Eric Gershon

Eric Gershon is editor and new media writer in the Wesleyan University Office of University Communications.

Ph.D Candidate Kopac to Study Bacterial Evolution with NASA Award

Ph.D candidate Sarah Kopac samples soil that contains a bacterium that can endure extreme conditions.

Sarah Kopac, a Ph.D student in Professor of Biology Fred Cohan’s lab, has won a $20,000 NASA grant for research on ecological aspects of bacterial evolution in Death Valley National Park.

The grant, announced Jan. 11 by the Connecticut Space Grant College Consortium, will support Kopac’s study of Bacillus subtilis, a bacterium commonly found in soils that can endure extreme conditions, such as high heat levels.

Kopac, a third-year Ph.D candidate, is focused on identifying bacterial species that evolved within a gradient of salty soils – part of a broader effort to understand how ecological factors influence the spawning of new species.

Mellon Fellow Kiddle Honored for Doctoral Thesis


Amelia Kiddle



The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs has presented its annual award for best doctoral thesis on Mexican foreign relations to Amelia Kiddle, the Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in Latin American Studies at Wesleyan’s Center for the Americas.

Kiddle is the first winner to have completed her doctorate outside Mexico.  The prize is worth about $8,000 and includes a commitment to publish the Spanish-language version of her dissertation, “La Política del Buen Amigo: Mexican–Latin American Relations during the Presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas, 1934-1940.”

Kiddle, now in the first year of her two-year fellowship,

In “Double Vision” at Zilkha Gallery, New Works By Jeffrey Schiff

A series of 16 artworks by Jeffrey Schiff, professor of art, are on display at Wesleyan’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.

In 1786 the American Philosophical Society published a volume of essays and commentaries by its members on natural curiosities: a partridge with two hearts, a horse with a worm in its eye, a slave girl with mottled skin.

More than 220 years later, Professor of Art Jeffrey Schiff has transformed these Enlightenment-era accounts into a series of 16 artworks now on display at Wesleyan’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery

“Double Vision: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society,” runs through Sun., Feb. 27, with a panel discussion scheduled for Feb. 22 at the gallery.

“The troubles we continue to have with notions of the ‘natural,’ the ‘aberrant’ and what constitutes evidence and rationality seem to me to be rooted in the intellectual

Playwright Ruhl Begins Residency at Wesleyan


Sarah Ruhl


MacArthur award winner Sarah Ruhl begins a two-day residency at Wesleyan on Feb. 10, the fifth by a playwright in the university’s “Outside the Box” theater series, which brings distinguished playwrights to campus.

Ruhl, a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and author of the widely praised “Euridyce, ” “The Clean House,” and “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play),” among other works, has been described by The New York Times as “among the most acclaimed and accomplished young playwrights on the contemporary scene.”

At Wesleyan she will visit an acting class, dine with both playwriting students and faculty from several departments,

5 Questions With . . . Krishna Winston on Art of Translation

Günter Grass, pictured in center, autographs a tin drum for Krishna Winston at the Grass House in Lübeck, Germany. Grass’ wife, Ute, looks on. The Tin Drum is Grass’ most famous novel. (Photo by Hongjun Cai)

This issue, we ask “5 Questions” of Krishna Winston, Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, dean of arts and humanities, on the art of literary translation. Winston has been the principal English-language translator for the works of the Nobel Prize-winning German author Günter Grass since 1990. Here Winston talks about the art of translation and working with a giant of 20th-century literature.

Q: How did you come to be the English-language translator of Günter Grass’s books?

A: I should explain that from 1960 until his death in 1992, the distinguished literary translator Ralph Manheim was responsible for translating almost everything Grass published, starting with The Tin Drum, which established Grass as the most provocative and brilliant writer to emerge from postwar Germany. After the Berlin Wall came down, because Manheim was in failing health, Grass’s American editor, Helen Wolff, asked my Wesleyan colleague Arthur S. Wensinger and me to do a collection of essays by Grass.

It was a rush job, because the book had to appear in time for the official unification of the two Germanys on October 3, 1990. Wolff had worked for many years with my parents, well-known literary translators, and I had translated a book on Joseph Goebbels that she published.

McAlear, Arnone Published in Eukaryotic Cell

Michael McAlear, chair and associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and James Arnone, a Ph.D candidate in his lab, have published “Adjacent Gene Pairing Plays a Role in the Coordinated Expression of Ribosome Biogenesis Genes MPP10 and YJR003C in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae” a paper that shows that the physical position of genes on chromosomes — immediately adjacent gene pairs in particular — plays an important role in how they are turned on and off.

These findings were first discovered in yeast cells, but also hold true over a wide range of life forms, from worms to fruit flies to humans. A deeper understanding of how cells organize and manifest their genetic material is critical for future efforts to develop therapeutic treatments for disorders related to defects in gene regulation.

“Adjacent Gene Pairing Plays a Role in the Coordinated Expression of Ribosome Biogenesis Genes MPP10 and YJR003C in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae” appears in the January 2011 issue of Eukaryotic Cell.

The paper is the product of experiments performed at Wesleyan.

Gil-Ordóñez’s Orchestra Receives Grant from Mellon Foundation



Angel Gil-Ordóñez



Post-Classical Ensemble, the Washington, D.C.-based orchestra co-founded by Angel Gil-Ordóñez, Wesleyan’s director of orchestra studies, has been awarded $200,000 by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  The ensemble plans to use the money for programming and touring programs through the 2012-2013 season, as well as a DVD.

At Wesleyan, Gil-Ordóñez is director of private lessons, chamber music and ensembles, music director of the Wesleyan Orchestra and Wesleyan Concert Choir, and adjunct professor of music.

Founded in 2003, the ensemble specializes in thematic programming involving film, theater, dance and vernacular music.

Playwright Will Dubbs ’14 Makes An Off-Broadway Debut

Will Dubbs ’14 arrived at Wesleyan from Manhattan in September as part of the frosh class. Next month he’ll return to New York as an off-Broadway playwright.

Manhattan Repertory Theater has selected Dubbs’ first and only play, “Dead Sharks,” for production as part of its Winterfest 2011 festival of original theatrical works. The first of three scheduled “Dead Sharks” performances at the Rep’s 42nd Street theater is Jan. 29.

Dubbs, who is a minute older than his twin sister, Katie, a student at Princeton, wrote the one-act “Dead Sharks” for an all-freshman

5 Questions With . . . Elijah Huge on Architecture

Assistant Professor of Art Elijah Huge is teaching architecture design studios, which are part of the Studio Arts Program curriculum.

This issue, we ask “5 Questions” of Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art. Huge returned to Wesleyan this fall after a sabbatical spent at the University of California-Berkeley. He teaches architecture.

Q: What’s your favorite building, or group of buildings, at Wesleyan, and why?

A: There are a number of outstanding buildings on campus, but my favorite group of buildings is the Center for the Arts, without question. The CFA is invested with a highly refined and clearly articulated architectural identity and reflects an amazing level of cultural ambition on the part of the university.  On the one hand, the buildings are of their moment within American 20th architectural history, but their unusual, even primitive use of solid, monolithic limestone blocks – a decidedly un-modern building material – is simply amazing.  

Stark Receives Early Career Award for Paper

Laura Stark

Laura Stark, assistant professor of sociology, received the Burnham Early Career Award from the History of Science Society for her paper, “The Science of Ethics: Deception, The Resilient Self, And the APA Code of Ethics, 1966-1973.” The paper was published in the fall 2010 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences.

The History of Science Society’s Forum calls the paper “original and compelling.”

“Stark’s paper offers a fascinating recreation of the process by which the American Psychological Association (APA) arrived at ethical guidelines for human research,” the citation reads. “Expertly taking advantage of little-known archival resources, [she] examines how a special committee was created, how it collected survey responses

Hogendorn To Co-Edit International Academic Journal

Christiaan Hogendorn, associate professor of economics, has been named a co-editor of Information Economics and Policy, an international academic journal focused on mass media and communications technology industries. He assumes his duties as one of the quarterly journal’s three co-editors in January.

Hogendorn’s current research focuses on the economics of the Internet, including the infrastructure and regulation needed to keep it innovative.

IEP is published by Elsevier of Amsterdam. The journal publishes peer-reviewed, policy-oriented research about the production, distribution and use of information.

Separately, Hogendorn, who joined the Wesleyan faculty in 2001, expects to publish a chapter in a book forthcoming from Edward Elgar Publishing.  “Spillovers and Network Neutrality” will appear in “Regulation and the Performance of Communication and Information Networks,” edited by Gerry Faulhaber, Gary Madden and Jeffrey Petchey.

Stark Published in Behavioral Sciences Journal

Laura Stark, assistant professor of sociology, is the author of ““The Science of Ethics: Deception, The Resilient Self, And the APA Code of Ethics, 1966-1973,” published in the fall 2010 issue of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences.

The paper examines the process by which the American Psychological Association determined that deception could be used as an acceptable research method.