Category: Research Page 1 of 2

2021 FSTA Recipients

Ben Anderson  Assistant Professor of Global Health

Received an FSTA award to support a project entitled “Detecting Routine and Novel Respiratory Viruses in China and Vietnam”. It is part of a larger project that aims to develop a low-cost, sustainable system for molecular detection of common respiratory viruses in hospitalized patients. Students in DKU will be able to be trained to carry out the procedure of high-throughput molecular testing of nasal swabs as well as other molecular diagnostic techniques by using the funded thermocyclers. Dr. Anderson has a PhD in Public Health from University of Florida; he joined DKU in 2018 .



Charles Chaoyi Chang  Assistant Professor of Environment and Urban Studies

Received an FSTA award to support his travel to the Annual Conference of the American Political Science Association in Seattle in the fall of 2021, at which he will present his paper entitled “Measuring State Infrastructure” co-authored with Yuhua Wang from Harvard University.  Dr. Chang has a Ph.D. in Environment and Resources from University of Wisconsin–Madison; he joined DKU in 2020.


Kristin Hiller Assistant Professor of English Language; Associate Director for Writing and Language Studio

Received an FSTA award to support a project entitled “Language Policy and Translingualism at Duke Kunshan University”. The aim of the project is to combine linguistic landscape analysis with interviews, observations, images and surveys, to study how language policies and practices at DKU open up or close down spaces for translingual practices.  Dr. Hiller has a Ph.D. in Linguistics, Applied Track from the University of Utah; she joined DKU in 2018.


Tyler Kustra  Assistant Professor of Political Science

Received an FSTA award to support his travel to the International Studies Association conference in Nashville in spring of 2022, where Tyler has been invited to present his paper entitled “Turning out the Lights: How do economic sanctions affect sanctioned countries?” Dr. Kustra has a Ph.D. in Politics from the New York University; he joined DKU in 2020.


Liqi Ren  Associate Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Lecturer of Innovation and Design

Received an FSTA award to support a project entitled “an Investigation of Cultural and Creative Industries as a Driving Force for the Social and Economic Development of the New Villages in Yangtze-Delta River Region”, Which will study the growth of Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) that has been promoted by the Chinese government. The project will engage students to field sites in rural China, and the purpose of the resulting products is to develop them into a grant proposal for a larger scale investigation, and to provide students with the opportunity to create products for their signature works.  Dr. Ren has a Ph.D. in Design, Environments and the Arts from the Arizona State University; she joined DKU in 2020.


Saghar Leslie Naghib Senior Lecturer in English Language, LCC

Received an FSTA award to support a project entitled “Lived Experiences form the Pantanal: Translating Climate Change into Everyday Language”. The aim is to study how inhabitants of the Pantanal in Brazil have experienced climate change over the last 20-30 years. The study is expected to yield a paper and a documentary film that presents the conflict of climate change in Brazil and contributes to a narrative from a conflict resolution standpoint. Dr. Naghib has a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution from the Nova Southeastern University ; she joined DKU in 2019.


Xiaoqian Xu Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Received an FSTA award to support a project entitled “Pheromone Effect on Reactions between Rho-GDPase and Rho-GTPase” The project aims to use mathematical modeling to describe the pheromone effect on reactions between rho-GDPase and rho-GTPase in positive feedback pathways in eukaryotic cells. Dr. Xu has a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison ; he joined DKU in 2019.

Junior Faculty Research Seminar Series-06

Xin ZHANG, Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Intercultural Communication is scheduled to give a seminar in March (see below). Please email if you want to get the Zoom link.

Presentation date& time: March 25 (Thursday) 20:00-21:00 Beijing Time via Zoom
• 30mins presentation
• 30mins Q&A

Being able to function in a Chinese workplace is what many learners of Chinese as a Second Language (CSL) report as their long-term motivation and the ultimate goal of learning Chinese language and culture. Yet few empirical studies have investigated CSL learners at the most sophisticated level to understand what leads to and constitutes their multilingual experience and identity co-construction as a foreign professional in modern Chinese workplace. The project examines foreign professionals (including academians) with advanced Chinese skills working in a multilingual environment in China where being able to use Mandarin is integral to the subjects’ professional standing and performance. Engaging the current debate over a “multilingual/multicultural turn” in fields concerning language learning and development as well as intercultural engagement, this project adopts, and contributes to the theorization of, Third-Space personae as a key analytical notion in understanding the negotiated and co-constructed nature of selfhood/identity in multilingual and intercultural interactions.

This paper focuses on the ways race and native-speakerness as well as their ideological manifestation in a Chinese context interfere with selfhood/identity negotiation of heritage and non-heritage (white) CSL speakers. We examine if and how Third-Space personae mediate the racialized expectations of these foreign professionals in multilingual Chinese workplaces.

  • Zhu Hua, Professor and Chair of Educational Linguistics, University of Birmingham
  • Xiaobin Jian, Associate Professor of Chinese, The Ohio State University 

Junior Faculty Research Seminar Series-05

Horvath Gergely, Assistant Professor of Economics is scheduled to give a seminar to introduce his research concept (see below). Please email if you want to get the Zoom link.

Presentation date& time: March 12 (Friday) 9:30-10:30am Beijing Time via Zoom

• 9:00 -9:30 presentation
• 9:30-10:00 Q&A

In an online experiment, we study the effectiveness of policy interventions in reducing the impact of behavioral biases on the job search. Due to the present bias, individuals set a lower search effort and a lower reservation wage than the optimal values, while the sunk-cost fallacy makes individuals reduce their reservation wage over the search spell. We compare the effects of search cost reduction and nudging on alleviating these biases. We find that search cost reduction increases the investment in the search effort and the individual welfare but not the reservation wage. Conversely, nudging increases the reservation wage, but not the investment in search effort or individual welfare. Furthermore, we show that both search cost reduction and nudging are effective in alleviating the impact of sunk-cost fallacy on the choice of the reservation wage. Our results suggest that behavioral interventions should be part of active labor market policies.

  • Andrew Schotter, Professor of Economics, NYU

Junior Faculty Research Seminar Series-04

Benjamin Anderson, Assistant Professor of Global Health is scheduled to give a seminar to introduce his study proposal in February (see below). Please email if you want to get the Zoom link.

Presentation date& time: February 26 (Friday) 9:30-10:30 am Beijing Time via Zoom
• 30mins presentation
• 30mins Q&A

Pork production in China is rapidly increasing and swine production operations continue to expand to meet demand. Disease outbreaks can readily threaten these production sites resulting in large economic losses. Recent disease examples include porcine epidemic diarrheal virus (PEDV), highly pathogenic porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2), and African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV). The movement of pathogens between humans and animals (zoonoses) also pose a unique challenge for disease control in swine production settings. Surveillance within swine farms can be an effective approach for the early identification of new disease threats and the mitigation of transmission before broad dissemination among a herd occurs. However, due to being moderately invasive, standard surveillance practices might not always be feasible as they may disrupt normal production operations. Furthermore, the cost of conducting surveillance, particularly in large-scale settings, could also be a barrier to its routine implementation. Non-invasive environmental bioaerosol sampling could be an effective and affordable approach for conducting routine surveillance in farms, providing an additional tool for farmers to protect their animals and themselves from new disease threats.

In this proposed two year prospective epidemiological study, we aim to 1) use a novel bioaerosol sampling approach to determine the prevalence of known swine pathogens; 2) apply a pathogen discovery algorithm to identify new disease threats; 2) evaluate the transmission dynamics of detected pathogens by comparing bioaerosol sampling, with water, fecal slurry, and surface sampling data; 4) characterize zoonotic transmission risk of detected pathogens by also studying swine worker sera and nasal wash samples.

  • Greg Gray, Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases;Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore Professor, Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases”, Duke
  • Charlie Nunn, Gosnell Family Professor in Global Health, Duke
  • Chris Woods, Duke
  • L Gayani Tillekeratne Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Gavin Smith, Professor & Interim Director | Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS
  • Lijing Yan, DKU
  • Jim Junfeng Zhang, Duke
  • Patrick Casey James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke-NUS

2021 Arts & Humanities Mini-Retreat

We cordially invite you to attend an hybrid, Arts& Humanities Retreat. Below is a outline of the event, for more details, please see event schedule.

Two morning sessions to focus on:

(1) building research funding opportunities in the Arts and Humanities and

(2) promoting the humanities at DKU and beyond (to build collaborations, experiential learning for our students, and a more general support for the Humanities in Jiangsu).

Please email to get Zoom Password.

DKU Internal Fund Info. Session in SS/AH

This is to announce a DKU Internal Fund Info Session in AH/SS Fields on Jan 29 Fri. This session invites center directors to share the funding information that supports faculty research, academic events, and other activities in AH/SS fields. They will also cover some funding opportunities in the past or plans in the near future. If you are interested, please mark this event on your calendar and attend in person( if you can) for a better discussion with the panelists and faculty in your field. Look forward to seeing you there.

Venue: IB2050
Time: 2021/1/29 Fri. 9-10am Beijing
Zoom link for remote attendees: email to get access

*Here’s the link to previous funding workshops.

Academic Writing Group

Dear faculty,

When the term starts, it is often hard to find time and space to write up research. Office of Faculty Affairs together with Coraline Goron and Ben Overmeire would like to organize a Faculty Writing Group starting from 2021 session3. (see attachment for detailed schedule)

The idea of the writing group is simple: we have a room booked for 2 hours twice per week (here it will be on Monday& Thursday for 2021 Session3); you come with your laptop, a cup to fill with tea or coffee, and some piece of writing you want to work on (course preps and admin are excluded). Due to COVID-19, we also create a Zoom ID for those who would like to join us remotely.

The writing sessions run as follow:
• We first do a roundtable telling each other our writing objective for the session;
• Then, we set the timer for 1 hour. When the time is up, we take a short break to refill our cups and eat some food & fruits, while chatting and complaining to each other about how hard it is to write! (light refreshments will be served)
• Then we go back to the writing table for another hour before wrapping up the session.
• Planning: we’ll try to invite guests or organize some fun activities during some of the sessions.

If you are interested in joining, please fill out the Qualtrics by Jan 6th 2021 “Writing Group” WeChat group will be set up to communicate more efficiently about it with those who have expressed an interest. That will not commit you at all to join every week, but will enable you to be reminded of the location and time of the sessions, and also to know who will join the next time.

We look forward to seeing many of you join this initiative!

Best regards,

Organizing Committee
Coraline Goron, Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy
Ben Van Overmeire, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Office of Faculty Affairs

Junior Faculty Research Seminar Series-03

Yu WANG, Assistant Professor of Sociology is scheduled to give a seminar to introduce her research concept in December (see below). Please email if you want to get the Zoom link.

Presentation date& time: Dec. 10 9am-10am Beijing time / Dec. 9 8pm – 9pm EST via Zoom
• 30mins presentation
• 30mins Q&A

Unpaid care work in the private sphere remains to be gendered, with women spending more hours in care work than men. The conventional economic dependency perspective attributes this gender difference in unpaid care work to the exchange between the husband’s income and wife’s performance of care work, revealing the specialization nature of the family. Some other explanations supplement the dependency perspective with the time availability approach highlighting a barter of time between spouses rather than economic resources. Though clearly stated, previous research focused on how work hours reduce individual’s care work, failing to test the barter of time between spouses. Using data from 2010 the Chinese Family Panel Studies, this article examines the economic dependency perspective by gender and explores the effect of relative paid working hours on husband’s and wife’s unpaid care work in urban China. The results show a gendered explanation of care work. For wives, the time of care work is explained by the relative hours in paid work between spouses. As the husband works longer hours than the wife, wife’s care time tends to increase rapidly. The devoted wife who spends more hours at work than their husband tends to compensate their gender deviance by doing more care work. For husbands, the economic dependency is more predicative of husband’s hours in care work.

  • Ralph Litzinger, Professor of Cultural Anthropology Melanie Manion, Duke
  • Vor Broker, Family Distinguished Professor of Political Science Duke; Co-Director Center for the Study of Contemporary China DKU 

Meet with experienced, successful NSSFC winners

陈霜叶Shuangye Chen (professor and associate director of the Institute of Curriculum and Instruction at East China Normal University) and 段颖Ying Duan (Associate professor of Anthropology, Sun Yat-sen University. 世界海外华人研究学会ISSCO International Society for the Studies of Chinese Overseas: Director of China Office) will offer an experience sharing session on November.

Presentation date& time:

  • Friday 11/27 9-10:30 am Beijing Time
  • IB2050 or join via Zoom: 962 8149 9722

*NSSFC stands for National Social Science Fund of China

Speaker’s Slides

->Shuangye CHEN

->Ying DUAN

Junior Faculty Research Seminar Series-02

Shixin XU, Assistant Professor of Mathematics is scheduled to give a seminar to introduce his idea for a grant proposal in November (see below). Please email if you want to get the Zoom link.

Presentation date& time: Nov. 20 9am-10am Beijing time / Nov. 19 8pm – 9pm EST via Zoom
• 9:00 -9:30 presentation
• 9:30-10:00 Q&A

Flows of water and various organic and inorganic molecules in the central nervous system are important in a wide range of biological and medical processes, as has recently become apparent (Nedergaard and Goldman 2020). However, the exact mechanisms that drive these flows are often not known. Here we investigate the forces and flows in a tridomain model of the central nervous system. We use the experimental system of the optic nerve, investigated by the Harvard group (Orkand, Nicholls, and Kuffler 1966) as a protype of the central nervous system in general. We construct a model and choose its parameters to fit the experimental data in detail. Our model is three dimensional and is meant to include significant anatomical detail in a general way. In this way, the model can be adapted to describe other systems with other structures, channels and transporters.

  • Huaxiong Huang, Dean of the Division of Science and Technology (DST), UIC
  • Robert Eisenberg, Bard Endowed Professor and Chairman emeritus, Rush
  • Huanhe Yang, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Biochemistry, Duke
  • Ru-Rong Ji, Distinguished Distinguished Professor of Anesthesiology, Duke

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