About Us


The DECIPHER Bass Connections team at Duke is currently in its third iteration (2019-2020). The first team was conducted from 2017-2018 under the name Decisions on Complex Interdisciplinary Problems of Health and Environmental Risk (De-CIPHER). This team broadly established the goal of improving holistic understanding of health and environmental risks through the design, research, and generation of a comprehensive profile motivated by a specific risk and then to expand the scope to include associated contexts, decisions, and outcomes.

The 2017-2018 team focused specifically on fluorinated chemicals.  Toxic ammonia refrigerants were replaced with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the 1920s. However, CFCs were later found to damage the stratospheric ozone layer and were again banned and replaced. Newer replacements involve more tradeoffs, as they are potent greenhouse gases and potentially toxic. Click to learn more about the 2017-2018 team.

The following year, the DECIPHER team focused on case studies of drinking water quality. The team examined various contaminants, sources, decisions, and the populations these affected. Click to learn more about the 2018-2019 team.

In its upcoming fourth year, DECIPHER will examine a series of risk-based decision scenarios of the settlement of Mars, which includes associated contexts, histories, decisions, and outcomes. Different stakeholder perspectives, including public, private, and international motivations will be analyzed and compared. Click to learn more about the 2020-2021 team.

About Bass Connections

Bass Connections is a university-wide academic program that gives students a chance to apply classroom lessons to complex societal challenges, working alongside faculty from all of Duke’s schools.
Named in honor of founding donors Anne and Robert Bass, Bass Connections exemplifies Duke’s commitment to team-based interdisciplinary research.

There are five main themes of study: Brain & Society, Education & Human Development, Energy & Environment, Global Health, and Information, Society & Culture.

To learn more about the Duke Bass Connections program click here.