Seeking Solutions to Urgent Global Problems

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At the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, our research and learning is on a global scale.

At CAS, we’re proud to be making big strides on problems that affect humans around the world: problems such as inequalities in income and opportunity, climate change and other environmental challenges, threats to cultural legacies, and genetic and infectious diseases.

For example, CAS has begun to explore the causes and effects of social inequality all over the world, as in the work of Susan Eckstein of sociology, who studies Latin American immigration and its impact across borders. Stephen Prothero explores religious intolerance and the ongoing struggle over a more inclusive—or less inclusive—America. Economics Professor Dilip Mookherjee researches public administration reforms, the role of inequality, and land reforms, as well as contracting structures, in developing countries.

We’re also making hard-hitting recommendations to both government and industry for preserving our physical environment, thanks to the work of faculty experts like Lucy Hutyra. She works at understanding the terrestrial carbon cycle and the impact of humans on carbon pools and fluxes. Robert K. Kaufmann looks at the interfaces among global climate change, world oil markets, and land-use changes.

We’re plumbing the depths of cultural preservation and sustainability, too, through the expertise of Daniel Bluestone, who trains curators to preserve our buildings and our cultures.

The world is learning important things from faculty like Professor Chantal Stern, who heads our memory and brain neuroimaging lab, where the human brain is mapped using state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging. All of this exciting work, and much more, presents not only profound opportunities but also special challenges. Neuroscience advances quickly, which means that to keep attracting academic talent at the highest levels and make the necessary breakthroughs, we need to keep updating our labs and tools—an increasingly expensive proposition.