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Lawrence B. Dumas Domain Dinners/Dialogues

Facilitating Interdisciplinary Connection and Collaboration


Originating in 1998, the Lawrence B. Dumas Domain Dinner series has featured hundreds of faculty presenters and engaged thousands of guests. While presentation topics have ranged greatly since the series' inception, the mission has remained the same: to stimulate faculty interactions across departments and disciplines and to highlight Northwestern's distinctive interdisciplinarity.

In general, approximately every quarter during the academic year, faculty from across the University convene for an interdisciplinary panel presentation, followed by a question-and-answer segment with the presenters. The event generally includes informal networking during a cocktail reception and may also include a formal dinner at which additional conversation occurs at tables intentionally organized to encourage cross-campus dialogue and connections. The traditional format for the event includes dinner and is called a “Domain Dinner.” A virtual format is being piloted as of Fall 2020 and will be called “Domain Dialogues.”

Co-hosted by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Administration and Planning, the events have served as a launching point for various endeavors at the University and catalyzed numerous other existing research initiatives. Most recently, events have convened faculty around topics related to quantum information science, the human-computer frontier, migration, neuroscience, music, water insecurity, and global poverty.

Due to space limitations, attendance at Domain Dinners or participation in the virtual Domain Dialogues is by invitation only and is designed primarily for tenure-line and other research-active faculty at Northwestern.

Most Recent Domain Dialogues on December 1, 2021

“The Many Ways to Age”

Bringing together scholars from across Northwestern, this iteration of the Lawrence B. Dumas Domain Dialogues series highlighted the latest advances in aging research from a multidisciplinary perspective. This event was a call to action for researchers from multiple disciplines – medical sciences, psychology and psychiatry, human development, communication, behavioral science, economics, sociology, social policy and political science, and engineering – to come together to advance multifaceted research to better understand approaches to aging.

Emily Rogalski, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science in the Feinberg School of Medicine and Associate Director of the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer Disease, shared neurobiologic, genetic, and psychosocial insights from the SuperAging Research Initiative that studies individuals 80+ who seem to resist age-related changes in memory. Angela Roberts, Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the School of Communication, described how speech biomarkers and digital technologies are advancing research in aging and dementia. Claudia Haase, Associate Professor of Human Development and Social Policy in the School of Education and Social Policy and (by courtesy) in the Department of Psychology, shared findings from her research on the brighter sides of aging, with a focus on emotions in individuals and couples and combining life-span developmental, affective, and relationship science approaches. 

The event was introduced and moderated by Marsel Mesulam, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer Disease.