Research, Teamwork, Impact: Celebrating 10 Years of Bass Connections

Exhibit in Perkins Library.

Thank you for exploring the research stories in our exhibit in Perkins Library. These stories showcase a sampling of the range of research the program has supported in its first decade.

To learn more about the project teams and photographs in the exhibit, please browse the list below and visit the exhibit in Perkins.

To learn more about Bass Connections, please explore our website (suggested links below) and consider attending the Bass Connections Showcase on April 19 in Penn Pavilion:

Featured Teams

Big Data for Democracy

Gerrymandering and the Extent of Democracy in America

A Bass Connections team built, evaluated and refined a set of diagnostic tools to quantify the effect of gerrymandering on congressional elections across a handful of states, as well as in the North Carolina General Assembly. Their district modeling algorithms have informed numerous federal and state rulings on gerrymandering, including the first federal court ruling to strike down electoral districting favoring one political party over another. The team's work built on years of research by faculty and students in the Department of Math and several Data+ teams. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Figure from team presentation showing examples of gerrymandered and non-gerrymandered North Carolina district maps; (2) Students on the Data+ team working together in Gross Hall; (3) Student team member Nima Mohammadi presenting the team's research at the 2019 Bass Connections Showcase, photo by Kelly Bennett; (4) Students in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., photo courtesy of Luke Farrell

Disaster Preparedness

Earthquake Early Warning in Kathmandu

Building on an existing collaboration between Duke and Tribhuvan University Institute of Engineering (IoE) in Kathmandu, a Bass Connections team has been working to develop innovative seismic sensing technologies capable of early detection of earthquakes. In addition to testing a smart seismic sensing network in the region, the team is partnering with local stakeholders to build in-country capacity for seismic hazard analysis and mitigation. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Student presenting research on new seismic sensing technology; (2) Team leader Henri Gavin (top row, far left) with faculty and students at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu; (3) Student presenting research on new seismic sensing technology; (4) Tribhuvan University Institute of Engineering student working with a grade school student during earthquake education seminars around Kathmandu, photo courtesy of Rachael Lau; (5) Team leader Rachael Lau (bottom row, third from left) with partners from the Tribhuvan University Institute of Engineering, photo courtesy of Rachael Lau

Early Childhood Development

Information, Child Mental Health and Society

A team of Duke researchers from the university and the health system — including students on a Bass Connections team — created a revolutionary smartphone app that uses children's facial expressions to screen for autism and other developmental disorders. Data collected by this team has contributed to numerous grants, including a five-year $12.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Team members testing facial expression recognition software; (2) Team leader Guillermo Sapiro showing off the Autism and Beyond app on his iPhone; (3) Graphic showing the Autism and Beyond app's interface; (4) Team members collaborating at a team meeting; (5) Screenshot of the Autism and Beyond app interface; (6) Student team member Jordan Hashemi sharing the team's facial recognition software with kids during a science outreach event at Duke's Institute for Brain Sciences

Genetic Engineering

Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering for Human Health and Society

Each year, the Bass Connections “iGEM” team explores current research in synthetic biology, genetic engineering and bioethics to develop innovative methods to screen for and treat some of the deadliest diseases. In 2022, the team established an in vitro drug screening model designed to detect brain cancer cell lines to improve early access to therapy and education. Their model won second place at the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, an annual event that recognizes leadership and innovation in biotechnology. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1-4) Students working in the lab; (5) Team members in Paris for the iGEM competition in Fall 2022; (6) Student hosting an "iGEM" table at a science outreach event for the community; (7) Team members with iGEM tshirts

Global Health

How Do People Affect Zoonotic Disease Dynamics in Madagascar?

Since 2014, a series of Bass Connections teams has been investigating the links between biodiversity, land use, infectious diseases and human health in rural Madagascar. Working closely with partners in the region, team members have examined traditional cooking practices, zoonotic disease transmission, natural resource management and more. Their research has contributed to numerous grants and publications and helped inform local health and environmental policy. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Team members at the Marojejy National Park entrance; (2) Student team member Lydia Greene (far left) and team leader Charlie Nunn (far right) weighing firewood collected near Marojejy; (3) Team members and parters interviewing residents in Mandena; (4) Students reviewing data in the field

Health Innovation

Sustainable Implementation of Laparoscopy in Low-income Countries

A Bass Connections team developed a low-cost, reusable laparoscope to increase access to safe, minimally invasive surgery in low-income countries. Working with surgical and biomedical engineering colleagues in Uganda, team members developed Keysuite, a comprehensive set of prototypes for surgical teams that is manufactured, distributed and utilized locally in Sub-Saharan Africa. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Team members with their award-winning poster at the 2019 Bass Connections Showcase; (2) Team photo in the surgery; (3) Figure showing KeySuite components, including Keyscope, Keyloop, and comparison views of a pig's abdominal cavity using the standard of care laparoscope and the Keysuite system; (4) Team leader Tamara Fitzgerald demonstrating surgical procedure to team members

Healthcare Policy

NC Medicaid Reform Advisory Team

A Bass Connections team drew on the interdisciplinary expertise at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy to craft a Medicaid reform proposal that aligns with the constraints and demands of state politics. The team submitted its report to North Carolina’s policymakers and citizens, hosted a discussion in Raleigh and submitted a public comment to the Department of Health and Human Services synthesizing recommendations from the report. Four undergraduate team members received a grant to take this work further through a project called Reforming North Carolina Medicaid. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Student team member Kushal Kadakia presenting the team's research to policy advisors and the public in Raleigh in 2017; (2) Student team members Madhu Vulimiri, Graeme Peterson, and Kushal Kadakia in Raleigh in 2017; (3) Student team member Jackie Lin in Raleigh in 2017

Education Partnerships

Strengthening Partnerships Between Durham Public Schools and Local Universities

Since 2019, students and faculty from Duke and North Carolina Central University have been working with Durham Public Schools to identify how universities can partner with school systems to address community needs. The team has created a public online dashboard to visualize Durham neighborhood data, worked to expand access for students to integrated health services and developed an antiracist curriculum to train university students to volunteer in public schools. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Team members on Zoom; (2) Team members and community partners at a community school visit; (3) Mural created by John Fleissner, photo courtesy of Yolanda Dunston; (4) Team members making the "Bull City" hand gesture on East Campus; (5) Student team members Alexis Clagon (NCCU), Destiny Baker (NCCU) and Jasmine Daniel (Duke) presenting their research at the Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase in Spring 2022

Machine Learning

Creating Artificial Worlds with AI to Improve Energy Access Data

Since 2015, a series of Bass Connections and Data+ teams have worked to expand access to clean, affordable energy by developing deep learning models that use satellite imagery to detect, identify and predict energy infrastructure in regions across the globe. Their open access models and large, publicly available datasets have provided energy experts with more comprehensive data on electricity infrastructure, a critical tool to help policymakers determine where and how to deploy energy resources. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Team members in April 2022 after team leaders Jordan Malof (top row, far left) and Kyle Bradbury (top row, far right) received the 2022 Leadership Award; (2) Screenshot from the team's website visualizing global electrification; (3) Student team members with their research poster; (4) Kyle Bradbury (second from left) working with Data+ team members

Mental Health

Mental Health and the Justice System in Durham County

Since 2016, a Bass Connections team has been working with local law enforcement, advocacy groups, first responders and Duke Health to examine the links between mental health and the justice system in Durham County. The team has developed resources to address opioid addiction in the community, provided policy recommendations to increase the use of mental health resources and reduce recidivism, and assessed the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on incarcerated populations. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Team members holding Naxalone kits that they helped assemble and distribute; (2) Team leader Nicole Schramm-Sapyta (bottom row, third from left), Brain & Society theme leader Len White (top row, far left) and Data+ director Paul Bendich (top row, second from left) with law enforcement officers and first responders after receiving awards at the Durham Crisis Intervention Team's 2019 Annual Recognition Banquet; (3) Team members after presenting their research; (4) Student team member Katie Kanter presenting the team's research; (5) Students assembling Naxalone kits

Social Justice

The Construction of Memory at Duke and in Durham: Using Memory Studies

A Bass Connections team examined the societal, cultural and neurological challenge of memory, social justice and memorialization at Duke. Team members researched Duke and Durham history, mapped current history sites and collected untold stories. Their research was collected in the Activating History for Justice at Duke report and yielded the Memory Bandits campus tour. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Duke campus, photo by Bill Snead; (2) Student team members sharing a mapping project; (3) YouTube screenshot from the team's "Unofficial Duke University Campus Tour"; (4) YouTube screenshot of student Helen Yu leading the "Unofficial Duke University Campus Tour"; (5) Graphic on the front of the team's Activating History for Justice at Duke report

Socially Engaged Art

Arts and the Anthropocene: Crisis and Resilience in North Carolina Waterways

A Bass Connections team explored how visual, theatrical and sonic arts can play a role in educating the public, provoking action and imagining resilient futures in the era of the Anthropocene. Team members constructed Spectral Seas, a 3D art installation depicting the scale of future sea level rise, and used StoryMaps to showcase the science and local impacts of climate change. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of Raquel Salvatella de Prada (clockwise from top left): (1) Students working on Spectral Seas in the painting studio at the Rubenstein Arts Center; (2) Team members in front of their tapestry in Rubenstein Arts Center; (3) Spectral Seas marketing graphic; (4) Team leader Raquel Salvatella de Prada putting finishing touches on Spectral Seas, photo by Robert Zimmerman; (5) Student weaving plastic yarn into the tapestry


Regenerative Grazing to Mitigate Climate Change

Working with numerous partner organizations and students and faculty from NCCU, NCSU and UNC, a Bass Connections team examined the environmental and health effects of beef production in the United States. Team members developed healthy soils policy recommendations for North Carolina, as well as tools to help producers and policymakers understand the potential of alternative grazing practices. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Livestock observation on farm site visit; (2) Team members watching the setup of a rotational paddock at Johnny Rogers Cattle Company; (3-4) Team members visiting a local farm; (5) Soil core sampling at the Triangle Land Conservancy

Urban Development

Creative Industries and the Urban Environment

To understand the relationships between creative ventures, cultural initiatives and economic growth in Durham, a Bass Connections team collected and analyzed decades of demographic, housing, labor, education and business development data. Their analysis, which charted the reciprocal rise of cultural industries and economic growth in the city, was shared through a series of publications and an exhibit created in partnership with the Durham city government. See the poster.

Photos courtesy of the project team (clockwise from top left): (1) Students sharing their work at a team meeting, photo by Milena Ozernova; (2) Student team members John Fitch and Laura Richie presenting their research at the 2019 Bass Connections Showcase, photo by Kelly Bennett; (3) Students collaborating at a team meeting, photo by Milena Ozernova; (4) Aerial photo of Durham from the team's website; (5) Team members in April 2019, photo by Milena Ozernova

Where can I find this exhibit?

This exhibit is currently being displayed on the Campus Club Wall in Perkins Library (located at the northwest entrance to Perkins Library, across from Bostock Library/The Edge). Special thanks to Yoon Kim, Senior Library Exhibition Technician at Duke Libraries, for her guidance on exhibit design and installation.