Co-Principal Investigators

The co-PIs oversee the implementation of the Duke UCEM and serve as chief advocates for the project. They work with the administrative oversight team, the advisory committee, faculty champions, and the chairs and directors of graduate studies in the nine UCEM departments to successfully carry out the UCEM’s mission. They also coordinate all communications with the Sloan Foundation regarding the UCEM.

mcclainPaula D. McClain, Ph.D.
Dean of The Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Professor of Political Science and Public Policy

Paula D. McClain is Professor of Political Science and Professor of Public Policy, Dean of The Graduate School, and Vice Provost for Graduate Education. She moved to Duke from the University of Virginia in 2000 and became Dean on July 1, 2012. She also directs the American Political Science Association’s Ralph Bunche Summer Institute hosted by Duke University, and funded by the National Science Foundation and Duke University. A Howard University Ph.D., her primary research interests are in racial minority group politics, particularly inter-minority political and social competition, and urban politics. Her articles have appeared in numerous journals, most recently the Journal of Politics, American Political Science Review, Urban Affairs Review, The Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race and Politics, Groups and Identities, among others. Her published books include Can We All Get Along? Racial and Ethnic Minorities in American Politics, coauthored with Joseph Stewart, Jr. in 2014. The 7th edition with a new coauthor, Jessica D. Johnson Carew will be released in July 2017. Her 1990 book, Race, Place and Risk: Black Homicide in Urban America, co-authored with Harold W. Rose, won the National Conference of Black Political Scientists’ 1995 Best Book Award for a previously published book that has made a substantial and continuing contribution. American Government in Black and White: Diversity and Democracy, co-authored with Steven Tauber, won the American Political Science Association’s Race, Ethnicity and Politics Organized Section Best Book Award for a book published in 2010.

Dean McClain is the immediate past president of the Midwest Political Science Association, past President of the Southern Political Science Association and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, and past vice president of the American Political Science Association. She has served as Program Co-Chair for the 1993 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association and as Program Chair for the 1999 annual meeting of Midwest Political Science Association. She has also held the positions of Vice President of the Midwest Political Science Association, Vice President and 2002 Program Chair of the Southern Political Science Association, and Vice President and Program Co-Chair of the 2003 International Political Science Association World Congress which was held in Durban, South Africa in July 2003. She has received numerous awards, including the Duke University Blue Ribbon Diversity Award (2012), the Graduate School Mentoring Award (2010), the Frank J. Goodnow Award for contributions to the profession of political science (2007), a Meta Mentoring Award from the Women’s Caucus for Political Science of the American Political Science Association (2007), the Manning Dauer Award from the Southern Political Science Association (2015), and 2017 Midwest Women’s Caucus of Political Science (MWCPS) Outstanding Professional Achievement award. In 2014, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

howellCalvin R. Howell, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics

Calvin Howell is an Associate Director of the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) and holds adjunct professorships in the Medical Physics Program at Duke University and in the Physics Department at North Carolina Central University. He has been a visiting scientist at several national laboratories, including the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and the Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory. His research is in the general area of experimental nuclear physics with emphasis on the quantum chromodynamics (QCD) description of nucleon structure and nuclear-reaction dynamics. His work also includes applications of nuclear physics to national security, plant biology, and medical diagnostics. He has published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has contributed to the writing of three national long-range plans in nuclear science. Professor Howell is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and has served the nuclear-physics community extensively. His service includes being the Director and Deputy Director of TUNL, a visiting Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF), a member of the Department of Energy (DOE)/NSF Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, a member of the Executive Committee of the Division of Nuclear Physics of the APS, chair of the Executive Committee of the Southeastern Section and the Few-Body Topical Group of the APS, chair of the APS Committee on Minorities, a member and chair of numerous APS and conference organizing committees, and a member of many NSF and DOE field review and planning panels.

Duke Leadership

KornbluthSally Kornbluth, Ph.D.
Online Biosketch

Sally Kornbluth was appointed Duke University Provost on July 1, 2014. She served as Vice Dean for Basic Science at Duke’s School of Medicine from 2006-2014. In this role, she served as a liaison between the Dean’s office and the basic science department chairs and faculty, including oversight of the biomedical graduate programs in the School of Medicine, implementation of programs to support the research mission of the basic science faculty, and oversight of new and existing core laboratories. Provost Kornbluth received a B.A. in Political Science from Williams College in 1982 and in 1984 a B.S. in Genetics from Cambridge University, England, where she was a Herchel Smith Scholar at Emmanuel College. She received her Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University in 1989 in Molecular Oncology and went on to postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Diego. She joined the Duke faculty in 1994 and is currently the Jo Rae Wright University Professor. Her research interests include the study of cell proliferation and programmed cell death, areas of central importance for understanding both carcinogenesis and degenerative disorders. She has published extensively in these areas, studying these problems in a variety of model organisms.

AshbyValerie Sheares Ashby, Ph.D.
Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Online Biosketch

Valerie Sheares Ashby became the Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University on July 1, 2015. She received her B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed her postdoctoral research at the Universitat Mainz, Germany in 1994 as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and NATO Postdoctoral Fellow. Dean Ashby comes to Duke from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she chaired the Department of Chemistry from 2012-2015. As a faculty member at UNC since 2003, she has held numerous leadership positions and has experience at all levels of academic administration. She served on the UNC Arts & Sciences Foundation Board of Directors and on the UNC Research Advisory Council tasked with strategic planning on interdisciplinary research development. She chaired the university’s Institutional Conflict of Interest Committee as well as the UNC College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Diversity Task Force. She served on the UNC Faculty Executive Committee and advised administration on aligning university priorities with the university mission. She engaged in all aspects of the undergraduate educational experience, including curriculum and advising, in her role as the Chemistry Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies. And she directed the UNC National Science Foundation Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented students completing doctoral degrees and continuing into the professoriate in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and social, behavioral and economics (SBE) fields. As a researcher, Dean Ashby’s work focused on synthetic polymer chemistry with a present focus on designing and synthesizing materials for biomedical applications such as X-ray contrast agents and drug delivery materials. She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation Career Development Award, the DuPont Young Faculty and 3M Young Faculty Awards.

As an educator, Dean Ashby was recognized with the UNC-Chapel Hill General Alumni Association Faculty Service Award, the Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professorship for excellence in undergraduate teaching and research, the J. Carlyle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award, the UNC Student Undergraduate Teaching Award, and the Johnston Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching.

BellamkondaRavi V. Bellamkonda, Ph.D.
Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering
Online Biosketch

Ravi Bellamkonda is the Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. Prior to becoming dean, he served as the Wallace H. Coulter Professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. He is committed to fostering transformative research and pedagogical innovation as well as programs that create an entrepreneurial mindset amongst faculty and students.

A trained bioengineer and neuroscientist, Dean Bellamkonda holds an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. His graduate training at Brown University was in biomaterials and medical science (with Patrick Aebischer), and his post-doctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology focused on the molecular mechanisms of axon guidance and neural development (with Jerry Schneider and Sonal Jhaveri). His research explores the interplay of biomaterials and the nervous system for neural interfaces, nerve repair and brain tumor therapy.

From 2014 to 2016, Dean Bellamkonda served as president of the American Institute for Biological and Medical Engineering (AIMBE), the leading policy and advocacy organization for biomedical engineers with representation from industry, academia and government. Dean Bellamkonda’s numerous awards include the Clemson Award for Applied Research from the Society for Biomaterials, EUREKA award from National Cancer Institute (National Institutes of Health), CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, and Best Professor Award from the Georgia Tech Biomedical Engineering student body.