? We need to have passion to move beyond this period of culture war that is making so many problems impossible to solve."

Divinity professor now AAR president

Emilie M. Townes, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology, assumed the presidency of the American Academy of Religion during the 11,200-member organization's 2007 annual meeting, held November 17-20 in San Diego. Townes was elected vice president of the academy in 2005, putting her in line to serve as president-elect and, now, president. The first African American woman to head the AAR, Townes is director of undergraduate studies and professor in Yale's Department of African American Studies; professor in the women's, gender and sexuality studies program; and professor in the Department of Religious Studies. She is one of the faculty leaders of the Initiative on Religion and Politics at Yale, based at the Divinity School.

Conference addresses black religion in the
African diaspora

Nearly 40 scholars from across the country will come to YDS April 3-5 for a conference on black religion in the African diaspora. The "Middle Passage Conversations" conference will feature eight moderated panels that will discuss how the scholars understand black religiosity in their work. Evening plenaries will feature drama and music. Among the scheduled attendees are Cornel West of Princeton; M. Shawn Copeland of Boston College; Dwight N. Hopkins of the University of Chicago Divinity School; and Renita Weems, celebrated by Ebony magazine as one of America's top preachers. Further information is available online at


School of Drama
James Bundy, Dean

Prizewinning author to chair playwriting department

Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel, author of How I Learned to Drive and The Baltimore Waltz, among other plays, has been appointed the Eugene O'Neill Professor (Adjunct) and chair of the Department of Playwriting at the School of Drama, effective July 1. Vogel comes to Yale from Brown University, where she has served as the director of MFA and undergraduate playwriting since 1984.

"Paula Vogel has distinguished herself as a unique and profoundly accomplished playwright and teacher," said Dean James Bundy ’95MFA. "Her artistic achievements are matched only by her tireless commitment to, and remarkable track record in, the training and mentoring of young writers." Vogel added that she is "delighted and honored" to join the drama school faculty. "My two decades of teaching have convinced me that we have one of the most exciting generations in playwriting now emerging," she said. "Yale is well positioned to launch, sustain, and inspire the paths of American artists in the theater through its dedication to a rigorous, passionate, and communal inquiry and practice of theater."

Alumni on stage from coast to coast

Yale Repertory Theatre's world-premiere production this winter of The Evildoers by David Adjmi featured YSD alumni in a number of key production roles. Directed by Rebecca Bayla Taichman ’01MFA, the production featured sets by Tony nominee Riccardo Hernandez ’92Dra, costumes by Tony winner Susan Hilferty ’80MFA, and lighting by Stephen Strawbridge ’83MFA (co-chair of the YSD design department).

In California, South Coast Repertory recently presented the West Coast premiere of A Feminine Ending by Sarah Treem ’05MFA, which was directed by Timothy Douglas ’86MFA and featured lighting design by Peter Maradudin ’84MFA and original music by Vincent Olivieri ’01MFA. The cast included Amy Aquino ’86MFA, Peter Katona ’01MFA, and Jedadiah Schultz ’05MFA. A Feminine Ending was produced in association with Portland Center Stage, where it plays through March 23.


School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
James Gustave Speth, Dean

Science of sustainability focus of Hawaii gathering

Marian Chertow, associate professor of industrial environmental management at the environment school, discussed her research in industrial ecology at a gathering of Hawaiian business leaders and 40 Yale alumni at the Pacific Club in Honolulu. Chertow studies how businesses cluster in places as varied as Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and mainland China. She has recently proposed a new approach to encouraging corporate greening: map the symbioses -- the waste, water and power exchanges, and other beneficial relationships -- that exist among businesses; show companies that they have already begun to build industrial ecosystems; then help them to do more of the same. "Business people just want to know the rules of the game so that they can go out and play hard," said Chertow. "If we have green rules, then they can go play the green game hard."

While researching the Campbell Industrial Park near Honolulu, Chertow's team found that eight companies were trading seven different kinds of materials among themselves. Yet companies weren't aware of what their neighbors were doing or how they might benefit from sharing resources. Chertow, who has found similar exchanges taking place in a large industrial complex in China, now leads Yale's new Program on Industrial Ecology in Developing Countries.

Agriculture changing chemistry of Mississippi River

Midwestern farming has injected the equivalent of five Connecticut River's worth of irrigation water annually into the Mississippi River during the past 50 years, as well as large amounts of carbon dioxide, according to a study published in January in Nature by researchers at Yale and Louisiana
State universities.

"It's like the discovery of a new, large river being piped out of the corn belt," said Pete Raymond, lead author of the study and associate professor of ecosystem ecology at the environment school. "Agricultural practices have significantly changed the hydrology and chemistry of the Mississippi River." The researchers concluded that liming and farming practices, such as changes in tile drainage and crop type and rotation, are most likely responsible for the majority of the increase in water and carbon in the Mississippi River, which is North America's largest river. 

Raymond said that the research team analyzed 100-year-old data on the Mississippi River that had been warehoused at two New Orleans water treatment plants, and combined it with data on precipitation and water export. "A notable part of this finding is that changes in farming practices are more important than changes in precipitation to the increase in water being discharged into the river," he said.

The researchers used their data to demonstrate the effects of this excess water on the carbon content of the river, and argue that nutrients and pollution in the water are altering the chemistry of the Gulf of Mexico.

United States ranks 39th in 2008 environmental index

The United States placed 39th in a global list of countries ranked by environmental performance, according to the 2008 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), which was produced by F&ES professor Daniel C. Esty ’86JD and a team of environmental experts at Yale and Columbia universities.

The United States came in significantly behind other industrialized nations like the United Kingdom (14th) and Japan (21st), and ranked 11th in the Americas and behind 22 members of the European Union. The U.S. score reflects top-tier performance in several indicators, including provision of safe drinking water, sanitation, and forest management. But poor scores on greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of air pollution on ecosystems dragged down the overall U.S. rank.

"The United States' performance indicates that the next administration must not ignore the ecosystem impacts of environmental, agricultural, energy, and water-management policies," said F&ES dean Gus Speth, who called the ranking "a national disgrace." The 2008 EPI ranks Switzerland at the top, followed by Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Costa Rica.

The index, released at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 23, ranks 149 countries on 25 indicators tracked across six established policy categories: environmental health; air pollution; water resources; biodiversity and habitat; productive natural resources; and climate change. The EPI identifies broadly accepted targets for environmental performance and measures how close each country comes to these goals. As a quantitative gauge of pollution control and natural resource management results, the index provides a powerful tool for improving policymaking and shifting environmental decision-making onto firmer analytic foundations.


Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Jon Butler, Dean

Honoring teaching fellows

Once a year, the deans of the Graduate School and Yale College honor outstanding graduate student teaching fellows at a celebratory dinner. Nominated by the undergraduates they teach and the faculty whom they assist, Prize Teaching Fellows (PTFs) are selected by the director of the Teaching Fellow Program, the director of the Graduate Teaching Center, and an associate dean of Yale College. When the current crop of 17 PTFs gathered in the Hall of Graduate Studies late last semester, Dean Peter Salovey urged them to "inspire students to learn what they love, to find what they want to study lifelong. Nothing could be more important than helping students find their passion." Dean Jon Butler said, "Opening the world to other people is what teaching is about. It's a privilege to do this." This year's PTFs come from a wide range of fields, including chemistry, physics, math, comparative literature, history, and music. Letters of nomination cited many qualities embodied by these extraordinary student-teachers, including warmth, brilliance, insight, humor, enthusiasm, and kindness.

And baby makes three

"Being a graduate student is hard. Parenting is hard. Doing both at the same time is exponentially harder," Assistant Dean Robert Harper-Mangels told a gathering of about 50 graduate students who attended a program titled "Students Contemplating Becoming Parents." The session, organized by McDougal Family Fellow Susan Caplan (Nursing) and Social Fellow Jonathan Cox (EPH) and hosted by Lisa Brandes, director of student life, opened with presentations by Graduate School staff about the practical support Yale offers both male and female doctoral students who give birth or adopt a child. These include an unusually generous "Parental Support and Relief Policy" (see below), as well as 100 percent healthcare coverage for students and their children. Following the staff presentations, an informal panel of parents -- all current or recent graduate students -- spoke about the challenges of raising children while progressing to degree, and took questions from the audience about time-management, juggling priorities, and finding good child care.

According to the terms of the Parental Support and Relief Policy, PhD students who wish to suspend their academic responsibilities when they become parents may do so during or following the semester in which the birth or adoption occurs. For the whole of that semester, students remain registered, receive their full financial aid package, and have departmental academic expectations modified to suit their situation. Students are entitled to full relief for at least an eight-week period. PhD students who have used the Parental Support and Relief Policy may receive an additional eight weeks of stipend, funded by the Graduate School, at the end of their fifth year, when financial support from the Graduate School generally terminates. Additionally, their academic clock will stop for one semester, which effectively adds an additional semester of time towards degree at the end of what otherwise would have been the student's sixth year. Yale is one of very few universities to offer such a sweeping policy. (For the Yale Alumni Magazine's report on the policy, see "Grad School Offers Relief to Students with Kids," Light & Verity, September/October 2007.)


Law School
Harold Hongju Koh, Dean

YLS student named Rhodes Scholar

Isra J. Bhatty ’10 was among 32 American students chosen to receive Rhodes scholarships this year. Bhatty graduated from the University of Chicago in 2006 with majors in economics and near eastern languages and literature. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a college junior and won many prizes for leadership and scholarship. Bhatty founded a tutoring program in Chicago, was an English-Urdu translator for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, led a Chicago coalition on criminal justice reform, and has worked closely with Chicago's inner-city Muslim Action Network. She also founded and captained an intramural champion women's football team and is a hip-hop artist and poet. At Oxford, she plans to pursue an MPhil in evidence-based social intervention, with a focus on programs for people of color, immigrants, and substance abusers.

Professor honored by American Bar Foundation

Arthur Liman Professor of Law Judith Resnik was the 2008 recipient of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation Outstanding Scholar Award, presented annually to an individual "who has engaged in outstanding scholarship in the law or in government." Professor Resnik joins a distinguished group of scholars who have received the award, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Richard Posner, and Louis Henkin. She is the fifth woman so honored and the seventh recipient from Yale Law School.

"Judith Resnik has had a profound impact on the rule of law and administration of justice in our country," said Dean Harold Hongju Koh. "Her perceptive and powerful scholarship makes her a most fitting successor to the past recipients [of this award] from our school."

Professor Resnik is author of numerous books and essays, including, most recently, "Representing Justice: From Renaissance Iconography to Twenty-First Century Courthouses" (with Dennis E. Curtis), published in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. She is founding director of the Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship and Fund at Yale Law School and a co-chair of the Yale Women Faculty Forum.

Law and social sciences professor dies

Stanton Wheeler, Ford Foundation Professor Emeritus of Law and the Social Sciences and professorial lecturer in law, died December 7, 2007, at age 77. (See "Law professor's trumpet no longer sounds", Milestones, for a Yale Alumni Magazine obituary.) A prolific scholar known for his leadership in the integration of law and social science, Professor Wheeler taught at Yale Law School and in the sociology department at Yale University. He was a longtime master of Morse College, with strong ties to the athletic and music departments at Yale. He had a passion for jazz and the trumpet and played with jazz bands throughout most of his life. "Stan Wheeler helped to create the field of sociology of law. For decades, he immeasurably enriched Yale's community as a scholar, teacher, college master, musician, sportsman, and friend," said Dean Harold Hongju Koh. In his honor, the Professor Stan Wheeler Fund has been established to support Yale Law School faculty and student research and activities related to Stan's areas of interest, which included sociology and the law; white-collar crime; and sports, entertainment, and the law.


School of Management
Joel Podolny, Dean

Progress on new SOM facility

The final design for SOM's new campus is starting to take shape. In September, Yale announced that world-famous architectural firm Foster + Partners won an international competition to design new facilities to house the school. The 246,000-square-foot structure will be built on Whitney Avenue, across from the Peabody Museum of Natural History. Since the announcement, a number of firms have also been hired to consult on the building's technological innovations, environmental impact, lighting, and landscaping. In addition, the architects have run a series of exercises with faculty, students, and staff in order to better understand the needs of the SOM community, and they've performed extensive surveys of the grounds. School leaders have held meetings with neighbors of the site. The design concept is expected to be completed and approved this year, with a ground-breaking anticipated in the fall of 2009.

Trips give students global perspective on business

The 180 members of the Class of 2009 spent two weeks before the beginning of the spring semester traveling to 11 countries as part of eight different International Experience trips. A required part of the Yale Management Integrated Curriculum, the trips are designed to provide students with a unique perspective on global business through meetings with top industry, political, nonprofit, and cultural leaders in each country. Now in its second year, the program has established the school as a leader among business schools in requiring international study. The eight trips this year are organized not just by region but also by discipline. The Israel/Turkey trip focused on healthcare; the China trip took an in-depth look at the rise of financial service companies and private equity in Beijing and Hong Kong; and the Costa Rica group studied the rise of ecotourism, plus the business of conservation and its impact on development. For more information on the International Experience, go to

Top CEOs gather to assess 2007

The 56th Yale CEO Summit of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute met in New York on December 13 and 14 to look both forward and back, discussing the events that shaped business over the past year while delving into the factors that will influence global business in the years to come. Participants included top executives such as John Thain of Merrill Lynch, Mark Fields of Ford Motor Company, and David Neeleman of JetBlue, along with public officials including Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and U.S. District Court judge Jed Rakoff. CELI was founded in 1989 to provide original research on leadership and lively educational forums for top corporate leaders. "We are thrilled to continue to provide a safe oasis for candid discussions and peer-driven learning," said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, associate dean of the Yale School of Management and CELI president.


School of Medicine
Robert J. Alpern, Dean

The medical school as theatrical muse

A collaboration between actress, playwright, and professor Anna Deavere Smith and faculty at the School of Medicine in 2000 has become part of Smith's newest one-woman play, Let Me Down Easy, which had its world premiere at Long Wharf Theatre in January. (See "Medicine as theater" for the Yale Alumni Magazine's report.) Through interviews with medical faculty, survivors of the Rwandan genocide, Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, and others, Smith's new show explores the resilience and fragility of the human body.

Let Me Down Easy grew out of interviews Smith conducted with physicians, nurses, patients, and their families at the medical school while she was a visiting professor. From those voices, Smith created Rounding it Out, an examination of how doctors and patients view and communicate with each other. Over the next seven years, Rounding it Out was broadened and expanded to become Let Me Down Easy.

Smith, a past recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, is best known for her solo stage performances depicting communities in turmoil, as well as for a recurring role on television's The West Wing.

Epilepsy could become a preventable disease
School of Medicine researchers have shown for the first time that it is possible to suppress the development of epilepsy in genetically predisposed animals, setting the stage for treating epilepsy as a preventable disease in humans. A study found that treating epilepsy-prone rats with the anti-convulsant medication ethosuximide -- before the onset of seizures -- led to a suppression of seizures for months after the treatment stopped, as well as later in life. Current treatments control seizures but do nothing to alter the underlying disease, said Hal Blumenfeld, associate professor of neurology and lead author of the study. These new findings, he said, could lead to the prevention of epilepsy in genetically susceptible people.

Breast-feeding raises the IQ in some infants, but not all

While some infants who are breast-fed have a higher IQ later in life, for others, breast-feeding doesn't make a difference. A small alteration in one gene is why. A team of Yale researchers, including Julia Kim-Cohen, assistant professor of psychology, found that breast-fed children who have one version of the FADS2 gene scored seven points higher than those with the same gene variant but who drank formula. But for children without the gene variant, there was no IQ difference associated with being fed breast milk versus formula. Researchers believe the FADS2 gene variant helps turn the fatty acids found in breast milk into compounds important to brain development.

Exercise does more than slim your waistline
Boosting an exercise-related gene in the brain works as an antidepressant in mice, a finding that suggests potential new ways to treat depression in people, School of Medicine researchers have found.

The scientists designed a microarray -- a tool that allows them to measure the expression of hundreds of genes simultaneously -- to show small changes in gene expression, particularly in the brain's hippocampus, which is sensitive to stress hormones, depression, and antidepressants. When they compared the brain activity of sedentary mice to those who were given running wheels, they found that 33 exercise-regulated genes were expressed in the mice with the wheels -- including the VGF gene, which functioned like a powerful antidepressant. "The VGF exercise-related gene and target for drug development could be even better than chemical antidepressants, because it is already present in the brain," said Ronald Duman, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study. Depression affects 16 percent of the population in the United States, at a related cost of $83 billion a year.


School of Music
Robert Blocker, Dean

YSM a player in Internet2 music

The School of Music is rapidly developing its capabilities in music distance learning, thanks to a computer-based system, a Codec transmission system, and Internet2 -- a super-fast, fiber-optic network created by a consortium of universities, companies, and government agencies. These systems will allow the school to partake in master classes, lectures, workshops, and performances in conjunction with music schools and concert venues all around the world. As a result of these developments, the school was invited to serve as the testing site for a series of demonstrations of the various transmission products available to present distance learning through the Internet2 system. A workshop in Miami, co-sponsored by Internet2 and the New World Symphony, brought together practitioners of music distance learning from throughout the country. Jack Vees, director of the Yale Center for Studies in Music Technology, took the lead in Yale's presentation on February 11. From the stage of Sprague Hall, a performance by YSM viola student Anne Lanzilotti ’08MusM was transmitted to the workshop. The session, "Video Codecs -- What's Tried and True; What's New," was a demonstration of five different transmission systems, allowing participants in the workshop to determine the best transmission method.

More laurels for Yale singers

Singers from the Yale Opera program captured three of the top four prizes in the New England regional finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, which took place in Boston on January 27. Edward Parks ’08MusM and Christopher Magiera ’09ArtA, both baritones who study with Richard Cross, took first place, and moved on to the national semifinal round in New York on February 17. Tenor Zach Borichevsky ’08MusM won the Encouragement Award. Six of the 16 singers who made it to the final round as winners of district auditions were students from the School of Music, an "unprecedented" event for the school, according to Doris Yarick Cross, artistic director of Yale Opera. The other Yale singers in the final round were tenor Joshua Kohl ’09ArtA, soprano Olivia Vote ’08MusM, and tenor Jay Carter ’08MusM. Bass-baritone Damien Pass ’09MusM was a finalist in the Midwest region.

Laderman's 20 years at Yale celebrated at Carnegie Hall

The school honored Ezra Laderman on the occasion of his 20 years at Yale with a concert on March 3 in Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall. Laderman, professor of music and one of America's most honored composers, served as dean of the School of Music from 1990 to 1995. The works on the program spanned a large part of his career, from his 1954 Bassoon Concerto to Part II of "Interior Landscapes" for two pianos, completed in 2007. Performers were current students, faculty, and alumni, including bassoonist Frank Morelli, the Biava Quartet, duo-pianists Greg Anderson ’08MusAM and David Kaplan ’08MusAM, flutist Sabatino Scirri ’09ArtA, and violinists Nicholas DiEugenio ’08ArtA and Katherine Hyun ’09ArtA.


School of Nursing
Margaret Grey, Dean

Researchers awarded NIH grant

The National Institute of Nursing Research, an arm of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded nearly $3.5 million to two researchers at the School of Nursing to study the effects of an Internet-based version of the highly effective program called "coping skills training" for children with type 1 diabetes. The program will be compared with a standard Internet-based education program. Dean Margaret Grey and Associate Professor Robin Whittemore serve as the principal investigators on this study for improving diabetes management, metabolic control, and quality of life among adolescents with diabetes.

Rapid advancements in technology and access to the Internet have made it a viable tool for the delivery of coping skills training, a group-based intervention developed at Yale by Dean Grey. The Internet represents a method of training that is potentially appealing, effective, and time-efficient for adolescents living with type 1 diabetes. "The goal of this program is to help teens learn how to manage their diabetes within the context of challenging social situations and to provide a forum for teens with type 1 diabetes to learn from each other," said Professor Whittemore. "Adolescents are much more likely to get online on their own time than go to a clinic for a meeting," Dean Grey added. "Now we are able to connect with them on their own time, and we now reach 90 percent of the eligible children."

Dean's research named a landmark study

Research by Dean Margaret Grey has been recognized in "Changing Practice, Changing Lives: 10 Landmark Nursing Research Studies," a new publication from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). Her groundbreaking study on coping skills training for children with type 1 diabetes, "Coping Skills Training Improves Teens' Self-Management of Diabetes," was designated as one of the ten most significant nursing research studies in the 22-year history of NINR. According to the booklet, these ten landmark studies helped establish the foundation of NINR's work and illustrate the varied expertise of nurse researchers. The ten studies span issues that continue to be of great importance to nurses and patients, such as symptom management, preventive health measures, health disparities, and enhancing the quality of health care. Dean Grey stressed that this honor "speaks to the importance of the clinical research being conducted at YSN on approaches to improving self-management of chronic conditions," and credited her study's success to an "interdisciplinary team of nurse practitioners, psychologists, and physicians, in addition to the young people with diabetes who participated."

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