Weekly Update: Links to Cancer, Small-Scale Fisheries, an Honorary Doctorate and more ...

February 16, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Thanks to all who came out for our Third Thursday Community Coffee Chat today from 9:30 to 10:30 on Environment Hall’s second floor. We launched the chats this year to provide an informal, safe and open forum where we can gather to discuss issues affecting the Nic School community. We provide the drinks and snacks. All you have to do is bring yourself, your coffee mug and ideas for what you’d like to talk about. All staff, faculty and students are welcome. If you were too busy to make today's, I hope to see you at next month's.
I know you are busy; I am too. I’ve been focused on school restructuring, the strategic plan and the recent MEM external review among other things. Check out the news below to find out what others in the Nic School have been up to.


  1. A new study led by researchers in Heather Stapleton’s lab finds that two flame-retardant chemicals linked to cancer, hormonal change and fertility problems are increasingly showing up in Americans’ bodies. The chemicals, which belong to a class of flame-retardants called organophosphates, were present in the urine of most of the 857 adults and children tested by Heather and her colleagues in 2014 and 2015, at levels roughly 15 times higher than levels detected in comparable samples collected in 2002 and 2003. You can learn more here.
  2. Kudos to Xavier Basurto for the outstanding job he did facilitating the two-day “Workshop to Share Experiences of Support to Small-Scale Fisheries,” held last week here in Durham.  The event, which Xavier organized with John Virdin of the Nicholas Institute, brought together more than 70 attendees from academia, philanthropic organizations, multi-lateral agencies (including the World Bank and FAO), and other stakeholder groups to discuss strategies to enhance integrated research and policy initiatives to support small-scale fisheries governance globally. The Oak Foundation sponsored the workshop. It was great to see so many Duke faces there, including Marty Smith, Daniel Dunn, Lisa Campbell, Grant Murray, David Toole. Kay Jowers and many of our PhD and CEM students. 
  3. Cindy Van Dover has been awarded an honorary doctorate  from the Université Catholique de Louvain in recognition of her pioneering contributions to the scientific study and exploration of the deep sea. She received the honor at a special ceremony in Belgium earlier this month. Please join me in congratulating her. 
  4. The Nic School is co-sponsoring a screening of the film, Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry at 6:30 p.m. March 8 at the Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham. Berry is an American writer, farmer and environmental advocate widely known for his work to promote sustainable agriculture and agrarian life. All proceeds from the screening will benefit the Duke Divinity School’s Creation Matters student group and their Community Permaculture Garden. Norman Wirzba will moderate a discussion with the film’s director, Laura Dunn, after the film. Tickets are $9 or $6 for students or seniors with valid IDs.

I'd like to hear from you, so keep me up-to-date on what you are doing. Submit your items here.