DURHAM, N.C. – Environmental toxicologist Nishad Jayasundara and ocean and climate scientist Shineng Hu will join the faculty at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment faculty in 2021.
Jayasundara’s research focuses on the ecological and human health impacts of chemical pollution and climate change. He will join the school’s faculty in January as assistant professor of environmental toxicology and health.
Hu’s research focuses on ocean-atmosphere interactions, with an emphasis on processes and interactions that occur in the tropics. He will join the school’s faculty in May as assistant professor of physical oceanography.
“Nishad and Shineng are rising stars whose areas of expertise clearly dovetail with our school’s strategic vision for expanding our global leadership role on climate change and other areas of critical environmental importance,” said Toddi Steelman, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School.
“We are deeply grateful to the Grainger Family Descendants Fund, whose far-sighted and timely support has made it possible to bring these two remarkable young scientists to our school,” she said.
Duke received a $20 million gift from the Grainger Family Descendants Fund this June to strengthen research and education at the Nicholas School by bolstering the school’s world-renowned faculty with new professorships in fields critical for addressing climate change and other pressing environmental challenges.
Jayasundara comes to Duke from the University of Maine, where he has been an assistant professor of marine sciences since 2017. Prior to that, he worked for four years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Nicholas School, where he co-authored numerous peer-reviewed studies with Richard Di Giulio, Sally Kleberg Distinguished Professor of Environmental Toxicology, and other school faculty.
He is known for his innovative studies using fish species as sentinels to measure the biochemical and physiological consequences of exposure to chemical and physical stressors.
Jayasundara earned a doctoral degree in biological science from Stanford University in 2012. In recognition of his early-career work on the consequences of exposures to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), he received the prestigious Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in 2015.
Hu comes to the Nicholas School from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, where he is a postdoctoral fellow. Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego.
He is known for his inventive use of climate modeling supported by data to explain modern and paleo ocean-atmosphere interactions.
Hu earned a doctoral degree in geology and geophysics from Yale University in 2018. While at Yale, he was awarded a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship to support his graduate study on the dynamics and predictability of extreme El Niños.