Franke Fellows

Franke Undergraduate Fellows

Ivory Fu

The Metamorphosis of Form: Art and Biology in Italian Renaissance Biomedical Arts

Ivory is a rising senior majoring in Art and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. This summer, she’s exploring the biomedical arts of the Italian Renaissance (15th–16th Centuries). She is particularly interested in how artist-anatomists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Antonio Pollaiuolo, and Michelangelo used surgical dissections of the human body to convey scientific accuracy and expressive beauty in artworks and anatomical diagrams. She is also studying the visual qualities that set the Renaissance visual canon apart from the later, strictly scientific works of anatomists. She is using written works, anatomical dissections, and visual materials through video interviews with experts and online databases of academic arts institutions.

Kitty Kan

Effects of Agricultural Practices on Insect Diversity & Abundance in the Neotropics

Kitty is a rising senior majoring in Environmental Studies and Art. As a double major, she is interested in combining her passion for both fields, especially with regard to science communication. Inspired by a coffee, sugar cane, and cacao tour she took while studying abroad in Costa Rica, her project will explore the sustainability of agricultural practices (particularly agroforests and monocultures) with regard to the diversity and abundance of insects and plants. In addition to research, she plans to present artwork that will supplement her findings. In this way, she hopes to better inform and engage people with environmental topics such as the relationship between agriculture and insect conservation.

Noelle Mercer

The Drama of Networks: How a Machine Becomes a Playwright

In the preface to The Drama Review’s 2019 issue “Algorithms and Performance,” the editors assert that, “To perform is to solve.” To build upon this theory, Noelle Mercer and her colleague Winston Venderbush will train a neural network to learn from a training corpus of over 200 plays along with additional text-based training data sourced from news outlets. They will then use the neural network to generate full length plays based on the training data for performance, workshopping, and analysis. Some questions that guide their research include: Can a neural network generate a legible play? How essential is human ingenuity in creating theater? What happens when human actors embody an algorithm’s creation, and how do we stage this embodiment? 

Lauren Kim

Mud & Slime: Climate Resilient Futures in the Long Island Sound and South Korea

Lauren is a rising senior majoring in Environmental Studies and Urban Studies. Applying spatial analysis, stakeholder interviews, and traditional knowledge systems, she hopes to visualize how human and nonhuman communities can anticipate, react, and resist future climate-related disasters like flooding and sea level rise. This project was inspired by her agroforestry work with coastal communities in Taiwan and her family’s intergenerational knowledge of holistic healing. For her senior theses, she hopes to develop disaster mitigation strategies that encourage the preservation and restoration of critical ecosystems like kelp forests and mudflats. She hopes her research will link her varied interests in demilitarization, microorganism communities, and environmental justice.

Asher Liftin

Painting Visual Perception

My research project is an investigation into how we perceive the visual world. At Yale I am double majoring in cognitive science and visual art. I am interested in where these two fields intersect: visual perception. Artists have been studying how we see for hundreds of years by attempting to replicate visual perception in painting. Familiar examples of this include the discovery of perspective in representing three-dimensional space, as well as the ability to make colors appear brighter or more vibrant by altering the surrounding colors. Scientists have explored similar concepts by exploring how humans determine three-dimensional depth from two-dimensional pictures using cognitive shortcuts, and by exploring cone cells in the visual system, which cause different color pairings to produce more or less visually intense reactions. There is a direct connection between concepts developed through painting and concepts developed through cognitive science. I plan to create paintings from research which demonstrate this connection visually.

Franke Graduate Student Fellows (forthcoming)