Priorities & Initiatives

Research Initiatives

Healthy People

A sustainable society depends on the health and wellbeing of its people regardless of age, race, gender or economic status. Through innovative research into the physical, social, emotional and spiritual determinants of health and disease, CAS researchers help to identify the behaviors, treatments, and cures that create and sustain human health. Christian Wells, in partnership with a team of engineering faculty led by Dr. Qiong Zhang, is studying how to enhance the organizational resilience of critical urban infrastructures with a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Bill Baker, Professor, Department of Chemistry, and Lindsey Shaw, Professor, CMMB Director of Graduate Studies, have gained attention for the extraction of a natural product chemical named "Darwinolide" that has shown promise in the treatment of MRSA. Carolyn Ellis, Distinguished University Professor, Communication, received the National Communication Association Distinguished Scholar Award for a lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study of human communication. Gary Daughdrill, Jianjun Pan, and Zhimin (Mike) Shi have each recently received NIH funding for their respective research projects.

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Healthy Communities

Individual Human Health can only be achieved and sustained in the context of the communities that value and support healthy behaviors and practices. CAS researchers seek to identify the elements of civil society that promote safety, security, social justice and wellbeing. Our scholars work to integrate insights from the natural and social sciences with the humanities to gain a deeper understanding of how communities can promote self-sufficiency and prosperity.

Jennifer Cazenave has been awarded a 2017-2018 fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to support her book project, "An Archive of the Catastrophe: Recovering the Unused Footage of Shoah," the first comprehensive examination of the 200 hours of testimonies Claude Lanzmann excluded from his canonical Holocaust film Shoah (1985).

Wen-Xiu Ma, Professor, Mathematics & Statistics, was awarded a National Science Foundation Grant for funding for US participation in the conference Nonlinear and Modern Mathematical Physics, held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), from May 4-8, 2017.

Michael DeJonge, Associate Professor, Religious Studies, published a research monograph Bonhoeffer's Reception of Luther (2017), research that focuses on the twentieth-century German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Gil Ben-Hurt, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, presented his invited lecture "Religiously Egalitarian, Socially Conservative: Rethinking the Social Ideals of Early Kannada Sivabhakti" at the University of Virginia, a February 2nd, 2017 event sponsored by the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion, the Department of Religious Studies, and the South Asia Center.

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Healthy Environments

Just as healthy people depend upon their communities to support their values and choices, so too do communities rely on natural ecosystems for their sustainable success. A healthy and sustainable environment is necessary for improving the human condition. CAS researchers conduct innovative research that explores trends in the natural world and seeks to prevent environmental degradation and avert environmental catastrophe.

Brad Gemmel, Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, was named a 2017 Sloan Foundation Research Fellow in Ocean Sciences. Gemmel describes his research "as the intersection of biology and physics, exploring the interactions between tiny animal organisms and their watery environment, and how large-scale ecosystem processes and evolutionary relationships explain the survival of the smallest animals at the base of the ocean's food chain. In addition to dozens of academic publications and numerous lectures and conference talks, his work has been featured in The New York Times, Wired magazine and on the Discovery Channel. View a recent Inside Science TV segment on his research.

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