Science Laboratories

Biological Laboratories

Facilities for graduate study in the Department of Biology are located on West Campus, together with those of supporting departments (physics, chemistry, earth and ocean sciences, and the basic medical sciences). Scientists in plant and animal biology with common interests are clustered in two buildings: the Biological Sciences Building, and the French Family Science Center. The two buildings are physically connected and maximal interaction occurs between the different groups in biology through seminars, shared instrumentation and collaborative research projects. Special facilities include animal rooms, greenhouses, refrigerated and controlled environment rooms, access to the Shared Material Instrumentation Facility and the Light Microscopy Core Facility (LMCF). The LMCF offers a wide range of confocal and conventional fluorescence microscopes and image analysis resources. As a centrally funded shared resource, the core’s aim is to offer affordable and efficient access to standard and advanced imaging instrumentation for users of all levels of experience and from any discipline across the Duke University and the Duke Medical Center campuses. Extensive facilities for experimentation in environmental control of plant growth are available in the Phytotron adjacent to the greenhouses.

The herbarium contains approximately 800,000 specimens and includes notable collections of mosses, lichens and vascular plants. Other assets for teaching and research are the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on West Campus; the eleven-acre experimental plot and field laboratory; the Duke Forest, composed of 7,050 acres of woodland adjacent to West Campus; the field station for the study of ecology; and the Nicholas School of the Environment’s Marine Laboratory, an interdepartmental facility located on a small island on the coast at Beaufort, North Carolina, where twenty-two buildings and a small flotilla of ships and boats provide teaching and research facilities for resident graduate students and faculty as well as visiting individuals or groups..

Duke University, through the Department of Biology, is a member institution of the Organization for Tropical Studies, Inc., a consortium of universities with field station facilities in Costa Rica that provide opportunities for coursework and research in tropical science.

Highlands Biological Station

Duke University holds a contributing membership in the Highlands Biological Station at Highlands, North Carolina, on the southern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains at an elevation of 4,118 feet. The station and the region offer an excellent opportunity for field studies and some laboratory work. A limited number of qualified students in biology may make arrangements to carry out research here. Scholarships for advanced study during the summer months and a grant-in-aid to cover research expenses are available through the station.

The Plant Teaching and Research Complex

Managed by Duke Biology, The Plant Teaching and Research Complex is the core support facility for researchers using plants in the instruction of students and in biological research programs for Duke University. It plays an important role in supporting the university’s objective through research, teaching, and extension.

The Plant Teaching and Research Complex is composed of five separate facilities: the Phytotron, the Research Greenhouse, the Teaching Collection, the Field Station and the Botany plot. These facilities are dedicated to Duke University researchers and instructors.

The Phytotron

The Phytotron houses sixty-seven growth chambers of varying sizes and six greenhouse units. Environmental factors controlled in these units include light, temperature, nutrients, carbon dioxide concentration, and humidity. Founded in 1968, the facility has a long and distinguished history of plant-controlled environment research, and is an important tool for global change research. It supports studies ranging from individual plant to whole ecosystem responses to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and/or temperatures. The facility boasts a dedicated staff with many years of experience in controlled environment research.

Research Greenhouse

The Research Greenhouse, built in 2004, is equipped with some of the latest technology in greenhouse-controlled space. The total facility spans 12,676 square feet. This space encompasses eight growing zones separated by airlocks, and a propagation room.

Teaching Collection

The Teaching Collections greenhouses were constructed in 2009, directly adjacent to the Research Greenhouses, and are considered one of Duke’s hidden gems. This diverse reference display of plants is used for both research and teaching. The collection features more than 950 unique species from around 500 different genera from around the world, including aquatic, desert, tropical, temperate, rare, and endangered species. The primary function of the plant teaching collection is to serve undergraduate teaching at Duke University. Because of its uniqueness, this collection also serves as a resource for world-renowned botanists as well as local school groups. In addition, the collections protect species on the list of rare or threatened plants. Tours are available by appointment only.

Field Station

The biological Field Station, located adjacent to the Duke Lemur Center, is the primary location for in-ground plant research trials. Open to all faculty and students, this protected two acres is used by plant geneticists and ecologists throughout the growing season, April to October. Field space is protected by an 8-foot-high fence to ensure the safety of the research from foraging deer.

Botany Plot

The Botany Plot on Cameron Boulevard is additional in-ground protected plant research space open to all labs for plant experiments.

Duke Forest

Since 1931, the Duke Forest has served as Duke University’s living laboratory and outdoor classroom. It occupies over 7,000 acres of land in Durham, Orange, and Alamance counties. The mission of the forest is to facilitate teaching and research across a broad range of topics, and the primary management objectives demonstrate excellence in natural resource stewardship and sustainable timber production. The forest also provides opportunity for nature-based, passive recreation.

The forest lies near the eastern edge of the piedmont plateau and supports a cross-section of the woodlands found in the upper coastal plain and the lower piedmont of the Southeast. A variety of ecosystems, forest cover types, plant species, soils, topography, and past land-use conditions are represented within its boundaries. In terms of size, diversity, accessibility, and accumulated long-term data, the Duke Forest is a resource for studies related to forest ecosystems and the environment that is unmatched by any other university.

Academic use of the Duke Forest ranges from class instruction to long-term research projects, including studies on vegetation composition, landscape ecology, remote sensing, invertebrate zoology, atmospheric science, and global climate change. Background information available for teaching and research includes features such as soils, topography, forest cover, and management records; much of this data is electronically available in a geographic information system (GIS) format. A bibliography of past and current studies in the Duke Forest is also available.

In addition to leading educational tours and field laboratory exercises, Duke Forest staff actively promote researching and teaching across new disciplines, technologies, and audiences. Staff are available to assist researchers in site establishment and management of projects in the Duke Forest, and to work with teachers in planning and implementing course projects, case studies, and homework assignments that use the Duke Forest.

All graduate students who wish to initiate research or lead class activities in the Duke Forest should contact Director Sara Childs at to discuss the project. Through a simple registration and approval process, students have the opportunity to use this invaluable resource to maximize their educational experience at Duke. Maps and gate keys ($10 deposit required) are available from the office. For more information, visit

Earth and Ocean Sciences Laboratories

Morphodynamics and Coastal Processes Simulation Lab. Dr. Brad Murray’s lab includes Silicon Graphics and LINUX computers, as well as PCs, and access to a large number of processors in a computing cluster in Colorado. Along with students, postdocs, undergraduate assistants, and visiting scholars, Murray uses these machines chiefly for developing and running numerical models of Earth surface processes. Experiments with relatively simple models address the evolution and response to climate change of an array of environments, including sandy and rocky coastlines, nearshore seabeds, coastal marshes, surf zones, rivers, deltas, desert sand dunes, arid landscapes, and patterned arctic permafrost. Interactions between physical landscape forming processes and biological processes, including humans, take center stage in several of these efforts. Field observations play a key role in motivating and testing these theoretical investigations, and the lab includes equipment to facilitate observations, including a basic GPS unit, video collection and analysis hardware and software, and a high-powered PC for processing large remote sensing (e.g. LIDAR) data sets.

Electron Microprobe Laboratory. The electron microprobe lab, directed by Dr. Alan Boudreau, is used by the petrology and geochemistry groups at Duke and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As such, it is an indispensable basic tool in mineral analyses. The machine consists of a Cameca CAMEBAX (French manufacture) electron microprobe with four wavelength-dispersive spectrometers, an energy dispersive spectrometer and digital electron microbeam imaging system. It is automated with control through PC operating system. The lab is part of a Duke-UNC shared laboratory facilities agreement.

Geochemistry Laboratory. Dr. Paul Baker’s lab has all facilities necessary for major and minor wet chemical analysis. Dr. Baker’s lab also has field sampling equipment including seismic reflection profilers and a variety of coring equipment for undertaking marine and fresh water sediment and water column sampling.

Geochemistry Laboratories. Instruments and laboratory facilities overseen by Dr. Emily Klein include the following instruments and laboratory equipment for sample preparation. (1) ARL-Fisons Spectraspan seven direct current plasma (DCP) spectrometer, equipped with a twenty-four channel multi-element cassette for major- and high-abundance trace-element analysis for elements and high abundance trace elements (to ppm levels). (2) VG PlasmaQuad-3 inductively-coupled-plasma mass-spectrometer (ICP-MS) for bulk analysis of low abundance trace elements including the rare earth elements, high field strength elements and a wide range of other elements.

The Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometer (TIMS) Lab ( Dr. Avner Vengosh oversees this laboratory, housed in the Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the Nicholas School of Environment. The heart of the lab is a fully automated Thermo Scientific TRITON thermal ionization mass spectrometer (TIMS). The TRITON is a new thermal ionization mass spectrometer with the most precise and accurate isotope ratios for positive and negative ions (see at The instrument was installed in February 2008. Currently the lab has developed the analytical procedures for boron and strontium isotopes.

The Laboratory for Environmental Analysis of RadioNuclides ( Dr. Avner Vengosh oversees this laboratory, which includes:

  • Two scintillation alpha counters (made by Scientific Computer Instruments, West Columbia, South Carolina) for measuring low abundances of 224Ra and 223Ra activities (Moore and Arnold, 1996; Vinson et al., in press)

  • Canberra high resolution Broad Energy germanium (BEGe) detector (BE5030) gamma spectrometry with 50 percent relative efficiency equipped with ultra low background hardware, an In Situ Object Counting System (ISOCS), mathematical calibration software, and Genie 2000 Multi-Input software. The instrument is currently calibrated for measurements of 226Ra, 228Ra, 210Pb, and 137Cs radionuclides.

  • RAD7 Electronic Radon Monitor/Sniffer for accurate measurements of radon in air and water, made by Durridge Company Inc., MA, USA. The instrument is calibrated for measurement of 226Ra in Mn-fibers after three-weeks incubation.

Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecophysiology Laboratory. The main objective of Dr. Nicolas Cassar’s lab is to constrain the mechanisms governing carbon cycling, ocean fertility, the biological pump, ocean/atmosphere gas fluxes and carbon acquisition mechanisms in marine phytoplankton. The laboratory hosts several analyzers used in the lab and on ships: two quadrupole mass spectrometers, a cavity ring-down laser absorption spectrometer, optodes and a transmissometer. Several other peripherals include: high vacuum lines, pumps (peristaltic, gear and piston) and valco valves. Chemostats (or continuous-growth cultures) are also being built. See for further details.

Eco-hydrology and Bio-geomorphology Lab. Dr. Marani’s laboratory will be equipped to address issues related to interacting geomorphological, hydrological, and biological processes, in tidal systems as well as in fluvial environments. The lab will include computing facilities to develop and run numerical models and to analyze remote sensing information. The lab will also include a water isotope analyzer, DGPS equipment and software, a VIS/NIR radiometer, an ADV system, a sonic anemometer, and sensors to characterize hydrologic states and fluxes (soil moisture probes as well as traditional rain gauges and weirs).

Forestry Sciences Laboratory

The Forestry Sciences Laboratory of the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, is located in the Research Triangle Park near Durham. This research organization provides excellent opportunities to complement research conducted by students in the Nicholas School of the Environment. Specialized research projects in forest economics, carbon cycling, and productivity are currently under way at the laboratory. The staff of the laboratory is available for consultation and participation in seminars. Arrangements may be made for students to conduct certain aspects of their research at the laboratory.

Marine Laboratory

The Duke University Marine Laboratory (DUML) of the Nicholas School of the Environment is an educational and research campus located on Pivers Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The DUML campus consists of research buildings, library, classrooms, teaching laboratories, dormitories, a dining hall, student center, administration, maintenance complex, marine operations facility, and research docks. DUML is adjacent to the historic seacoast town of Beaufort, North Carolina, with direct access to the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Lookout National Seashore, barrier islands, sand beaches, estuaries, wetlands, and coastal forests. The area provides an excellent opportunity for research, at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. Research spanning physical, biological, and social sciences is supported at DUML. There are approximately thirty master’s and thirty resident doctoral students. For information concerning teaching and research space, contact: Associate Director, Duke University Marine Laboratory, 135 Duke Marine Lab Road, Beaufort, NC 28516-9721; (252) 504-7508;

Lemur Center

The Duke Lemur Center is located in Duke Forest about two miles from the main campus. It is the world’s only facility devoted entirely to the care, conservation, and study of lemurs. The colony is composed of approximately 250 animals from more than fifteen named taxa. The lemurs, and their closest relatives, the lorises, are housed in spacious indoor and outdoor facilities. In the summer months in particular, numerous lemurs “free range” in large tracts of open area within Duke Forest, providing a unique opportunity for investigators and students to study lemur behavior in a semi-natural setting. The center also houses frozen cadavers, biological samples, and fossil primate collections for study. All collections are utilized by students and faculty from a wide variety of Duke departments, as well as by scholars from other national and international institutions. Graduate students wishing to conduct research at the center should identify this interest to the director of graduate studies for the department to which they are applying. For information pertaining to the use of the Duke Lemur Center, graduate studies, or availability of research space, contact Dr. Erin Ehmke,, Director of Research, Duke Lemur Center, 3705 Erwin Road, Durham, NC 27705.

Chemistry Laboratories

In 2007, the Department of Chemistry moved to the French Family Science Center, a state-of-the-art research facility donated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This building houses not only the entire chemistry department, but also biological sciences, and a portion of the physics department and research labs. The building contains 275,000 square feet of total area, with additional research space in the Levine Science Research Center to accommodate chemistry at the biology interface. This well-equipped chemical laboratory provides conditions conducive to research in many areas of current interest. Major shared instruments, including those for nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry, are housed in the departmental instrumentation facility, along with optical and other instrumentation, including FTIR, UV/VIS, and fluorescence spectrometers. A wide array of more specialized instrumentation is available in the various research laboratories, from ultrafast laser systems to atomic force microscopes to automated solid-phase synthesizers. Other major facilities on campus include the Free Electron Laser Laboratory and the University NMR Center, which maintains several ultra high field NMR instruments. A broad range of instrumentation for biological and materials science applications is accessible in the medical center and Pratt School of Engineering, with additional facilities available at the neighboring universities and in Research Triangle Park, including those for x-ray diffraction and structure determination.

Computing facilities in chemistry include SGI and Redhat Linux workstations, Beowulf clusters, and clusters of PC’s associated with the teaching laboratories. The department is linked to the university’s high-speed fiber optic network and to the university’s high- performance shared computing cluster. This building is primarily a research facility, and the majority of space is dedicated to research and teaching labs. In addition, the department has state-of-the-art computer/video projection systems in its lecture hall and conference rooms and wireless networking for incorporation of the latest computational research tools into the undergraduate chemistry curriculum.

Physics Laboratories

The physics building houses research and instruction in the departments of physics and mathematics. Additional space is provided in the adjacent buildings such as Triangle Nuclear Building (TUNL), French Family Science Center (FFSC), and the Duke Free Electron Laser Laboratory (FEL). Graduate students conducting research in these buildings often have their offices there.

About half of the physics space is devoted to research laboratories for the department’s programs. Among the special equipment housed in the department are: 1 GeV linear accelerator; a high current electron storage ring driving an ultraviolet to soft X-ray Free Electron Laser (FEL) (this facility is used, among other things, to produce a high-intensity gamma-ray source known as the HIGS; a 20 MeV tandem Van de Graaff accelerator with polarized source and cryogenically cooled polarized targets. In addition, the department houses a number of table top laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment used in performing experiments in hard and soft condensed matter, biophysics, nonlinear and complex systems, and optics. Examples include ultrafast, high power, short wavelength, far-infrared and frequency-stabilized lasers, traps for ultra-cold atoms, high-speed oscilloscopes, classical and quantum optical telecommunication systems, entangled-photon sources, specially designed apparatus or soft matter experiments, conventional and ultra-high speed imaging equipment, cryostats for achieving milliKelvin temperatures, and associated equipment for fabricating experimental samples. In addition, a scanning electron microscope with electron beam lithographic capability and other materials processing equipment is housed in the Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF). An appropriately staffed instrument shop is also located in the physics building.

The department contains several computers for data collection and processing in all of the research groups and a massively parallel computer system for use in particle, nuclear, and condensed matter experimental and theoretical research. Desktop computers are typically provided for all grad students. The computing infrastructure is maintained and supported by computing staff located in the physics building. The physics building is located near the Bostock Library, which contains a world-class collection of books and scholarly periodicals.

Engineering Research Laboratories

The laboratories of the four departments of the Pratt School of Engineering contain extensive state-of-the-art equipment that is used in several specialized fields. The Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF) provides researchers with high quality and cost- effective access to advanced materials characterization and clean room fabrication capabilities. SMIF operates as a multidisciplinary shared use facility, and is available to Duke University researchers from the various schools and departments as well as to external users from other universities, government laboratories, and industry. SMIF is housed in the Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences (CIEMAS). The 11,000-square-foot facility consists of 4,000 square feet of class 100 and class 1000 clean room space, and more than 2,600 square feet of specialized laboratory space for characterization equipment. The remainder of the space is composed of facility support areas, staff offices, and a conference/classroom.

Duke Research Computing offers a range of computing options, ranging from high-throughput/high-performance cluster computing to virtual machines. The Duke Compute Cluster consists of machines that the University has provided for community use and that researchers have purchased to conduct their research. At present, the cluster consists of about 7,000 CPU-cores, with underlying hardware from Cisco UCS and Dell M600-series blades in Dell M1000-series chassis. Interconnects are 10 GBs.

The following is an overview of research and capabilities found in each department:

Biomedical Engineering. This biomechanics and mechanobiology research focuses upon mechanics at and across the molecular, cellular, tissue, and organ levels with applications in orthopaedics, injury mechanics, and biomaterial and tissue engineering design. Biomaterials research includes the molecular design of soft materials, nanomaterials, immune-active materials, scaffolds for tissue engineering, and basic investigations into the complex mechanisms by which materials engage biology. The Duke BME program is a world leader in development of novel biomedical imaging technologies, with translational and basic science applications. The program has pushed the boundaries of discovery and innovation in optics and photonics, ultrasound, MRI, X-ray, and nuclear medicine-based imaging technologies, developing new diagnostic and treatment tools for ailments ranging from cancer to cardiovascular, neurological, and ophthalmic diseases. Neural engineering research focuses upon developing novel neural technologies that can interact with the brain on a much finer scale and with greater coverage than previously possible, using both electrical and optical measurements. Research in biosensors and bioinstrumentation utilizes recent advances in biochemistry, electronics, omics (genomics, epigenetics, proteomics), and physiology to develop novel diagnostic, therapeutic, and prosthetic devices. The program engineers macro- and nano-scale devices that utilize biological components, such as antibodies or enzymes, to detect and quantify minute amounts of chemicals or investigate biological process in diverse systems and environments. The program is developing methods to read and manipulate genetic code, including new strategies for regenerative medicine, treatment of genetic disease, and techniques to establish robust gene circuit function. Researchers within the Duke BME community focus on the study and advancement of computational methods and data analysis techniques to understand biological phenomena. This research spans many application areas including electrophysiology, patient-specific hemodynamics, cellular mechanisms, gene circuits, and synthetic biology.

Civil and Environmental Engineering. Duke Civil and Environmental Engineering research focuses on the broad themes of creating healthy, safe environments and engineering complex earth, water and built systems. Collaborating across disciplines and around the world, we apply engineering methods to solve global challenges posed by growing human needs and activities and uncertain environmental forces, with the goal of creating a healthier, safer and more sustainable world. Duke computational mechanics faculty develop efficient, precise algorithms to study and solve complex problems governed by the laws of mechanics. We study the connections between human and environmental health to understand risks and build resilience in both living populations and global ecosystems. CEE researchers work to address issues related to underground engineering, exploration, resource use and environmental hazards. CEE research efforts in Hydrology and Fluid Dynamics focus on pressing problems in environmental fluid dynamics, hydrology and water resources. CEE researchers are finding new and better ways of estimating and quantifying the dynamics, uncertainty and risks prevalent in engineered and natural systems.

Research and teaching facilities in engineering mechanics, structural engineering, and geomechanics include four independent closed-loop electrohydraulic dynamic loading systems (MTS), with a frequency range up to 100 Hz, and ranges of load to capacity 6,000, 35,000, 50,000 and 220,000 lbs. For teaching and research, the department has a 10,000 lb. universal testing machine and a 10,000 lb. torsion machine both fully instrumented with computer data storage, as well as a Kistler force plate with ten decades of sensitivity. Equipment is available for fabricating specimens and testing fiber-reinforced polymer composites. An environmental chamber tests in the temperature range of -100º to +350º F; equipment for spectral and modal dynamic analysis, and an ultra-high pressure triaxial shear apparatus is available for confining pressures up to 100,000 psi. Rock-testing facilities, model-testing equipment for anchored walls and penetrometer studies, a large-aperture research polariscope, a reflective photoelastic polariscope, and a sustained-loading facility for long duration in studies of prestressed concrete are routinely used in teaching and research procedures.

Research and teaching facilities in environmental engineering include wet and dry laboratories equipped to study a range of physical, chemical, and biological processes. A fully integrated resource recovery pilot plant, calorimetry for the measurement of heat values of secondary fuels, air classifiers interfaced with computer monitors, as well as indoor and outdoor water resources monitoring devices including flumes, Venturi meters, and digital computation hardware are available. The biotechnology and physical-chemical laboratories are equipped with autoclaves, a media preparation room, walk-in environmental rooms, numerous fume hoods, a biohazard containment facility for cultivation of genetically engineered microorganisms, fully instrumented bioreactors with online control, and various analytical instrumentation including liquid scintillation counting, autoradiography, atomic adsorption spectroscopy, total carbon analysis to ppb levels, gas chromatographs equipped with ECO, FID, and TCD detectors, HPLCs, computer-assisted image analysis microscopes, and a recently acquired Fourier transfer infrared spectrometer facility.

The Aquatic Research Facility, located in the Duke Forest, is comprised of approximately 1,500 square feet of AAALAC-approved space for holding and performing experiments with aquatic organisms. The facility contains static and flow-through systems for both holding and exposing fish and is approved for research with hazardous chemicals and for research with radiolabeled (H-3 and C-14) compounds. Conditions in 30 controlled release facilities—tightly controlled and highly instrumented ecosystems are continuously monitored and recorded through a sophisticated network of sensors that allow for real-time on-line data collection and analysis, available to CEINT researchers worldwide through a secure internet portal. The data logging (via a network of CR1000 and multiplexers Campbell) has been micro-coded and programmed for the acquisition of the large amount of probes and sensors implemented at the mesocosm site. Instrumentation available in the labs of Environmental Engineering researchers ranging from advanced multi-angle dynamic light scattering, ellipsometers, and electrokinetic and surface area analyzers for nanomaterial characterization to PCR, Real-Time PCR, DGGE, Gel-Doc, confocal scanning laser microscopes and IMARIS and COMSTAT software to analyze and quantify confocal microscope images, and related equipment for molecular microbiology work. Students and faculty also have substantial access to X-ray and synchrotron facilities at DOE labs including SSRL/SLAC, PAS/ANL, ALS/LBNL, and EMSL/PNNL and associated sample preparation instrumentation.

Electrical and Computer Engineering. The Computer Engineering (CE) group engages in design, implementation, evaluation, and testing of computer systems at all levels of a computer system, from computing substrates and materials to hardware architectures to the software that runs on the hardware. The computer engineering group collaborates closely with the computer systems group in the computer science department, particularly with researchers in architecture, distributed systems, networking, and databases. Microelectronics, photonics, and nanotechnology (MPN) research focuses on materials and devices that include micro- and nano-fluidic systems, integration of these fluidic systems with optical systems, photovoltaics, nano-optics, photodetectors, lasers and LEDs, optical biochemical sensors (fluidic and aerosol), silicon photonics, integrated circuit design through the MOSIS foundry, CMOS circuits, nanostructured materials and devices, and chip scale integrated optical/electrical systems. Strong software design and optimization capabilities in MPN are complemented by the fabrication and characterization capabilities in the SMIF, and through ultra-mixed signal test facilities in MPN labs. Duke ECE has a strong experimental and theoretical research presence in novel and structured metamaterials, surface science, electromagnetic and acoustic waves, quantum sciences, imaging systems and communication systems. Research in this area includes design and realization of functional advanced information processing systems; electromagnetic, wave and quantum physics used for representation, transmission and manipulation of information; mathematical and computational principles for encoding and processing of information. Signal and Information Processing and Robotics plays a key role at the intersection of fundamental science, domain knowledge, and theory and algorithms. Research involves robot motion planning and control, semiautonomous robots, and integrating perception and planning; design and analysis of cyber-physical systems, physics-based statistical signal processing algorithms, image and video processing, computer vision, computer graphics, and computational vision.

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Duke Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science research is focused on solving some of the biggest challenges facing humanity and our planet. MEMS faculty have deep experience in developing methods of scientific computing and specialize in the application of computational approaches, including artificial intelligence, to a wide range of engineering challenges—from predictive modeling to new materials development to automation and controls. We design autonomous systems that span robotics, cyber-physical systems, internet of things, medicine, and the ethical and social impact of technology. Using computational and experimental methods, our researchers seek to discover new knowledge of the physics involved to aid in the development of improved airframes and turbomachinery that are safer and more efficient. Faculty are deeply engaged in developing new sources of energy and improving the design of systems for energy conversion, storage and transport. New energy materials and approaches include photovoltaics, solar fuels, thermoelectrics, supercapacitors/batteries, efficient lighting and thermofluids. Practical applications are built upon discoveries in mechanics, thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, materials science, applied chemistry and physics. MEMS faculty conduct research focused on computational discovery of new materials, the creation of materials on the nanoscale, nanoscale investigation of physical phenomena and properties of polymers, soft-wet, and nanomaterials, and exploring a deep and rich array of biological phenomena to unlock discoveries leading to new bio-inspired materials. Building on our discoveries, we are solving analytical and biomechanical problems with clinical relevance.

The department has well-equipped laboratories for studies in aerodynamics, acoustics, nonlinear dynamics and chaos, microscale and convective heat transfer, computational fluid mechanics and heat transfer, control theory, cell and membrane biomechanics, biorheology, polymer engineering, corrosion, electronic materials, physical metallurgy, positron annihilation spectroscopy, and expert systems. Equipment in these laboratories includes a wind tunnel, several scanning electron microscopes and scanning tunneling microscopes, Doppler broadening and lifetime positron systems, a liquid helium cryostat, DSC/DMA facilities and diffusion furnace, inverted microscopes, atomic force microscopes, low-light-level video cameras and a photon counter, cell-culture systems, an anechoic chamber, dynamic signal analyzers and laser velocimeters for dynamic analysis, an x-ray generator and diffractometer, FTIR spectrometer, high-power lasers with lock-in amplifier, a 3D Systems ProX 350 metal 3D printer, and fluorescence microscopes. Duke’s Soft Matter Lab contains instrumentation for synthesis of colloids and biopolymers and for characterization of their assemblies. These include capacity for synthesis and purification of recombinant biopolymers, microfluidic production of colloids, high throughput production of nanoparticles.

The Duke Hypo-Hyperbaric Center

The Duke Hypo-Hyperbaric Center is a major center for research, treatment, and training involving hyperbaric and hypobaric exposure and simulation. The facility includes the F. G. Hall Laboratory, a large multi-chamber complex, and supporting clinical and laboratory services. Hyperbaric oxygen is used in the treatment of many disorders, including decompression illness, gas gangrene, carbon monoxide poisoning, and wound healing. The hyperbaric facility is fully equipped with state-of-the-art hemodynamic and blood gas monitoring equipment, allowing uninterrupted delivery of critical care for patients requiring intermittent hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

As the major facility in the southeastern United States for the referral and treatment of serious diving accidents and air embolism cases and for patients with hypoxic and nonhealing conditions for which hyperbaric oxygen is used, the laboratory provides wide opportunities for scientific, clinical, and research training for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and physicians in high and low pressure-related medicine and physiology. The center faculty also consult on recreational diving illness for the National Diver’s Alert Network (DAN) and Dive Assure. The program is interdisciplinary with major participation by the departments of anesthesiology, medicine, surgery, cell biology, neurobiology, and the Pratt School of Engineering.

The Medical Center

Currently the medical center at Duke University occupies approximately 140 acres on West Campus. The southern quadrant is contiguous with the main quadrangle of the university and consists of the following: Duke Clinic, Davison Building, Baker House, Barnes Woodhall Building, Diagnostic and Treatment Building, Ewald W. Busse Building, Eugene A. Stead Building, Clinical Research II, Edwin A. Morris Clinical Cancer Research Building, and the new Duke Cancer Institute, which opened in February 2012.

The northern portion of the medical center campus includes the Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Research Building for Neurobiology; Nanaline H. Duke Medical Sciences Building; Alex H. Sands Medical Sciences Building; Edwin L. Jones Basic Cancer Research Building; Clinical and Research Laboratory Building; Joseph Levine Research Center; CIEMAS Building; Seeley G. Mudd Communications Center and Library; Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Center for Health Education, which opened in February 2013; Joseph A. C. Wadsworth Building (Eye Center); Albert Eye Research Institute (Eye Center); Hudson Building, which opened in June 2015 (Eye Center); Duke University Hospital and Anlyan Tower; and Lenox Baker Hospital. The new Duke Medicine Pavilion opened in July 2013.

In the eastern section of the medical center campus are the Pickens Rehabilitation Center, Civitan Mental Retardation and Child Development Center, Trent Drive Hall, Christine Siegler Pearson School of Nursing, and Duke Health Center for Interprofessional Education, which opens in August 2019. In the western section of the medical center campus are Surgical Oncology Research Building; Environmental Safety Building; Research Park Buildings I, II, III, and IV; the Vivarium; the Medical Science Research Buildings I, II, and III, which opened in October 2018; Genome Science Research Building; the Synderman Research Building; the Global Health Research Building; and the Cancer Center Isolation Facility.