2022: The year in review
A surging vitality marked Yale in the year 2022, along with a resumption of ritual and routine — inside classrooms, labs, and studios, on stages and athletic fields, in museums and across quadrangles.
Yale scholars and scientists tackled some of the most profound challenges facing humanity and the world, including threats to democracy and public health, systemic social injustices and climate change. The Jackson School of Global Affairs became the university’s first new professional school in more than four decades. And even as campus life meaningfully returned to pre-pandemic form, Yale researchers continued to deliver important new insights about COVID-19 and how best to limit its spread and impact.
As ever, the Yale campus continued to evolve to meet the needs of the next generation of students and scholars.
With the year fast drawing to a close, here are some of readers’ favorite Yale News stories from the past year, and some of ours.
When will COVID-19 become endemic?
Like so many of our best read stories over the past three years, one of this year’s most popular story dealt with COVID-19. In this case, the topic was when exactly the disease might transition to “endemic” status — i.e., people will still contract the virus every now and then, for most people it won’t be especially harmful. According to research published by Yale’s Caroline Zeiss in July, humanity could expect to reach that point within two years. “Until we reach endemic stability around the entire globe, we are vulnerable here to having our U.S. endemic stability disrupted by introduction of a new variant,” Zeiss said. “But I think overall the picture’s hopeful.”
(Coverage of the COVID crisis once again was well represented in the list of most read stories. Yale-led efforts to develop a nasal vaccine that could help prevent breakthrough infections for vaccinated individuals yielded promising results. In January, Yale researchers found that one of the COVID vaccines used in many parts of the world was offering no help against the emerging omicron variant. In more encouraging news, a Yale-developed omicron-specific mRNA vaccine was found in July to provide greater immune protection against two variants, and a separate Yale study showed that one U.S. state with high vaccination rates saw no increase in mortality despite the omicron wave.)
In the weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, few people expected that an act of such aggression would actually happen, says Yale historian Timothy Snyder. Then, once the invasion started, most assumed Ukraine would collapse within days. In a course Snyder is teaching this fall — which he has made available online — he has tried to correct these and other misconceptions about Ukraine, about Russia, and about history, and to provide important context about the conflict. His lectures have been viewed millions of times by viewers across the world.
While the Yale Peabody Museum undergoes a historic renovation, many of its prized dinosaur skeletons are being refurbished — and moved into more scientifically accurate poses — in Canada. This summer, we visited the Ontario-based facility where many of the museum’s most iconic fossils, including the towering Brontosaurus, are getting a makeover.
This summer, Yale officially opened the Jackson School of Global Affairs, the university’s first new professional school in more than four decades, and with the start of the fall semester welcomed its first cohort of graduate students. The school, previously known as the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, is training students to address global challenges. In October, the university formally marked the opening with a day-long celebration.
Over the past decade, Yale’s Dr. Brett King has pioneered the use of Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors — which were originally designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis and certain blood disorders — to treat a range of intractable skin diseases. In June, the FDA announced that the JAK inhibitor baricitinib was the first-ever approved treatment for the autoimmune disorder alopecia areata.
A team of Yale researchers this year restored blood circulation and cellular functions in pigs a full hour after the animals died. The technology they used could potentially help extend the health of human organs during surgery and expand availability of donor organs.
In 1912, composer Helen Hagan became the first Black woman to graduate from the Yale School of Music. In October, her composition “Piano Concerto in C Minor” received its orchestral premiere in Woolsey Hall, more than a century after Hagan last performed the piece on campus.
What does it take to change the world? For Karam Alhamad, a graduate student at Yale’s Jackson School of Global Affairs, it’s meant facing legal obstruction, imprisonment, and civil war. None of it stopped him.
Every day, Yale’s campus military community embodies the commitment to public service — and people have noticed. This year, Yale’s Naval ROTC program earned the Pentagon’s Partnership Excellence Award, and U.S. News & World Report rated Yale as the top school in the nation for veterans and service members.
In a study, Yale researchers found that a common weed known as purslane has a rare combination of traits that could offer a blueprint for bioengineered crops that might be able to thrive in a world beset by climate change.
Twelve decorative windows installed this summer in Grace Hopper College, the Yale residential college previously known as Calhoun College, celebrate the richness of the college’s community and contemplate the complex history behind its name.
In April, a Yale study of regular Fox News viewers found evidence that partisan media outlets influence the views and priorities of the people who watch — and may weaken the viewers' ability to hold elected leaders accountable.
Yale psychologists have developed a mathematical theory of “flow” — a subjective state of mind associated with peak creativity and productivity — and argue that it could be used to boost performance for almost any task.
In 2021, the university established the Law and Racial Justice Center at Yale, which will serve as a hub for scholarship and policy work centered on addressing the challenges of racial injustice in the United States. This spring, faculty director James Forman Jr. and executive director Kayla Vinson ’11, discussed the systems that perpetuate racial injustice and how the center aims to tackle them.
Aided by a kaleidoscopic array of insects, birds, and minerals, undergraduates in the Yale School of Art’s “Color Practice” course are learning about the role color plays in the natural world and applying it to their own creative pursuits.
When COVID-19 arrived in early 2020, few could have predicted how disruptive it would be to Ivy League sports and athletes ofYale. Yet, as we reported in April, Yale Athletics had returned stronger than ever, celebrating a year of major victories and broken records.
Ten more stories of note
- What makes the human brain different? Yale study reveals clues
- Hail to the squid: A vampyropod fit for a president
- A Yale anthropologist on the metaverse and other digital worlds
- Open door, open heart: Yale’s Muslim chaplain shares his story
- Performance in a pandemic: How Yale artists adapted to life during COVID
- Studying schizophrenia in plants? Yale researchers are giving it a shot
- Future hurricanes will roam over more of the Earth, Yale scientists predict
- ‘Transformative’ effects of mass gatherings like Burning Man are lasting
- Insulin is an extreme financial burden for 14% of Americans who use it
- Calorie restriction trial reveals key factors in enhancing human health