Winter 2020 Newsletter
Advancing Research, Scholarship, and Creative Endeavor


There have been many exciting updates and events at the University of Notre Dame since we wrote to you last summer. But today I will focus on one that couples our efforts to grow Notre Dame’s research programs with a series of efforts that truly embody our mission: several new and expanded research and educational programs to fight poverty, both nationally and internationally, made possible by a transformative $111 million gift from the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation.
Bob Bernhard's welcome, summer 2019

This generous gift will support the growth of the Pulte Institute for Global Development, which was originally founded as the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development. It has its roots in the University’s strategic research initiative process, which began over 10 years ago as a way to identify programs of research, scholarship, or creative endeavor that are of top quality in an important area, have impact on the academy, nation, or world, and are consistent with, or strengthen, Notre Dame’s Catholic character. 


Potential Path Forward Identified for Brachial Plexus Injury Recovery

An estimated three out of every 1,000 newborns will suffer a brachial plexus injury during birth, damaging the bundle of nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the shoulders, arms, and hands. Research published in Cell Reports and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and others has identified a strategy that may support the regeneration of nerves affected by a brachial plexus injury. The study authored by Professor Cody Smith and former undergraduate Evan Nichols, now at Stanford University, shows this could be a new path forward for a full behavioral recovery. Read more >> 

Theology Professor Interprets Historical Treasure Discovered at Ancient Monastery in the Sinai Desert

Professor Nina Glibetić recently translated an 11th-Century folio of one of the oldest Glagolitic texts to exist, while conducting research on Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Her discoveries may be proof that Glagolitic books were copied at St. Catharine's monastery, and not necessarily brought there. Read more >> 

Transmission of River Blindness May Be Reduced When Vegetation is Removed

A team of researchers from Notre Dame, Auburn University, Emory University, and the University of South Florida has used mathematical modeling to show how combining mass drug distribution with vegetation removal may be the quickest way to curb transmission of river blindness, a neglected disease spread by black fly bites that can cause skin infections and blindness. The effort was led by Edwin Michael and was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Read more >> 

New Study Unravels the Complexity of Childhood Obesity

Professor Nitesh Chawla's research team collaborated with Gisela Solymos and the Centre for Nutritional Recovery and Education, a nongovernmental nutrition clinic in São Paulo, Brazil to examine how various psychological characteristics of children struggling with their weight affect outcomes of nutritional intervention. A "network effect" suggests that a personalized, comprehensive approach to treatment could improve the results of interventions, according to the paper published in Nature Scientific Reports. The study was partially funded by the National Science Foundation. Read more >> 

Research Reveals Teachers’ Biases When Rating First-graders’ Academic Skills Based on Learning Behavior

A recent study from Notre Dame and Yale University shows how educators’ racial and gender biases affect their assessments of students’ academic skills based on noncognitive skills, which include behavior, class participation, self-discipline, and interpersonal skills. Using a national data set, Sociology Professor Calvin Zimmermann and his co-author examined how first grade teachers’ perceptions of students’ approach to learning can affect how they rate those students’ academic skills. Read more >> 

In the news


Featured video

Fighting to Build on Tradition
When Dot Teso, the president of St. Michael Indian School on the Navajo Nation, wanted to expand her campus, she turned to Notre Dame’s School of Architecture. She, along with Deswood Etsitty ’93, invited a group of undergraduates to Arizona to learn about Navajo culture and to start designing the campus’ first new building.
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