Department of Defense

The research programs of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) focus on a variety of imperatives, from the acceleration of current technical capabilities to developing world class science, technology, engineering, and mathematics capabilities for the future of DOD and the nation.

Duke University researchers are active participants in DOD research programs, and select awards and projects are highlighted below.

DOD Funding Overview:

Research Awards for FY16: $17,229,086

Select Projects:

Geoffrey Ginsburg

Project: Presymptomatic Detection and Diagnosis System
Researcher: Geoffrey Ginsburg, Director IGSP Center for Genomic Medicine
Funding Source: DARPA
Site: Dr. Geoffrey Ginsburg's Website
Read More: Study to Detect Viral Infection Before Symptoms Appear

Dr. Geoff Ginsberg leads a large, interdisciplinary research group at Duke working to develop a presymptomatic detection and diagnosis system capable of detecting illness caused by infectious pathogens.  The ability to recognize illness at the earliest stages and to isolate personnel with the potential to become contagious is important to the military because successful operations depend on optimal personnel readiness and peak performance.

David Smith

Project: Metamaterials
Researcher: David R. Smith, William Bevan Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Funding Source: Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Site: Dr. David R. Smith's Website
Read More: Next Generation Cloaking Device Demonstrated

Pratt School of Engineering Professor David Smith continues his work on the “invisibility cloak”.  Smith is best known for his theoretical and experimental work on electromagnetic metamaterials – artificially structured materials, whose electromagnetic properties can be tailored and tuned in ways not easily accomplished with conventional materials. Smith has been at the forefront in the development of numerical methods to design and characterize metamaterials, and has also provided many of the key experiments that have helped to illustrate the potential that metamaterials offer.

Sonke Johnsen

Project: Cephalopod Camouflage
Researcher: Sonke Johnsen, Associate Professor of Biology
Funding Source: 5-year Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), Office of Naval Research
Site: The Johnsen Lab
Read More: Navy Grant to Fund Probe of Squid and Octopus Camouflage

Associate Professor of Biology Sonke Johnsen is the lead of a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant that investigations how and why squids and other cephalopods camouflage on the fly.  Professor Johnsen’s lab studies various aspects of visual ecology, including bioluminescent signaling and other biological camouflage adaptations.  This particular research is still in the fundamental stage, but a potential application could include the development of materials that emulate these skills.

David Brady

Project: Gigapixel Camera
Researcher: David Brady, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Funding Source: DARPA
Site: Duke Imaging and Spectrscopy Program
Read More: Megapixel Camera? Try Gigapixel, and Video: New Prototype Gigapixel Camera Creates Super Hi-Res Photos

Pratt School of Engineering Professor David Brady has led the way in the development of a prototype camera that has resolution five times better than human 20/20 vision over a 120 degree horizontal field. This camera has the potential to capture over 50 gigapixels, or 50,000 megapixels of data. By comparison, the average consumer camera is able to take pictures in the 8 – 40 megapixel range.

Project: Landmine Detection
Researcher: Leslie Collins, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering
Funding Source: Army Research Office

Pratt School of Engineering Professor Leslie Collins and the Duke Statistical Signal Processing Applied to Cochlear Implants and Subsurface Sensing (SSPACCIS) lab has helped develop and transition state-of-the-art algorithms that are currently used by Army Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System (HSTAMIDS) and Ground Standoff Mine Detection System (GSTAMIDS) to detect explosive objects in Afghanistan.

Policy Research

In addition to DoD funded research, Duke is home to several programs and institutes focused on national security policy/security studies.

Duke University Program in American Grand Strategy
The Duke University Program in American Grand Strategy is an interdisciplinary program that blends education and scholarship in the area of grand strategy.  The program features workshops, distinguished lectures and coursework for undergraduate and graduate students.

Triangle Institute of Security Studies
The Triangle Institute of Security Studies is an interdisciplinary consortium sponsored by Duke University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.  It is a community of scholars that promotes communication, research and education in the area of national and international security.

Triangle Center for Terrorism and Homeland Security
The Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (TCTHS) is a collaborative effort between Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and RTI International to enhance the understanding of terrorism and the means to combat it through education, research and the development of partnerships between universities, industry and government.

Duke Law Center on Law, Ethics and National Security
The Duke Law Center on Law, Ethics and National Security is focused on encouraging and sponsoring education, research, and publications in national security law topics.  The Center also hosts conferences and seminars in the field of national security law.