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News briefs

Pratt appoints executive-in-residence

Technology entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa accepted the post to become the executive-in-residence for the Master of Engineering Management program in the Pratt School of Engineering.

Wadhwa’s responsibilities will entail serving as a mentor to students in the program as well as providing advice and aiding faculty who want to commercialize technology fostered at Duke.

The new executive-in-residence, who has worked in the software industry for more than 25 years, is the co-founder and former CEO of Relativity Technologies, Inc., of Raleigh and a contributing columnist for BusinessWeek Online.

Wadhwa has also served as the vice president of information services at Credit Suisse First Boston in New York and has advised numerous business executives as the founding president of TiE Carolinas, an entrepreneurial networking and mentoring group.


Senior associate dean named for Nicholas school

Emily Klein, Lee Hill Snowden Professor of geology, was appointed senior associate dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences late last week.

As senior associate dean, Klein will be directly responsible for the Nicholas School’s undergraduate programs and superintend the design and construction of the school.

Klein came to the University in 1989 as assistant professor of geology, became associate professor of geology in 1996 and took on additional responsibilities as director of undergraduate programs in 2004. Earlier this year, Klein earned full professorship and was named Lee Hill Snowden Professor of Geology.


Gambling monkeys give insight into neural machinery of risk

Duke University Medical Center neurobiologists posted in the advanced online version of Nature Neuroscience Aug. 14 that they have pinpointed circuitry in the brains of monkeys that assesses the level of risk in a given action. Their findings were gathered through giving monkeys a chance to gamble to receive juice rewards.

The scientists found that even when the researchers subjected the monkeys to a string of “losses,” monkeys still continued gambling due to the rewards of a “win.”

The research implications could offer insights into why humans compulsively engage in risky behaviors, including gambling, unsafe sex, drug use and overeating.


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