March/April 2012

Graduate School Calendar GSAS News Online Yale University

“Biology at Yale” Conference to
Convene Alumni across Nine Disciplines

Faculty, students and alumni will celebrate the field of biological studies, explore its history, and envision its future.

Commencing on May 4, the three-day conference will include panels on current developments in cellular and molecular biology and continuing efforts to theorize the evolution of living systems. Alumni who have become successful scientist-entrepreneurs will describe the process of applying biology research within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The program will conclude with a panel of alumni in the publishing sector who will address the pressures that are reshaping the format and accessibility of reported research.   read more

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Additional information regarding “Biology at Yale” is available through the conference website. Participating departments include Cell Biology; Cellular & Molecular Physiology; Computational Biology and Informatics; Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; Genetics; Immunobiology; Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry; Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology; and Pharmacology.

Conferences Provide Practical
and Intellectual Experiences


Heidi Miller's Journey from the Library to the Boardroom


Award-Winning Health Plan and Wellness Programs

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Numerous student-run conferences take place on campus each year co-sponsored by the GSAS Dean's Fund. Drawing students and faculty from Yale and peer institutions around the world, this year’s offerings span the Middle Ages to the 1990s and treat topics from Byzantine art to television culture.   read more


After following her scholarly passion and writing a dissertation on Latin American labor history, Heidi Miller (PhD 1979, History) undertook a career in international banking that culminated in recent years with Fortune and Crain’s placing her among the top women in the American business scene.   read more


With a full-service health care and counseling facility on campus, extensive wellness programming through McDougal Graduate Student Life, access to fitness resources, and programs to promote work/life balance, graduate students can live well and stay healthy while earning their degrees.   read more

  Student Research   Alumni Spotlight & Other News  

Microfinance in Mali

Aletheia Donald (IDE) spent last summer in Mali, a landlocked country in western Africa, gathering data from village moneylenders regarding the informal banking system that flourishes in many parts of the world. She lived and traveled among three locations, including the capital city of Bamako, the town of Sikasso, and a small village in the north called San, at times even living with her driver’s family. Aletheia has examined how opportunity costs for moneylenders affect interest rates (which ranged from 2.8 to 133 percent) and studied informal savings practices among women in small villages, as well as developing ancillary knowledge of agricultural productivity and public health initiatives in developing regions.   read more

The Literary Critic as Archaeologist

Joshua Frydman (EALL) is spending the year in Nara, Japan, to study poetry written during the period 650 to 800 at a time when paper was not yet in common use. The cedar tiles he studies, called mokkan, predate the oldest previously known written materials in Japan. These artifacts cannot be handled directly or exposed to sunlight, and to discern their context Josh needs to immerse himself in historical sources such as official government chronicles. While firmly grounded in literary history, Josh brings other disciplines to bear on these materials in order to “weave them together to provide answers for complex questions.”   read more

Studying Obesity on a
Cellular Level

Florian Wilfling (Cell Biology) studies how fat is metabolized – a longstanding scientific mystery that is closely tied to a well documented medical problem. Fat droplets have the ability to expand dramatically in order to absorb fatty acids when the body takes in more food than it needs for energy. The ultimate result, if this process goes unchecked, is obesity. For this study, Florian participated on a team led by Tobias Walther, his dissertation adviser. The team made crucial discoveries about how cells detect and react to chemical deficiencies in expanding lipid droplets. Their research on the mechanisms that allow cells to balance fluctuations in energy availability was reported in the journal Cell Metabolism last fall.   read more


Lisa Ubelaker Andrade (History) has won an ACLS Dissertation Completion Award to work on “Americas Mapped,” advised by Gilbert Joseph. She will study the mass-media initiatives launched in Latin America during the 1940s by the United States to promote its Good Neighbor Policy, an attempt to unite the Americas leading up to the second World War.

Musegh Asatryan (Religious Studies) was awarded the Graduate Student Paper Prize by the Middle East Medievalists Association for his essay “Bankers and Politics: Eighth Century Kufan Moneychangers and Their Role in the Shi’a Community.” Mushegh is the first Yale student to win this prize since it was established in 1995.
Jenny Baker (Chemistry) has published both sections of her dissertation, “Unusual Riboswitches that Exhibit Allosteric Ribozyme Control and that Respond to Fluoride,” in the journal Science. Working in Ron Breaker's lab, she studies the roles that RNA plays in nature, particularly how “riboswitches” control the expression of proteins from DNA.
Eric Weiskott (English) has had six articles accepted for publication in prestigious critical journals, including Modern Philology, Notes & Queries, and English Studies. His most recent work uses medieval English forest law to interpret a character in Chaucer’s “Friar’s Tale” and pursues a history of the exclamation point, particularly in editions of Beowulf. Eric is also a published poet.    read more

Campbell Retires from Successful 25-Year College Presidency

F. Gregory Campbell (PhD 1967, History), the eighteenth president of Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, will retire in August 2012 after twenty-five years in office. Under his leadership, full-time student enrollment at the College grew from 800 to 2,500, and the faculty doubled in size. Admission grew more competitive, with 7,000 high school seniors applying for 720 seats in the freshman class of September 2011. Campbell specialized in international relations and Central European history. He has been awarded two Fulbright grants, three IREX exchange fellowships with Czechoslovakia, a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, and a Lewis-Farmington Fellowship at Yale.   read more

Condee Awarded MLA Prize for Study of Post-Soviet Cinema

Nancy Condee (PhD 1978, Slavic Languages and Literatures), professor of Slavic and director of the Global Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh, has won the Modern Language Association's Scaglione Prize for her book, The Imperial Trace: Recent Russian Cinema. The award citation esteems the book as “an insightful guide to six major post-Soviet filmmakers,” whose work she places in the contexts of “cinematic style and cultural ideology and historically as an imaginative response to the decay and collapse of the Soviet Union and to the turbulent post-Soviet aftermath.”   read more

Savage Wins Grawemeyer Award for Study of Black Religion in America

Barbara D. Savage (PhD 1995, History), the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded the 2012 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for her book, Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion (Harvard University Press, 2008). Savage introduces important new perspectives on the study of black religion and the political role of African-American churches.    read more

Winter Ball 2012

Over 500 graduate and professional students their and guests danced and feasted on desserts at the New Haven Lawn Club from 8pm-1am on Saturday, February 25. The event was organized by McDougal Social Fellows Jennifer Saucier and Margaret Bennewitz and Coordinating Fellow Jenna Sullivan (all from Biomedical Engineering).   read more

Graduate Student Assembly Update

The GSA would like to recognize the efforts of its internal committees this year. The Academic and Professional Development Committee has organized opportunities to meet with Dean Pollard regarding his report on “Improving Graduate Education at Yale” and engaged the Teaching Fellows Program to streamline the allocation of graduate teaching positions. The Transit and Security Committee has been working with representatives from the City Planning Department and the Board of Aldermen to educate the Yale community about the Route 34 redevelopment project, particularly regarding students’ desire for pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements. The Facilities and Healthcare Committee has been seeking solutions to rising costs for graduate student housing. Students do not need to be an elected GSA representative in order to participate on internal committees and are encouraged to contact the chairs of committees they wish to join.   read more

Please contact Gila Reinstein with news items.

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