Nicolas Cassar Named Senior Associate Dean for Research and Doctoral Programs

February 19, 2019

Nicolas Cassar, professor of biogeochemistry

DURHAM, N.C. – Nicolas Cassar, professor of biogeochemistry at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, has been appointed to serve as the school’s inaugural Senior Associate Dean for Research and Doctoral Programs, effective March 1.

Toddi Steelman, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School, announced Cassar’s appointment to the faculty, staff and student body today.

In his new administrative post, Cassar will provide strategic leadership and coordination for academic programs at the doctoral level and serve as the dean’s chief advisor on research development and funding. He will also coordinate activity related to research capacity, laboratory space, instrumentation and major research initiatives across all three of the school’s academic divisions.

A prolific researcher with more than 60 peer-reviewed publications to his credit, Cassar integrates field observations, laboratory experiments, modeling and theory to explore the biogeochemical and physiological mechanisms governing how carbon moves in the environment – from ocean to atmosphere, to plant and animal life.  

He is perhaps most widely cited for his seminal studies on the oceanic uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide, one of the major determinants of the climate's long-term response to emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation.
His work has received funding from both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, and been published in Science, Nature Communications and other influential peer-reviewed journals.

He currently advises four doctoral students and supervises two postdoctoral fellows in addition to his teaching and research duties at the school.

Cassar holds a PhD in oceanography from the University of Hawaii, and a Bachelor of Science degree from McGill University. His numerous professional honors include being named an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in 2012, receiving an NSF CAREER grant in 2014, and being named an International Chair of Excellence at Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environment Marin at the Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer in Brest, France, in 2016.