New Faculty 2011-12

A complete list of new faculty for the 2011-12 academic year

Blair School of Music


Philip Dikeman, associate professor of flute
B.M., Oberlin College, 1985
M.M., Yale University, 1987
Before joining the Blair School of Music faculty, Dikeman was the assistant principal flute of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for nearly 20 years as well as the acting principal flute his final two seasons. He is a nationally recognized performer of orchestral and chamber music and has taught numerous flute masterclasses throughout the United States.

Bil Jackson, associate professor of clarinet
Jackson is a nationally recognized artist and teacher. He served as principal clarinet with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the Aspen Chamber Symphony and has performed and taught at the Aspen Festival and other leading music festivals and concert series.

College of Arts and Science


Marcio Bahia, assistant professor of Portuguese
B.A., Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 2001
M.A., Ph.D., University of Ottawa, 2004, 2011
Bahia works in the area of cultural studies, emphasizing the links among technology, entertainment practices and cultural change within contemporary Brazil. He previously served as a senior lecturer in the department.


Larry Bartels, the May Werthan Shayne Professor of Public Policy and Social Science; professor of political science
B.A., M.A., Yale University, 1978
Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley, 1983
Bartels joins Vanderbilt from Princeton University, where he was the Donald E. Stokes Professor of Public and International Affairs, professor of politics and public affairs, and director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. He is arguably the most influential political scientist over the last 25 years, publishing path-breaking work on topics ranging from elections to representation to inequality.


Christin Essin, assistant professor of theatre
B.A., Wake Forest University, 1993
M.A., Northwestern University, 1998
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2006
Essin’s research explores the role of stage designer in the larger cultural context of early 20th-century society. She previously served as assistant professor in theatre studies at the University of Arizona.

Federico H. Gutierrez, assistant professor of economics
B.A., Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, 2002
M.A., Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 2004
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Yale University, 2007, 2008, 2011
Gutierrez joins Vanderbilt from Yale University, where he recently completed his Ph.D. in economics. His research focuses on development economics, applied econometrics and labor economics.


David J. Hess, professor of sociology
B.A., Harvard University, 1978
M.A., Ph.D., Cornell University, 1983, 1987
Hess joins Vanderbilt from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was a professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies and director of the Program in Ecological Economics, Values and Policy. He is a prominent scholar in science and technology studies with particular interest in sustainability and environmental policy.


Vaughan F.R. Jones, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics
B.Sc., M.Sc., University of Auckland, 1972, 1973 
Docteur ès Sciences, University of Geneva, 1979
A pre-eminent mathematician from the University of California-Berkeley, Jones works in von Neumann algebras, subfactors and planar algebras, knot theory, quantum topology, statistical mechanics and conformal field theory. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and received the prestigious Fields Medal in 1990 for his work in von Neumann algebras and knot theory.

Peter Lorge, assistant professor of history; assistant professor of Asian studies
B.A., University of Texas, 1989
M.A., Oxford University, 1990
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1996
Lorge is an historian of 10th- and 11th-century China, with particular interest in military, political and social history. Before joining the tenure-track faculty, he served as a senior lecturer, teaching Chinese history and film.


Leah Lowe, associate professor of theatre
A.B., Oberlin College, 1985
M.F.A., University of Minnesota, 1988
Ph.D., Florida State University, 2000
Before her arrival at Vanderbilt, Lowe was associate professor and chair of the Department of Theatre at Connecticut College in New London, Conn. As a director and an historian, her work bridges the divide between theatrical practice and theory. Her current research focuses on perceptions of the economy in popular American theater of the 19th and early 20th centuries.


Janet E. Macdonald, assistant professor of chemistry
B.S., McGill University, 2002
Ph.D., University of Alberta, 2008
Macdonald recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Institute of Chemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her work on semiconductor nanostructures has led to the discovery of a novel, unpredicted semiconductor nanocage. At Vanderbilt, she proposes to synthesize novel semiconductor nanostructures that could be used as photocatalysts to split water (generating oxygen and hydrogen for fuel).


Alexander V. Maier, assistant professor of psychology
B.Sc., M.Sc., Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität, München, Germany, 1999, 2002 
Dr.rer.nat., Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen, Germany, 2005
Maier comes to Vanderbilt from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., where he recently completed a research fellowship. His research makes use of electrophysiological recordings and fMRI to assess the brain mechanisms underlying visual perception.


Courtney J. Martin, assistant professor of history of art
B.A., Oberlin College, 1996
M.A., State University of New York-Stony Brook, 2001
Ph.D., Yale University, 2009
Before joining the tenure-track faculty this year, Martin held a postdoctoral fellowship in the department. Her research focuses on the impact of 1968 on the art and politics of Britain.


Jonathan Metzl, the Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Medicine, Health and Society; director, Center for Medicine, Health and Society; professor of psychiatry
B.A./M.D., University of Missouri, 1991
M.A., Stanford University, 1995
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2001
Metzl joins Vanderbilt from the University of Michigan, where he was an associate professor in the women’s studies, African American studies and psychiatry departments and was co-director of the Disability Studies Program.  He teaches and does research in the areas of history of psychiatry, race and health, and gender.

Jessica Leigh Oster, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences
Arriving spring 2012
B.A., Oberlin College, 2003
Ph.D., University of California-Davis, 2010
Oster will join the Vanderbilt faculty in the spring semester, after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. Her research interests are paleoclimatology, low temperature geochemistry, and cave and Karst Studies.


Jemima Pierre, assistant professor of African American and Diaspora studies
B.A., Tulane University, 1995
M.A., Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2002
Jemima Pierre is an anthropologist with extensive ethnographic research experience in Ghana, Haiti and among black immigrant communities in the United States. In 2009-10, she was the William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellow at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities. She has taught at the University of Illinois-Chicago and the University of Texas at Austin.

Jonathan Rattner, assistant professor of film studies
B.F.A., New York University, 2000
M.F.A., M.F.A., University of Iowa, 2008, 2009
Before joining the tenure-track faculty in Film Studies this fall, Rattner served as a senior lecturer. His research and teaching interests are experimental/nonfiction video and film production and intermedia art.


Erin C. Rericha, assistant professor of physics
B.S., Texas A&M University, 1997
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2004
Rericha works at the interface of physics and biology exploring how the physical properties of interior and exterior cellular environments impact cell migration mechanisms, direction and effectiveness, with applications to cancer metastasis, inflammation and infectious disease as well as fundamental questions in polymer physics and fluid dynamics.


Peter Savelyev, assistant professor of economics
M.S., M.A., St. Petersburg State University, 1996, 2000
Ph.D., Physico-Technical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2003
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2011
Savelyev comes to Vanderbilt from the University of Chicago, where he held a Merck Quantitative Sciences Graduate Fellowship in Health Economics. At Vanderbilt, he will contribute to the training of Ph.D. students who participate in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College.


Tony K. Stewart, professor of religious studies; chair of the Department of Religious Studies
B.A., Western Kentucky University, 1976 
A.M., Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1981, 1985
Stewart is a specialist in the religions and literatures of South Asia, with recent research focusing on the interaction of Hindus and Muslims in South Asia. He previously served on the faculty of North Carolina State University as professor of South Asian religions and literatures.


Ben Tran, assistant professor of Asian studies; assistant professor of English
B.A., Emory University, 1998
Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley, 2008
Before joining the tenure-track faculty, Tran was a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Asian Studies, where his research centered on modern Vietnamese literature and cultural history, colonial and postcolonial Southeast Asian literature, and gender studies.

Divinity School


Bruce T. Morrill, the Edward Malloy Professor of Catholic Studies
A.B., College of the Holy Cross, 1981
M.A., Columbia University, 1986
M.Div., Santa Clara University, 1991
Ph.D., Emory University, 1996
Morrill is a prominent figure in Catholic sacramental and constructive liturgical theology.  Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, he was on the faculty of Boston College for 15 years and has held visiting chair appointments and fellowships at a number of institutions in the United States and Ireland. Morrill is an ordained Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuit order).

School of Engineering


Russell F. Dunn, professor of the practice of chemical and biomolecular engineering
B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Auburn University, 1984, 1988, 1994
Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty this fall, Dunn was the founder and president of Polymer Chemical Technologies, LLC. His research focuses on energy conservation and waste minimization process design for industry and research on safety issues involving polymer product failures and large chemical plant releases.

W. Grissom

William A. Grissom, assistant professor of biomedical engineering
B.S.E., M.S.E., M.S.E., Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008
Grissom previously worked as a research engineer at GE Global Research in Munich, Germany. His research interests include high field and interventional MRI methods, and his teaching interests include biomedical instrumentation, MR engineering and biomedical signal and image processing.


Larry Nathan Hamm, assistant professor of the practice of computer science
B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2003, 2005, 2011
Hamm joined the Vanderbilt faculty after earning his Ph.D. in computer science. He enjoys modeling the effects of variability on scheduling algorithms, workload characterization and evaluation, and developing graphical MATLAB and C++ modeling tools.


Pietro Valdastri, assistant professor of mechanical engineering
M.Sc., University of Pisa, 2002
Ph.D., Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, 2006
Valdastri moved to Vanderbilt from the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Italy, where he was assistant professor of industrial bioengineering. His research is primarily concerned with the design and creation of mechatronic capsule robots to be used inside specific districts of the human body to detect and cure diseases in a non-invasive way.


Matthew Walker III, associate professor of the practice of biomedical engineering
B.S., University of Tennessee, 1987
Ph.D., Tulane University, 2000
Walker comes from the biotech industry, where he led teams of photo-acoustic imaging scientists at Merck and MIT delivering nano-microparticles for gene therapy by blurring the lines between engineering, imaging and drug/biomarker discovery. At Vanderbilt, he is developing an innovative biomedical engineering design curriculum, working across departments and schools and particularly between Vanderbilt and the biotechnology/medical device industry.

Law School


Rebecca B. Haw, assistant professor of law
B.A., Yale University, 2001
M.Phil., University of Cambridge, 2005
J.D., Harvard Law School, 2008
Haw applies behavioral psychology, microeconomics, public choice theory, political science and legal history to inform her work on antitrust law and policy. She was a Harvard Climenko Fellow from 2009 to 2011 and clerked for Judge Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


Vijay M. Padmanabhan, assistant professor of law
B.A., Georgetown University, 1999
J.D., New York University, 2002
Padmanabhan’s research focuses on international criminal and human rights law and national security law. He joins Vanderbilt from Cardozo School of Law, before which he spent five years with the State Department as an attorney-adviser on political and military affairs.


John (J.B.) Ruhl, the David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law; professor of law
B.A., J.D., University of Virginia, 1979, 1982
LL.M., George Washington University, 1986
Ph.D., Southern Illinois University, 2006
Ruhl joins Vanderbilt from Florida State University, where he was the Matthews and Hawkins Professor of Property. His influential work addresses environmental law relating to climate change, the Endangered Species Act, ecosystems, federal public lands and other land use and environmental issues.


Ganesh N. Sitaraman, assistant professor of law
A.B., Harvard University, 2004
M.Phil., University of Cambridge, 2005
J.D., Harvard Law School, 2008
Sitaraman’s work addresses foreign relations law, international law, separation of powers and institutional design. He was Harvard’s Public Law Fellow and will be in residence after clerking for Judge Stephen Williams, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.


Yesha Yadav, assistant professor of law
M.A., University of Cambridge, 2003
LL.M., Harvard Law School, 2009
Yadav studies international financial and securities regulation. She previously worked for the World Bank Legal Vice Presidency’s Finance, Private Sector Development and Infrastructure Unit. She is fluent in Hindi, French and German and speaks Urdu.

Owen Graduate School of Management

Brian T. McCann, assistant professor of strategic management
B.A., Wright State University, 1990
M.B.A., Vanderbilt University, 2004
Ph.D., Purdue University, 2009
McCann is an award-winning researcher and co-author of the leading textbook in his field,
Managerial Economics: A Problem-Solving Approach. Before joining the tenure-track faculty, he taught strategic management and managerial economics to MBA and executive students at Owen, receiving the school’s Excellence in Teaching Award twice.

Peabody College

Erik W. Carter, associate professor of special education
B.A., Wheaton College, 1996
M.Ed., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 1998, 2004
Arrived January 2011
Carter’s research interests include adolescent transitions from school to adult life, peer relationships and peer support interventions, students with severe disabilities, access to the general curriculum, and congregational supports and inclusion.

J. Grissom

Jason A. Grissom, assistant professor of public policy and education
B.S., B.A., North Carolina State University, 2001, 2002
M.A., Ph.D., Stanford University, 2005, 2007
Grissom served as an assistant professor of public affairs in the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri before joining the Vanderbilt faculty. His research combines political science, economics and public administration to address questions related to public school governance and leadership.

Heather L. Johnson, assistant professor of the practice of science education
B.A., M.A.T., University of Virginia, 1998
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2010
Arrived January 2011
Johnson’s research involves looking at supports for science teacher learning – including professional development opportunities, coaching support and educative curriculum materials – and how these supports affect teacher practice and ultimately student learning.


Carrie A. Kortegast, assistant professor of the practice of higher education
B.A., Mount Holyoke College, 1998
M.Ed., University of Massachusetts, 2002
Ph.D., Iowa State University, 2011
Kortegast’s research focuses on the professional practice of higher education/student affairs administration; the impact of out-of-classroom, social activities on college student learning and development; and LGBTQI issues in higher education.


Carrie Lowe Masten, assistant professor of psychology
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2002
M.A., Ph.D., University of California-Los Angeles, 2005, 2009
Masten recently completed postdoctoral training at the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California-Davis, conducting research on neural correlates of social rejection during adolescence.


Kristopher J. Preacher, assistant professor of psychology
B.A., North Carolina State University, 1996
M.A., College of William and Mary, 1998
Ph.D., Ohio State University, 2003
Preacher comes to Vanderbilt from the University of Kansas, where he served as assistant professor of quantitative psychology. His research is concerned with the development and application of quantitative methods in the social sciences.