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David Berube

Professor & Dir PCOST

Department of Communication

James B Hunt Jr Centennial Cam 5143

View CV 


David Berube teaches courses in the communication of science and technology, risk communication, environmental risk communication, disaster communication, and climate change communication. He directs the Public Communication of Science and Technology Project from the 5th floor of the new Hunt Library on the Centennial Campus at NCSU and is a fellow in the Genetic Engineering and Society Center.

Berube has taught classes in film, popular culture, and science fiction. He coached intercollegiate debating for 20 years and won three national championships and was national coach of the year in 1994. He wrote NON-POLICY DEBATING in 1994, authored dozens of articles and chapters in applied debating, and consulted with the English Speaking Union (UK). He was a journalist for both Gannett and Knight-Ridder and has over 100 articles in print. He is an equity actor, a member of both the Author’s League of American and the Dramatists Guild and is represented by Artists and Artisans.

After promotion to full professor, Berube focused on science communication and has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator for over $20 million in federal National Science Foundation grants to study risk communication and emerging technologies. In 2006, he published NANO-HYPE: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE NANOTECHNOLOGY BUZZ (Prometheus Press) recently translated into Japanese. He blogged on nanoscience for three years at and has resumed. He speaks at national and international conferences on communication issues and public perception and understanding of nanoscience, emerging technologies, and toxicology. He has published over twenty articles and chapters on risk perception and the public sphere.

Berube served on the steering committee for the International Council on Nanotechnology. He served on the boards for the Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology, Lifeboat Foundation, etc. He was the national chair of the Risk communication Division of the Society for Risk Analysis. He worked with Ketchum Communications, The Gerson-Lehrman Group, and the the Food Products Association/Grocery Manufacturers Association, Kraft Foods International, etc.

Berube currently serves on two US government agencies: he serves on the RCAC (risk communication advisory committee) for the US FDA, the Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) for the National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the NIESH/NIH.

Berube manages and owns the Center for Emerging Technologies, a LLC registered in North Carolina. It functions as a consultancy and recently completed a major contract to develop a social media presence with a multinational food corporation. CET consults with trade associations and industry emphasizing social media protocols.

Berube arrived on campus in January 2008. At NCSU he started PCOST Project. He is working with a team of scientists and engineers to develop a STEM-presence on campus that includes social sciences. He completed a multi-year grant themed on how the public intuits toxicology which will involve workshops, surveys and focus groups, and graduate assistant support. He hires students from his grant related budgets to work with him primarily in data analysis. His students publish with him regularly. He is currently working on projects involving synthetic biology and infectious diseases and coordinates the assessment and communication/outreach of a set of labs at Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University.


Berube has multiple articles and chapters in press and under review. He is working on many books and multiple articles from data generated under his many grants.

In 2019-2020, he is working on the following:

  • one chapter on Intuitive Toxicology.
  • an article on public understanding of Zika and vaccines.
  • a two-volume book currently tentatively entitled Communicating Zika with emphasis on biosurveilance using digital means to improve the detection of outbreaks and epidemics of infectious diseases, esp. arboviruses.
  • a project involving the development of a on-line version of the an expert solicitation model.

Extension and Community Engagement

In terms of professional service and outreach, Berube is a Special Governmental Employee. He serves on the Risk Communication Advisory Committee to the Us Food and Drug Administration and served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board on the National Toxicology Program for the National Institute on Environmental Health and Safety and the National Institutes of Health.


Berube teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in both the BS and MS programs in Communication.

Berube directs PCOST and is a research fellow with the Center for Genetic Engineering in Society and an associated core faculty member in the the Climate Change and Society programs at NCSU.

Berube is a paid government consultant in risk communication with the US FDA. See FDA RCAC (Risk Communication Advisory Committee) and Scientific Advisory Board on the National Toxicology Program for the National Institute on Environmental Health and Safety and the National Institutes of Health.

Berube is a Member-at-Large for Section X of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Office Hours

  • Tue: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Wed: 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Thu: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Or By Appointment


Research Publications


“Mosquitoes bite: A Zika story of vector management and gene drives.” In Synthetic Biology: The Risk Assessment, Governance and Communication Landscape. Springer. (In press).

“Nanomedicine and Personalized Care: Fact or Fiction.” With E. Winderman. The Road from Nanomedicine to Precision Medicine. S. Mousa, R. Bawa, and G. Audette. (Editors): Pan Stanford Publishing, Singapore. (In press).

“New Approaches Needed for Risk Governance for Emerging Technologies.” With 24 co-authors, lead: Linkov, I. Environment Systems and Decisions. 2018. 38:2. 170-176. June.

“How social science should complement scientific discovery: Lessons from nanoscience.” Journal of Nanoparticle Research. 2018. 20:120.

“Recommendations for the Implementation of Telehealth in Cardiovascular and Stroke Care.” With 14 co-authors, lead: Tiner, A. Circulation. 2017. e1-e21. ISSN: 0009-7322. Online ISSN: i524-4539.

“The Audience is the Message: Nanomedicine as Apotheosis or Damnatio Memoria. Handbook of Clinical Nanomedicine: From Bench to Bedside, R. Bawa, G.Audette and l. Rubinstein. (Editors): Pan Stanford Publishing, Singapore (2015), 1000+ pages. [Hardcover ISBN: 9789814316170; eB00k ISBN: 9789814411660]. 2016. 1 1 17-1 140.

“Nanoscience and water: Public engagement at and below the surface.” In A. Street, R. Sustich, J. Duncan, & N. Savage, (Eds.), Nanotechnology Applications for Clean Water: Solutions for Improving Water Quality. 2nd Ed. NY: William Andrew Publishing, 2014, pp. 583-594.

“Other Public Communities. Stakeholder Perspectives on Perception, assessment, and Management of the Potential Risks of Nanotechnology.” Report of the National Nanotechnology Initiative Workshop September 10—1 1 , 2013. (Meeting held in 2013 but finally in print) DC: National Science and Technology Council. 2016. 4244.

“Public Participation and Innovation Ecosystems for Convergence.” In Convergence of Knowledge, Technology and Society: Beyond Convergence of Nano-Bio-lnfoCognitive Technologies. M. Roco, W. Bainbridge, B. Tonn, & G. Whiteside. (Editors): NY: Springer. 2015. ISBN: 3319022032; 465- 470.

“Constructing Texts in Fringe Science: Challenges in Propaedeutics.” Public Participation and Innovation Ecosystems for Convergence.” In POROI: Inventing the Future: The Rhetorics of Science, Technology, and Medicine. 9(1). 2013. Online Accessed May 22, 2013.

“Influences of Individual-Level Characteristics on Risk Perceptions to Various Categories of Environmental Health and Safety Risks.” With C. Cummings and M. Lavelle. Journal of Risk Research. 2013. http://dx.doi.ora/l O. 1080/13669877.2013.788544.

“Unexpected Appropriations of Technology and Life Cycle Analysis: Reframing Cradleto-Grave Approaches.” Cummings, C. , Frith, J. and Berube D.M. In Emerging Technologies: Socio-Behavioral Life Cycle Approaches. Singapore: Pan Stanford Publishing. 2013. 251-271.

“Socialis Commodis and Life Cycle Analysis: A Critical Examination of Uncertainty.” In Emerging Technologies: Socio-Behavioral Life Cycle Approaches. Singapore: Pan Stanford Publishing. 2013. 139-163.

“Public Participation in Nanotechnology Debate in the United States”. Nanotechnology Research Directions for Societal Needs in 2020: Retrospective and Outlook. M. Roco, C. Mirkin and M. Hersam (Editors). Springer. 2011. 469-470.

“Decision Ethics and Emerging Technologies.” European Journal of Law and Technology. 2011, 2(3). 1-8.

“Rhetoric and Risk” with R. Schwartzman & D.G. Ross., Poroi, 2011, 7(1): article 9.

“Comparing Nanoparticle Risk Perceptions to Other Known EHS Risks,” with C. Cummings (student), Frith, J. (student), Binder A. & Oldendick, R., Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 2011., Early online. 7 March 201 1. DOI 10.1007/s1 1051-01 1-0325-z.

“Characteristics and Classification of Nanoparticles: Expert Delphi survey,” with Cummings, C., Cacciatore, M. , Scheufele, D., & Kalin, J., Nanotoxicology, 2011, 5(2), 236-242. DOI:10.3109/17435390.2010.521633.

“Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies – Consumer Product Inventory Evaluated,” with Searson, E., Morton, T., Cummings, C., Nanotechnology Law and Business, 2010, 7(2): 152-163.

“Communicating Risk in the 21 st Century: The Case of Nanotechnology,” with Faber, B. , Scheufele, D., Cummings, C. Gardner, G., Martin, K., Martin, M., & Temple, N.,2010, National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, Arlington, VA.

“Nanoscience and Water: Public Engagement at and Below the Surface,” in Savage, N., Diallo, M. , Duncan, J., Street, A. & Sustich, R., eds., Nanotechnology Applications for Clean Water, NY: William Andrew Publishing, 2009, 521-533.

“Rhetorical Gamesmanship in the Nano Debates Over Sunscreens and Nanoparticles,” Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 2008, 10.•23-37. DOI 10.1007/s1 1051-0089362-7 & “Reply from David Be rube,” Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 2008, 10:265-266. DOI: 10.1007/s11051-008-9443-7.

“A Nanotale of Opportunities, Uncertainties and Risks,” with Borm, P., Nano Today, 3:12, Feb-Apr, 2008, 56-59.

“Intuitive Toxicology: The Public Perception of Nanoscience,” in Alhoff, F. & Lin, P. , eds., Nanoethics: Emerging Debates, London: Springer, 2008, 91-108.

“Stakeholder Participation in Nanotechnology Policy Debates,” in Bennett, D. ed., Nanotechnology: Ethics and Society, London: CRC Press (Taylor & Francis), 2008, 225-229.

“Public Acceptance of Nanomedicine: A Personal Perspective,” in J. Baker, ed., Nanomedicine, NY: Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews, 2008, 2-5.

Funded Research

Since arriving at NCSU, Berube has completed work on a NSF NIRT (a major 1.4M grant) as a PI with subawards to three other universities

Berube has completed work on a NSF CCE-STEM grant ($350K over 2 years) as a CoPI to integrated ethics into engineering education.

Berube is continuing work on a NSF NNCI grant ($5.5 m over 5 years) as a CoPI, member of the Executive Committee, and Director of Societal and Educational Implications of Nanotechnology for the Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network.

Berube has three NSF grants in the submission process: REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates), AISL (Advanced Informal Stem Learning), GCR (Growing Convergence Research).



“Reframing Nanotechnology. “Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization meeting. Orlando, FL, December 9, 2016.

“Emerging Energy Technologies and Public Engagement.” Invited Presidential Address. Aloha Tower, Honolulu, HI. April 18, 2016.

“New Societal Implications to Synthetic Biology.” SRA Meeting, Arlington, VA. December 8, 2015. “Societal implications of Synthetic Biology.” SynBioBeta meeting in San Francisco, CA November 5, 2015.

“Public Understanding of Synthetic Biology.” SRA World Summit in Singapore. July 19, 2015.

“Societal Aspects of Synthetic Biology.” Research Agendas in the Societal Aspects of Synthetic Biology, Tucson, Arizona workshop. May 20, 2015.

“Public Understanding of Toxicology.” Annual Meeting on the non-profit group, The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). RTP. February 5, 2015.

“Inevitability as an Argumentative Device in Debates over Fringe Technologies,” NCA (National Communication Association), Washington, DC November 24, 2013.

“Greenwashing; a Tale of Precaution” SNO (Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization), UC Santa Barbara, CA. November 4, 2013.

“Preliminary Analysis and Comparisons of Experts and Public Understanding of Risks and Benefits of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials, S.Net (Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies, Boston, MA., October 28, 2013.

“Public Communities,” NNI Stakeholder Perspectives on the Perception, Assessment, and Management of the Potential Risks of nanotechnology, NNCO, Washington, DC, September 1 1, 2013.

“Ethical, Legal, and Societal Implications,” NNI Strategic Planning Stakeholder Workshop. NNCO , Washington, DC, June 12, 2013.

“Messaging for STEM Workforce: STEM Recruitment and Retention Messaging,” US White House OSTP and IDA STPI (Science and Technology Policy Institute, Washington, DC, July 31, 2013.

“Negative Labeling.” Society of Risk Analysis Conference, San Francisco, CA, December 3, 2012. “Digital Amplification of Risk.” Society of Risk Analysis Conference, Charleston, SC on December 2, 2011.

“Digital Risk Attenuation.” 4S Conference, Cleveland, OH on November 5, 201 1.

“Risk Attenuation: Law of the Grass Mud Horses.” Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media program’s research symposium at NCSU, Raleigh, NC on April 15 & 16, 201 1 .

“The Social Science of Science: Food and Public Communication” International Food Information Council Round Table on Risk Communication on April 7, 2011.

“Crisis in Risk Communication: Marketing Green Nanotechnology” American Chemical Council’s Fall Meeting, Anaheim, CA. March 27, 2011.

“Participatory Governance of Nanotechnology” at the NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Grantees Conference, December 8, 2010.

“Risk Analysis and Management: Nanoscience” at the Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, December 7, 2010.

“Ethics of Emerging Technologies” at the National Communication Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 13, 2010.

“French Protests Over Nanotechnology: Public Engagement and Lessons Learned” at the Society for the Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting, Tokyo, JP, August 25-29, 2010.

“Nanotoxicology and Public Perception” at the International Conference on the Environmental Implications on Nanotechnology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, May 1 1-13, 201 0.

“Public Perceptions: Interest, Attention… ” at the NC State Nanotechnology Integration Forum, Raleigh, NC, March 23, 2010.

“Public Perceptions: Interest, Attention…” at the NAN02 Workshop, Evanston, IL, March 10, 2010.

“Public Perceptions” at the National Science Foundation Awardees Meeting, Arlington, VA, December 9, 2009.

“COPE-ing with the Public” at the National Communication Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, November 1 1-15, 2009.

“Public Understanding of Food Technologies” at the Calorie Control Council Annual Meeting, Jacksonville, FL, November 7-10, 2009.

“Public Perception and Nanotechnology” at the Society for Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, October 31, 2009.

“Environmental Health and Safety: Communicating About Nanoscience Risks and Benefits” at the Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative Meeting, RTP, NC, October 8-9, 2009.

“Public Understanding of Science and Technology: Strategic Uncertainty” at Center for Workplace Development Graduate Student Nano-Ethics Program, University of Washington, September 9, 2009.

“The Social Science of Science: An Introduction with Three Suggestions and Three Recommendations” at the International Food Information Council Meeting, Northbrook, IL, June 24, 2009.

“Emerging Technologies: Trust and Risk” at CCI Interdisciplinary Panel, UNCGreensboro, Greensboro, NC, March 19, 2009.

“Public Understanding of Emerging Science and Technology: Four Observations” at Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting, Baltimore, Maryland, March 17, 2009.

“Public Understanding of Emerging Science and Technology: Eight Rules and Three Keys from the NanoExperience” at ILSINA 2009, Tucson, AZ, January 21, 2009.

“Communicating Risk to the Media and Public — White Paper Experience” at Society for Risk Analysis Conference, Boston, MA, December 10, 2008.

“Communicating Risk to the Public — Seven Guides to Communicating Risk” (via Skype) at NanoMex 08, Mexico City, Mexico, November 5, 2008.

“Intro to Nanotechnology: Nanoscience and its Implications” at ENCORE, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, October 10, 2008.

“Communicating Risk to the Public — Seven Guides to Communicating Risk” at NanoRisk 2008, Paris, France, October 21, 2008.

“Breaking the Carbon Barrier: Religion and Risk Regimes” at EC-US Task Force on Biotechnology Research, Ispra, Italy, June 3, 2008.

“Societal Implications of Nanobiotechnology” at EC-US Task Force on Biotechnology, Milan, Italy, June 2, 2008.

Area(s) of Expertise

Berube won the departmental Entman Award for Excellence in Communication Research in 2011 and the Graduate Teacher Award in Communication in 2014 and the college Scholar of the Year award in 2017. He has published over thirty articles, chapters, and book reviews since 2008.

His current research interests include risk analysis and management especially its communication aspects, the role of fear in persuasion and public understanding of science, heuristics and public bias, communication of infectious diseases, and emerging science and technology communication, especially nanoscience, synthetic biology (especially mosquitoes), and biosurveillance using digital media.

He teaches graduate courses in Social Media Scholia, Persuasion, Risk Communication, Climate Change Communication, Disaster Communication, and Advanced Methods.

Berube has been publishing articles in the social science of science over the last few years in journals including The Journal of Nanoparticle Research, Nanotoxi