Denis Valle Receives Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Student Manuscript

May 6, 2013

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

DURHAM, N.C. – Denis Valle, a 2013 doctoral graduate of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, has been named winner of this year’s Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Student Manuscript.

Valle was honored for his paper, “Conservation Efforts May Increase Malaria Burden in the Brazilian Amazon,” which was published March 6 in the peer-reviewed online journal PLOS ONE.

Doctoral students McKenzie Johnson and Nathanial Warner received honorable mentions.  

Johnson was recognized for her study, “Setting Priorities for Protected Area Planning in a Conflict Zone: Afghanistan’s National Protected Area System Plan,” which was published in the April 2012 issue of the journal Biological Conservation.

Warner was recognized for his study, “Geochemical Evidence for Possible Natural Migration of Marcellus Formation Brine to Shallow Aquifers in Pennsylvania,” which was published July 9, 2012, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dean William L. Chameides established the annual award in 2008 to recognize research excellence in manuscripts lead-authored by a Nicholas School doctoral student and published, or accepted for publication, in a peer-reviewed journal.  Manuscripts are judged on disciplinary rigor, originality and likely depth of their contribution to the advancement of their fields.     

Valle, Johnson and Warner will be acknowledged at the school’s Recognition Ceremony for graduates and their families in the LSRC courtyard on Saturday, May 11.

Valle will receive a $3,000 check. Johnson and Warner each will receive a $100 check.

Valle, who was a student in the Duke University Program in Ecology, will receive his PhD this weekend.  His primary faculty supervisor was James S. Clark, H.L. Blomquist Professor of Environment and professor of biology and statistics.   

Johnson is a student in the Duke University Program in Environmental Policy.  Her faculty advisor is Erika Weinthal, associate professor of environmental policy and associate dean for international programs.  

Warner is a student in the Nicholas School’s Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences.  His faculty advisor is Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality.