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Vanderbilt News

New Vanderbilt Faculty 2017

Oct. 5, 2017, 10:31 AM

A complete list of new Vanderbilt University faculty for the 2017-18 academic year

Blair School of Music

Zach Ebin, senior artist teacher of Suzuki violin and director of the Suzuki program

B.A., Brandeis University, 2004
M.M., Berklee College of Music, 2006
M.A., Brandeis University, 2007
Ph.D., York University, 2015

Ebin served as the artistic director of the Belfountain Music Festival and Arco Violini. He is currently the artistic director of the Silent Voices Project. In high demand as a music educator, Ebin has taught and lectured across North America.

Leslie Fagan, associate professor of flute

B.M., Indiana University, 1993
M.M., Northwestern University, 1995
D.Mus., Northwestern University, 2005

Fagan is assistant principal flute of the Omaha Symphony and is currently playing her second one-year contract with the Nashville Symphony on third flute/piccolo. She is also principal flute for the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon. For many years she was an active freelancer and teacher in the Chicago area and has been a regular substitute for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, participating in their 2009 Asia tour.

Mitchell Korn, senior lecturer of music and educational outreach

B.A., Bard College, 1974
M.A., Columbia University, 1984

The Wall Street Journal has described Korn as a “one-man arts education industry.” Symphony Magazine has called him a “music education guru.” He is credited with designing and implementing some of the nation’s most sustainable cultural strategic plans, including San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music, New York’s Annenberg Initiative, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, The Cleveland Orchestra’s Learning Through Music, and many more.

College of Arts and Science

Valeriano Aiello, assistant professor of mathematics

A.B., University of Rome, 2010
A.M., University of Rome, 2013
Ph.D., University of Rome, 2017

Aiello’s main research interest is in Operator Algebras and some of its applications. In particular, he is interested in studying unitary representations of the Thompson groups introduced by Vaughan Jones, some of which are related to notions of low-dimensional topology. Other topics are Noncommutative Geometry and Noncommutative Topology.

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and professor of art

National School of Art (Havana, Cuba), 1980
Higher Institute of Art (Havana, Cuba), 1985
M.F.A., Massachusetts College of Art, 1988

Campos-Pons’ work of the last 30 years covers an extended range of visual language investigations. She has focused on painting and the discussion of sexuality at the crossroads of Cuban mixed cultural heritage and insertion of the black body in contemporary narratives. Sculpture, painting, installation art, performative photography and performance define the core of her practice of the last two decades. She has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Venice Biennale 2001, Johannesburg Biennial, the First Liverpool Biennial, the Dak’ART Biennial in Senegal, and the Guangzhou Triennial.

Anna Castillo, Mellon Assistant Professor of Spanish

B.A., University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, 2009
Ph.D., Stanford University, 2017

Castillo’s expertise is in 20th- and 21st-century Spanish American studies. She has extensive knowledge of contemporary philosophy and in post-humanism in particular. Her interdisciplinary work argues that focusing on the plasticity of three post-human figures—the android, the patient and the avatar—requires a reconsideration of human companionship and of what it means to be intimate. Her work shows that human sexuality has become progressively less human.

Daniela D’Eugenio, senior lecturer in Italian

B.A., Italian Literature and Language University (Chieti, Italy), 2007
M.A., Italian Philology and Linguistics University (Florence, Italy), 2009
M.A., University of Padua (Italy), 2012
M.Phil., The Graduate Center–CUNY, 2015
Ph.D., The Graduate Center–CUNY, 2017

D’Eugenio investigates proverbs as literary elements able to affect the structure of a literary work, as linguistic tools featuring rhetorical and stylistic elements, and as repositories of a community’s culture. She shows how Vincenzo Brusantini, John Florio and Pompeo Sarnelli translated their proverbs in ways that are directly related to the literary context, the structure and purpose of their works, and sociocultural environment, thus manipulating them and the message they convey. The original perspective of the project allows the study of proverbial material across centuries, across space (from Ferrara to Naples to England), across genres (from a chivalric poem to a language manual to a collection of fables), and across languages (from standard Italian to dialect to second-generation Italian).

Polina Dimova, lecturer of German, Russian and East European studies

B.A., Smith College, 2001
Ph.D., University of California–Berkeley, 2010

Dimova holds a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of California–Berkeley and is a scholar of Russian and European literature, music and visual art. Nearing completion, her book The Synaesthetic Metaphor studies how Modernist multimedia experiments stemmed from a fascination with synaesthesia, the figurative or neurological mixing of the senses. She has published on synaesthesia in Russian Symbolism; on Evgenii Zamiatin’s literary appropriation of Alexander Scriabin’s music; on the Scythian elements in Prokofiev’s early ballets and songs; and on Oscar Wilde’s and Richard Strauss’ adaptations of the Salome legend.

Christy Erving,
 assistant professor of sociology

B.A., Rice University, 2007
M.A. Indiana University, 2009
Ph.D., Indiana University, 2014

Erving comes to Vanderbilt following a Robert Wood Johnson Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a year as assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina–Charlotte. Her research examines the social factors that produce and maintain disparities in health. Her dissertation research investigates racial, ethnic and nativity distinctions in physical-psychiatric comorbidity, or the co-occurrence of physical and mental health problems. More specifically, she addresses the extent to which socioeconomic status, stress and social support predict racial, ethnic and nativity patterns in comorbidity, and whether these patterns are aligned with sociological theories pertaining to racial inequality.

Megan Gallagher
, assistant professor of political science

B.A., Vassar College, 2005
M.A., University of California–Los Angeles, 2008
Ph.D., University of California–Los Angeles, 2014

Gallagher’s research combines the history of political thought and political theory, with an emphasis on 18th-century political thought, emotions and politics, and feminist theory. She has three primary areas of research: republicanism; politics and emotion, particularly as manifested in the discourses and practices of imperialism, nationalism and patriotism; and feminist political theory and the history of women in political thought. She also has a strong interest in politics and literature and related subjects, including rhetoric, tragedy, and law and literature.

Emily Greble, associate professor of German and history

B.A., College of William and Mary, 1999
M.A., Stanford University, 2004
Ph.D., Stanford University, 2007

A specialist in Southeastern Europe, Greble’s first book, Sarajevo (1941-1945): Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Hitler’s Europe, analyzed the persistence of multiculturalism in World War II. She is currently researching how Ottoman Muslim communities transformed in the 19th and 20th centuries. As new states took shape in Ottoman lands, Balkan Muslims became Europe’s first Muslim citizens. By mapping the story of post-Ottoman Muslims onto the story of building modern European states, Greble seeks to shed light on how Islamic institutions shaped the structures of the European state; how Muslims negotiated a position for themselves in European legal, administrative and social structures; and how and why Muslims came to be understood in European discourse and policy as a fundamentally different kind of citizen.

Karen Hammer, senior lecturer in women’s and gender studies

B.F.A., Tufts University, 1998
M.A., University of Wyoming, 2012
Ph.D., The Graduate Center–CUNY, 2017

Hammer works across the fields of queer, disability, transgender, critical race, and feminist theory. Her dissertation, “Butch Between the Wars: A Pre-History of Butch Style in the Twentieth-Century,” seeks a historical understanding of social masculinity that accounts for the textures of gender and sexuality across class, race and region in the United States. Additional research interests include film and media studies, postcolonial theory, postwar women writers, trans-Atlantic modernism(s), and Chicana/o literature.

T.S. Harvey, associate professor of anthropology

M.A., Old Dominion University, 1999
Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2003

Harvey is a linguist and medical anthropologist whose scholarship focuses
 on language use in health care and environmental health risk communications. He has conducted long-term field research in Guatemala with K’iche Maya, and comparative studies on environmental pollution in the U.S. Great Lakes region. His scholarship ranges from micro analyses of cross-cultural doctor-patient interactions, to macro analyses of media and public health campaigns, to studies on a global scale of language use and the role of media in international disaster relief and crisis management efforts. His current work investigates the uses of geographic information systems (GIS), global position systems (GPS), information-communication technology (ICT) and cell phones in the areas of public health risk assessment and reduction as well disaster prevention and environmental protection.

Matt Haulmark, assistant professor of mathematics

B.S., University of Texas–Brownsville, 2007
M.S., University of Texas–Brownsville, 2010
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, 2017

Haulmark studies boundaries of groups, relatively hyperbolic and CAT(0) groups, JSJ decompositions, growth in groups, and homological Z-sets.

Stephanie Higgs, lecturer in English

B.A., Washington University in St. Louis, 2006
M.A., Vanderbilt University, 2010
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2016

Invisible Threads: Fictions of Cotton in the Atlantic Triangle, 1833-1863

Kari Hoffman, associate professor of psychology

B.S., Rice University, 1997
Ph.D., University of Arizona, 2003

Hoffman’s research uses state-of-the-art technology to study the neural mechanisms underlying perception and memory formation in human and nonhuman primates. The goal of her research is to understand neural-circuit phenomena—in particular the emergence and control of oscillatory brain activity—and to determine the role these phenomena play in adaptive behaviors, such as memory-guided exploration of the environment, and in face and object recognition.

David Ikard, professor of African American and diaspora studies

B.A., North Carolina State University, 1994
M.A., North Carolina State University, 1997
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2002

Ikard’s research interests include black feminism, gender studies, black popular cultural studies, and whiteness studies. He has authored four books and a wide range of essays and chapters in national and international journals.

Oliver Knabe, lecturer in German

B.A., Free University of Berlin, 2008
M.A., Free University of Berlin, 2011
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2017

Knabe’s dissertation is titled ”Geist und Macht in den 1960er Jahren:
 Drei Wege zu einer ‘kurzen Ehe’ oder wie die westdeutschen Schriftsteller politisch wurden.” He has published on Georg Büchner and has given talks on Günter Grass, Volker Schlöndorff and Bettina von Arnim. His current research interests include 20th- and 21st- century German literature and film, the role of public intellectuals in the political sphere, digital humanities in the context of second language acquisition, and the intersections of sports and politics.

Woden Kusner
, assistant professor of mathematics

B.S., Haverford College, 2007
M.A., University of Pittsburgh, 2010
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2014

Kusner is interested in problems of discrete geometry and geometric optimization that are approachable by synthetic or analytic means and those where brute force computation is becoming tractable.

Allison Leich-Hilbun
, senior lecturer in biological sciences

B.S., College of William and Mary, 2009
M.S., University of Northern Colorado, 2012
Ph.D., East Tennessee State University, 2016

Chenyun Luo, assistant professor of mathematics

B.A., University of Rochester, 2011
M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 2012
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 2017

The goal of Luo’s research is to understand the motion of a fluid modeled by the compressible Euler equations with free surface boundary. His main results concern the behavior of the solutions of the compressible Euler equations when the “compressibility” tends to zero.

Torben Lutjen, visiting associate professor of European studies and political science

M.A., University of Göttingen (Germany), 2001
Ph.D., University of Göttingen, 2006

Lütjen is the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) visiting associate professor for European studies and political science. His research interests include comparative politics, American politics, political parties, sociology of knowledge, and methods of political ethnography. From 2009 to 2015, he headed a research group at the University of Düsseldorf that explored the mechanisms behind different levels of ideological polarization in the United States and Europe.

Michelle M. Marcus, assistant professor of economics

B.A., Miami University, 2010
B.S., Miami University, 2010
M.A., Miami University, 2011
Ph.D., Brown University, 2017

Marcus’ research interests lie at the intersection of health and environmental economics. Her research quantifies the health impacts of exposure to environmental toxins and explores the roles that governmental policy and increased information can play in mitigating these health effects. In a paper recently published in the Journal of Health Economics, she shows that California’s cleaner-burning gasoline requirements reduced childhood asthma hospitalizations by about 8 percent in high-exposure areas near highways. Marcus’ most recent research estimates the health impacts of petroleum pollution from leaking underground storage tanks, investigates the ability of preventative technology to mitigate negative health impacts, and shows how individuals respond to information about nearby petroleum leaks.

Tatiana McInnis, lecturer in American studies

B.A., Florida International University, 2012
M.A., Vanderbilt University, 2013
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2017

McInnis’ research interests include representations of diversity, the relationship between diversity and anti-Blackness, popular culture, immigration and migrant studies, critical race theory, global South studies, and urban studies. Her courses prioritize the intersections of these fields in dynamic classes that include rigorous interdisciplinary scholarship, film, literature and various other cultural artifacts. Her manuscript, Missing Miami: Anti-Blackness and the Making of the South Florida Myth, argues that celebrations of Miami’s diversity obfuscate prevalent anti-Blackness, a phenomenon McInnis examines in literature, film and other media set in Miami ranging from the 1950s to the present day.

Andrew Moorhead, assistant professor of mathematics

B.S./B.M., University of Texas–Austin, 2006
Ph.D., University of Colorado, 2017

Moorhead’s research interests are in algebra and logic. In particular, his research is in the area of presentations of noncommutative k-algebras, specifically, to advance the understanding of word patterns related to the Koethe Conjecture. He recently began an investigation into so-called higher commutator theory.

Elyse Petit, senior lecturer in French

Licence of Lettres Modernes, Université of Perpignan (France), 1995
Maitrise FLE (Français Langue Etrangère), Université of Perpignan (France), 1999
M.A., University of Louisiana–Lafayette, 2010
M.A., University of Arizona, 2013
Ph.D., University of Arizona, 2017

Petit collaborated with colleagues to develop innovative pedagogical frameworks grounded in literacy-based approaches that incorporate a wide range of technological tools. She also developed research studies around these pedagogical pilots, in which she examines student learning outcomes and the development of voice in a second language. She had developed carefully structured digital storytelling activities to aid students’ comprehension of how language is socially and culturally constructed within communities, and how they can express themselves and construct their own meanings through media creation. Recently, she started another research project in collaboration with a colleague on the use of Digital Social Reading (DSR) through the tool Live Margin.

Lars Plate, assistant professor of chemistry

B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2007
Ph.D., University of California–Berkeley, 2013

The focus of Plate’s research group is to define the dynamics and the temporal coordination of protein interaction networks in diverse biological processes. Altered protein-protein interactions are intricately linked to disease states ranging from cancer due to disparate signal transduction, to protein folding diseases as a result of aberrant engagement with protein folding pathways, to pathogenic infection through host-pathogen protein interactions co-opting cellular pathways. Understanding the pathological consequences of mis-timed and uncoordinated protein interactions on disease states will guide the identification of new therapeutic strategies. The research in his group leverages multidisciplinary approaches at the interface of chemistry and biology, including protein biochemistry, enzymology, microbiology, cell biology, and proteomics and drug discovery.

Raisa Rexer, assistant professor of French

B.A., Yale University, 2004
M.St., Oxford University, 2005
M.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2007
M.Phil., Yale University, 2010
Ph.D., Yale University, 2014

Rexer’s research and teaching interests encompass a variety of topics, including narrative fiction and poetry, early photographic history, and the connection between the visual arts (particularly the photograph) and the written text. Her current book project, The Art of Exposure: Literature and the Photographic Nude in Nineteenth-Century France, examines the literary and cultural influence of the pornographic photograph in 19th-century France. Her next book project, on the fin-de-siècle French photo-illustrated novel, will continue to explore these questions as she examines the genre’s use of text and image in relation to Orientalist cultural fantasies, female authorship, representations of history, and the future of the novel after the invention of cinema. Additionally, she has published an article on the Orient, pornography and Romanticism in Flaubert’s travel letters and L’Éducation sentimentale; an article on Aimé Césaire, Marxism and Negritude; and a catalog essay on Degas’ monotypes and the iconography of early pornographic photography for the 2016 show on Edgar Degas at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In addition, she is a regular contributing critic for the British art magazine Apollo.

Christine Richter-Nilsson, lecturer in German

M.A., Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (Germany), 2000
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2017

Richter-Nilsson received her M. A. in rhetorics and cultural studies from the Universität Tübingen. Her dissertation, “Dramatic Palimpsests: Remaking the Classics in Contemporary German and American Theater,” examines new theater adaptations of classics by German and American minority writers. Her research focuses on migration, flight and travel and examines how transcultural and transnational identities are represented in contemporary German literature and visual cultures. Her next project will explore transcultural and multilingual authorship and the act of translation as a writing mode.

Tasha Rijke-Epstein, assistant professor of history

B.A., Loyola College, 1997
M.Phil., University of Cape Town (South Africa), 2006
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2017

Rijke-Epstein’s research interests lie in the creative, spatial strategies employed by urban inhabitants over time as they have navigated tensions of belonging and have found ways to imagine new possibilities for their lives amidst shifting political-economic, social and infrastructural constraints. Her dissertation, “Architectures of Belonging: Urban Materiality, Historical Imagination, and Shifting Moral Registers in Mahajanga, Madagascar, 1890s to present,” examines the history and practices of urban place-making, planning and inhabitance, and focuses on the intersecting work of Malagasy and Comorian city dwellers, laborers, and planning experts in the production of a mid-size African city.

Renã A.S. Robinson, associate professor of chemistry

B.S., University of Louisville, 2000
Ph.D., Indiana University, 2007

Robinson’s RASR Laboratory uses state-of-the art proteomics and mass spectrometry technology to further our understanding of aging and age-related diseases. She is particularly interested in Alzheimer’s disease and sepsis and how the periphery is involved in these disorders. Recently, she has focused on using the lab’s technology to understand the molecular basis of health disparities in Alzheimer’s disease and sepsis. These questions require high-throughput analytical methodology, and the lab specializes in developing novel proteomics approaches involving mass spectrometry that are useful for analyzing complex biological tissues, increasing sample multiplexing capability, and studying oxidative post-translational modifications.

Yuya Sasaki, associate professor of economics

B.S., Utah State University, 2002
M.S, Utah State University, 2007
M.A., Brown University, 2008
Ph.D., Brown University, 2012

Sasaki studies econometrics and has worked on micro-econometric topics such as dynamic discrete choice models, income dynamics, measurement error models, panel data analysis, production functions, program evaluation methods, and quantile regressions. Many of his current projects are concerned with robust and uniform nonparametric inference as well as nonparametric identification in the above topics. His research is often motivated by issues encountered by empirical practitioners, and he is also interested in conducting empirical research by applying the knowledge and techniques in his expertise.

Peter Schram, assistant professor of political science

A.B., Princeton University, 2009
Ph.D., Stanford University, 2017

Schram’s research uses empirical and microeconomic methods to study counterinsurgency, economic development, and grey zone conflict. His research is structured around three central questions: Why do individuals support militant groups? How do insurgent groups organize and operate? And how do features of the global community and technology influence the characteristics of conflict? Before starting at Vanderbilt, Peter is working as a research specialist for UCSD’s Cross Domain Deterrence project, where he is adapting existing and developing new game theory models of deterrence and grey zone conflict.

Heeryoon Shin, Mellon Assistant Professor of History of Art

B.A. Seoul National University, 2004
M.A., Yale University, 2011
Ph.D., Yale University, 2015

Shin’s work focuses on Buddhist art and architecture of the 19th century, with a particular emphasis on Banaras, India. Her research addresses the processes by which temples and other buildings were commissioned, designed and constructed. In addition, she considers the relationship between indigenous Indian forms and Western influences in sacred and secular architecture of the period. Her scholarship represents a global perspective on Asian visual culture.

Bradley C. Smith, assistant professor of political science

B.A., University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, 2012
Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2017

Smith’s research focuses on questions at the intersection of international conflict and international cooperation. He utilizes both formal theory and statistical methods to analyze military cooperation in the international system. He is interested in both the conditions that lead to military cooperation, as well as the influence of realized military cooperation on international conflict outcomes.

Ann Tate, assistant professor of biological sciences

B.S., Rice University, 2009
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2014

Tate’s research focuses on the evolutionary ecology of immune systems and host-microbe interactions, using a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches. She is particularly interested in connecting within-host and between-host dynamics to understand reciprocal feedbacks driving disease transmission, parasite virulence evolution, and the genetic architecture of host resistance and tolerance to infection.

Caglar Uyanik, assistant professor of mathematics

B.S., Middle East Technical University (Turkey), 2008
M.S., Middle East Technical University, 2010
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 2017

Uyanik studies geometric group theory, geometric topology and dynamics—specifically, mapping class groups, outer automorphism groups of free groups and translation surfaces.

Georgina White, lecturer in classical and Mediterranean studies

B.A./M.A., Brasenose College, University of Oxford, 2008
M.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2009
M.A., Princeton University, 2013
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2015

White is an expert in Latin and Greek literature who specializes in the intellectual history of the Roman Republic, ancient political thought and its reception, and the theory and practice of translation. Her major research program explores the philosophy of Cicero, in which she has explored the themes of natural structure, time and medicine.

Rhonda Williams, professor of history and John L. Seigenthaler Chair in American History

B.S., University of Maryland, 1989
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1998

Williams’ research interests include the manifestations of race and gender inequality on urban space and policy, social movements, and illicit narcotics economies in the post-1940s United States. She is the author of Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (2015) and the award-winning The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality (2004). Williams is also the co-editor of the book series Justice, Power, and Politics published by the University of North Carolina Press and is co-editor of Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement. Her current research is focused on illicit narcotics economies in the post-1930s United States, and she continues to examine the history of black power politics in the United States.

Thilo Womelsdorf, associate professor of psychology

Diploma Psychology, Ruhr University Bochum (Germany), 2001
Ph.D., Georg-August University (Göttingen, Germany), 2004

Womelsdorf’s research strives to realize a far-reaching vision that combines the use of advanced neurotechnology and dynamical systems neuroscience approaches to develop a neuropsychiatric framework of brain network functioning, particularly in regard to attention and memory. The goal of this framework is to predict functional and dysfunctional attention and learning processes in primate brains (human and monkey) across several scales of neurobiological analyses.

Mary Zaborskis, senior lecturer in women’s and gender studies

A.B., Bryn Mawr College, 2012
M.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2013
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2017

Research and teaching interests include queer theory, childhood studies, critical race theory, Native American literature, disability studies, and 20th-century and contemporary American literature and culture. Her work has appeared in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, WSQ and Journal of Homosexuality, and she is a contributing editor at Public Books.

Matthew D. Zaragoza-Watkins, assistant professor of economics

B.S., Cornell University, 2008
M.S., University of California–Berkeley, 2011
Ph.D., University of California–Berkeley, 2014

Zaragoza-Watkins studies the intersection of industrial organization, energy and the environment. His research explores the design and performance of economy-wide and sector-specific environmental policies. Applying econometric techniques from labor economics to test theory from industrial organization and consumer behavior, his work provides new evidence on the nature of firms’ and households’ responses to regulation, often shedding light on the unanticipated consequences of existing policy.

Law School

Karla McKanders, clinical professor of law

B.A., Spellman College, 2000
J.D., Duke University School of Law, 2003

McKanders’ scholarship interests are primarily in immigration and refugee law. Her scholarship grapples with the intricacies of national and international migration systems as well as the profound impacts of such systems on individuals and nations. Her articles have been published in the Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice, the University of Iowa’s Gender Race and Social Justice Law Journal, Catholic Law Review and other law journals. She also has been cited as an authority on immigration and refugee law by Reuters, ABC News and Al-Jazeera, as well as many state and local news outlets.

Lauren Rogal, assistant clinical professor of law

B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2004
M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 2012
J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 2011
L.L.M., Georgetown University Law Center, 2017

Rogal’s research focuses on tax and investment law as it pertains to community economic development and the charitable sector. The past two decades have seen rising interest in mission-based financing structures, innovative charity and social entrepreneurship. However, the regulatory landscape has not kept pace either with innovations in the field or with applicable economics scholarship. Rogal’s scholarship explores ways to more closely align tax and investment policies with legislative intent by incorporating contemporary economics research and evidence from practice.

Owen Graduate School of Management

Kelly Goldsmith, associate professor of management

B.A., Duke University, 2001
M.A., Yale University, 2006
M.Phil., Yale University, 2007
Ph.D., Yale University, 2009

Goldsmith’s research interests include consumer response to risk and uncertainty, goals and consumer behavior, behavioral theory, and construal level theory. Her scholarship draws on and extends aspects of behavior theory, in showing that consumers can behave in ways counter to normative predictions and in demonstrating when and why consumers do so.

Rita Nevada Gunn, assistant professor of accounting

B.A./B.S., North Carolina State University, 2012
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2017

Gunn’s research focuses on business acquisitions. She examines situations such as those where additional contingent payments are made if certain target levels are met (earn-outs) and those where privately held target firms possess large amounts of intangible assets. Paradoxically, she shows that when managers overstate the expected value of the earn-out to manage future earnings, these smoother earnings better predict future cash flows. She also compares the variance of synergies in private versus public targets.

Peter H. Haslag, assistant professor of management (finance)

B.S., Arizona State University, 2010
M.S.F., Vanderbilt University, 2011
Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis, 2017

Haslag is pursuing a broad research agenda that spans corporate finance and market microstructure. He examines how the organization of capital markets can impact decisions at the corporate level, and also in the context of liquidity provision as a function of the degree of fragmentation of order flow across trading venues.

Kejia Hu, assistant professor of operations

B.S., Fudan University (China), 2011
M.S., University of California–Davis, 2013
M.A., Northwestern University, 2017
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2017

Hu’s research interests include empirical operations management, structural modeling and causal inference, service operations, sustainability management, and statistics and stochastic modeling. Her scholarship investigates consumer retrial by connecting customers’ decisions with their preferences on service aspects: the speed in service access and the quality in service delivered. She also studies product life cycle curves from historical demand data for use in forecasting demand of ready-to-launch new products.

Berk A. Sensoy, Hans Stoll Professor of Finance

B.S., Duke University, 1999
M.B.A., University of Chicago, 2006
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2006

Sensoy is an internationally recognized scholar in the research fields of private equity. He studies the capital formation process in the context of both venture capitalists (for firms before they trade publically) and leveraged buyouts (taking firms private after being held publically). These two research streams address issues in the fields of entrepreneurship and mergers and acquisitions.

Melissa C. Thomas-Hunt, vice provost for inclusive excellence and professor of organization studies

B.S., Princeton University, 1989
M.S., Northwestern University, 1995
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1997

Thomas-Hunt has several streams of scholarship. One stream of research, which she calls “Status and Group Members’ Influence,” studies how different people within a team can influence group decisions. A second stream of work, “Status and Managerial Assessment,” investigates how nonperformance-based characteristics of an employee affect how their work is assessed within organizations. Her earliest work was on negation addressing how negotiators process data during the negotiation process.

Joshua T. White, assistant professor of management (finance)

B.S., University of Tennessee, 2007
M.B.A., University of Tennessee, 2008
Ph.D., University of Tennessee, 2012

White’s research focuses on the impact of securities regulation and disclosure requirements on the information differences between managers and investors and among different market participants (retail versus institutional investors). His current research interests are voluntary and mandatory corporate disclosure, analysts, cost-benefit analysis at the SEC, and over-the-counter markets.

Peabody College of education and human development

Amy Booth, professor of psychology and human development

Sc.B., Brown University, 1993
M.A., University of Virginia, 1995
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1998

Booth studies cognitive development and learning in young children. In much of her work, she has explored interactions between categorization, conceptual knowledge and word learning in infants and preschoolers. With the support of a grant from the National Science Foundation, she is currently investigating the role of individual differences in children’s word-learning skills in explaining disparities in vocabulary and early literacy as children enter school. In another line of work, also supported by the National Science Foundation, Booth is investigating the origins of children’s scientific literacy by examining early interests in, and the ability to reason about, causal information. The long-term goals of both projects are to develop early interventions to close persistent achievement gaps and to optimize academic success for all children in both language and science.

James Booth, professor of psychology and human development and Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Educational Neuroscience

B.A., University of Michigan, 1990
M.S., University of Maryland, 1993
Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1995

Booth is the Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Educational Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. The overall goals of his research are to understand the brain mechanisms of the development of reading, math and scientific reasoning in typical and atypical populations. He has been continuously funded for close to two decades and has published extensively in diverse journals. He has served in various roles both within and outside of the university, such as departmental chairperson, review panel member and associate editor. Booth aims to facilitate the interaction between the fields of cognition, neuroscience and education.

Brian Christens, associate professor of human and organizational development

B.A., Auburn University, 2002
M.S., Vanderbilt University, 2004
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2008

Christens studies processes that enhance people’s and organizations’ ability to take action to benefit their communities and alter power structures. His research provides insights into the mechanisms linking civic participation to individual and collective well-being, and how different approaches to civic action can lead to different outcomes. His research lies at the intersection of community psychology, human development, community development and public health.

Nicole Cobb, senior lecturer in human and organizational development

B.S., Tennessee Technological University, 1996
M.A., Tennessee Technological University, 1998
Ed.D., University of Tennessee, 2011

Cobb has worked in education for 21 years as a teacher, school counselor and administrator at the district and state levels. Her professional experience has allowed her to link research to practice in the field of school counseling, specifically as it relates to school climate, crisis response, college access and school counselor effectiveness.

Bradley Erford, professor of human and organizational development

B.S., Grove City College
M.A., Bucknell University
Ph.D., University of Virginia

Erford’s research specialization falls primarily in the areas of outcome research and the development and technical analysis of psycho-educational tests. He is most interested in determining what we know that works in counseling, especially in our work with school-aged youth.

Ocheze Joseph, lecturer in teaching and learning

B.S., Lincoln University, 1996
M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1999
Ed.D., University of Maryland, 2009

Joseph’s research has focused on school districts’ best practices and programs to retain novice teachers. She has gained additional interest in analyzing the literacy needs of new teachers and best practices that support students’ reading achievement.

Yolanda McDonald, assistant professor of human and organizational development

B.A., University of Texas–El Paso, 2009
M.A., University of Texas–El Paso, 2012
Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 2017

McDonald focuses her research interests on health disparities, health care access, cervical cancer prevention, public water infrastructure and quality, and big geospatial data uses. Her research applies an interdisciplinary focus on the intersections of health geography, geographic information systems, and epidemiology on health disparities and health inequalities.

Jessica Perkins, assistant professor of human and organizational development

B.S., Davidson College, 2005
S.M., Harvard School of Public Health, 2008
Ph.D., Harvard University, 2015

Perkins’ broad areas of research expertise within community and global health include social epidemiology and social psychology. Her main line of research focuses on how social networks and misperceptions of social norms impact health-related behaviors and attitudes, typically among low-resource and secondary school populations. The goal of her work is to inform the development of behavioral health interventions to reduce negative behaviors such as risky alcohol use and violence in rural Uganda, as well as promote positive behaviors such as HIV testing. Perkins also uses a similar framework to study bullying, substance use, and food and beverage consumption among youth across middle schools and high schools in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Matthew Shaw, assistant professor of public policy and education

A.B., University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, 2002
J.D., Columbia University, 2005
Ed.M., Harvard University, 2014
Ed.D., Harvard University, 2016

Shaw is a sociologist of law whose research focuses on educational institutions and the students, educators and communities who engage with them. As a scholar in the law and society tradition, his work brings together critical legal studies and econometrics to enhance his sociological methods. His current projects are on laws that shape the experiences of undocumented youth as they transition from high school to college; Title IX as a directive on educational institutions; and funding challenges experienced by Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Anita Wager, professor of the practice of mathematics education

B.S., University of Delaware, 1983
M.B.A., Columbia University, 1986
M.A.T., Johns Hopkins University, 2000
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2008

Wager’s research focuses on teacher education that supports culturally relevant and socially just mathematics teaching in early childhood and elementary school. She is particularly interested in practices that draw on children’s multiple mathematical resources, including mathematical thinking, mathematics (and other) experiences in homes and communities, and the mathematics children engage with in play.

School of Engineering

Daniel Arena, senior lecturer in computer science

B.A., Rutgers University, 1986
M.A., Rutgers University, 1990

Arena teaches the following courses: CS
1101 Programming and Problem Solving, CS 1151 Computers and Ethics, and CS 2212 Discrete Structures.

Joshua D. Caldwell
, associate professor of mechanical engineering and of electrical engineering

B.A., Virginia Tech, 2000
Ph.D., University of Florida, 2004

Caldwell’s research focuses on the confinement of electromagnetic energy and charged particles in the nano- to atomic-scale dimensions and the interactions between such confined systems. This involves the sub-diffractional confinement of light using “polaritons” within the optical spectral domain (primarily the infrared), the design of nanoscale optical components, and identifying and characterizing novel optical, electro-optical and electronic materials.

Yuche Chen, research assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering

B.S., Central South University of Technology (Changsha, China)
, 2006
M.S., Zhejiang University (Hangzhou, China), 2008
Ph.D., University of California–Davis, 2014

Chen’s research involves sustainable transportation systems, including the impact of energy and the environmental aspects of autonomous vehicles; all mobile emissions impact with air quality and alternative transportation infrastructure and operational designs; and big data analytics of these options.

Neal P. Dillon, research assistant professor of mechanical engineering

B.S., Villanova University, 2008
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2017

Dillon focuses on medical robotics and image-guided surgery, design of medical devices, dynamics and control, biomechanical modeling, medical image processing, error modeling and analysis of surgical systems, and parallel robot design and analysis.

Shannon L. Faley, research assistant professor of mechanical engineering

B.E. (Biomedical Engineering), Vanderbilt University, 1999
B.S. (Physics), Vanderbilt University, 1999
M.S., Vanderbilt University, 2002
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2007

Faley’s research focuses on developing biomimetic in vitro tissue models for disease modeling and regenerative medicine applications. Using sacrificial materials that are 3D printed, spun into fibers, or readily available, they are currently fabricating fluidic hydrogels that mimic capillary- to arteriole-sized vasculature and examining the effects of fluidic shear upon endothelial barrier integrity.

Ana Gainaru, research assistant professor of computer science

B.S., University Politehnica of Bucharest, 2008
M.S., University Politehnica of Bucharest, 2010
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2015

Gainaru’s main research focus is on applying machine learning and signal analysis methods to solving big data problems in general, and specifically for sparse graph applications used in neuroscience. Her work will be divided among all levels of the software stack, starting with the application and the middleware it uses. While software solutions are the first step for better understanding these applications, she is also interested in creating new hardware architecture models designed specifically for them. Optimizing the communication patterns and workflow will allow scientists to gather and analyze data at a new level of detail.

Kelsey B. Hatzell, assistant professor of mechanical engineering

B.A. (Economics), Swarthmore College, 2009
B.S. (Engineering), Swarthmore College, 2009
M.S., Pennsylvania State University, 2012
Ph.D., Drexel University, 2015

Hatzell’s group seeks to understand far-from-equilibrium multiphase colloidal material systems for energy and water applications. They examine multicomponent inks for advanced additive manufacturing of energy storage and conversion, sensors and biomedical applications. To probe the complex interactions in multicomponent material systems, they use a host of in-situ and ex-situ electron, neutron and X-ray characterization techniques. The group broadly seeks to understand how it can use novel materials processing approaches and manufacturing platforms to combine materials in synergistic ways that can contribute to augmented material properties and performance in engineered devices.

Richard J. Hendrick, research assistant professor of mechanical engineering

B.S., Texas A&M University, 2011
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2017

Hendrick’s focuses are hand-held deployment of intelligent, robotic tools for surgery that seamlessly fit into the clinical workflow; embedded robotic system design and control for minimally and non-invasive surgery; continuum robot design, modeling and optimization for minimally invasive surgery; and robotic system design for natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery.

Piran Kidambi, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering

B.S., National Institute of Technology (Tiruchirappalli, India), 2006
M.S., Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zurich, Switzerland), 2010
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, 2014

Kidambi’s research leverages the intersection between in-situ metrology, process engineering and material science to enable bottom-up novel materials design and synthesis for energy, novel membranes, electronics, catalysis, metrology and health care applications. Kidambi’s research in two-dimensional materials synthesis, device integration and processing for applications has been recognized by several awards and honors, including the Lindemann Trust Fellowship U.K., the Elizabeth Mabel Burnett Prize from Cambridge, and first prize in the ABTA Doctoral Thesis Awards. Kidambi anticipates being an active participant in the Vanderbilt Institute for Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Michael King, professor of biomedical engineering and radiology and radiological sciences and J. Lawrence Wilson Chair in Biomedical Engineering

B.S., University of Rochester, 1995
Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2000

King’s research combines concepts of cellular engineering, drug delivery and nanotechnology. He focuses on the receptor-mediated adhesion of circulating cells, and has developed new computational and in vitro models to study the function of leukocytes, platelets, stem and circulating tumor cells under flow. Additionally, King has written textbooks on the subjects of statistical methods and microchannel flows.

Yiorgos Kostoulas, associate professor of the practice of engineering management

B.S., University of Thessaloniki (Greece), 1989
M.A., University of Rochester, 1991
Ph.D., University of Rochester, 1996
M.B.A., Boston College, 2001

Alice Leach, research assistant professor of materials science and engineering

M.Chem., University of Oxford, 2012
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2017

Leach is primarily focused on the development and implementation of undergraduate courses in the VINSE cleanroom. Current areas of focus include nanoscale fabrication and characterization, semiconductor materials processing, and microfluidic device design. She also contributes to the research and teaching initiatives of VINSE faculty.

Ilwoo Lyu, research assistant professor of computer science

B.S., Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, 2009
M.S., Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, 2011
Ph.D., University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, 2017

Lyu’s research interest is mainly in developing novel algorithms for medical image analysis. His current research focuses on surface-based analysis to understand/explore highly convoluted shapes such as the brain. In particular, he is working on surface registration, anatomical/geometric feature extraction/recognition, statistical shape analysis and 3D visualization.

Justus Ndukaife, assistant professor of electrical engineering

B.S., University of Lagos (Nigeria), 2010
M.S., Purdue University–Calumet, 2012
Ph.D., Purdue University–West Lafayette, 2017

Ndukaife’s past and current research work is at the interface between the fields of nanophotonics and microfluidics; micro and nanoscale motors; and novel bio-inspired soft actuators and robots for applications in nanoparticle assembly, sensing, imaging, food security, energy harvesting, quantum photonics and on-chip nano-manufacturing.

Dominique Piot, lecturer in computer science

M.Eng., Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon (France), 1974
Master of Applied Mathematics and Informatics, Université de Lyon, 1977

Piot teaches the following courses: CS1101: An introductory class to problem- solving and Java language; CS2231: Processor architecture and assembly language (more specifically ARM); and CS2212: Discrete structures – how to prove that a program is correct.

Cynthia Reinhart-King, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Biomedical Engineering

S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2006

Reinhart-King’s research focuses on how cells interact with their environments and how mechanical and chemical changes in tissues can promote disease. Her work brings together tools from engineering, biology and medicine to build and utilize novel models of disease. Her research seeks to develop new tools and identify new targets to prevent disease progression.

Janos Sallai, research assistant professor of electrical engineering, computer engineering and computer science

M.Sc., Technical University of Budapest, 2001
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2008

Sallai is a research assistant professor at the Institute for Software Integrated Systems. His research areas include model integrated computing and cyber-physical systems, with emphasis on low-power localization and sensor fusion algorithms. He has worked on collaborative, component-based modeling and metamodeling environments for chemical and material science applications, and he has an extensive track record on sensor network-based shooter localization applications and has recently developed data-driven and machine learning techniques for acoustic shot detection. He has published more than 70 scientific papers, and he is the co-author on two patents. In addition, Sallai has worked on several DARPA projects related to acoustic shooter localization and has been the co-P.I. of an effort to build a smartphone-based counter-sniper system.

Carlos A. Silvera Batista, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering

B.E., City College of New York, 2005
Ph.D., University of Florida, 2011

Formerly a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan, Silvera Batista plans to establish a multiscale control over the assembly of colloids. He seeks to improve control over the structure of soft materials through the manipulation of the shape and chemistry of colloidal building blocks as well as interparticle forces. He also will investigate the design of materials with high barrier properties for food packaging. Silvera Batista plans to engage broadly with the Vanderbilt Institute for Nanoscale Science and Engineering. He has extensive experience in service and outreach and has proposed an innovative set of plans to bolster the engagement of the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt with Latin America.

Vikash Singh, assistant professor of the practice of computer science

B.Arch, Birla Institute of Technology (Ranchi, India), 2002
M.S., Mississippi State University, 2006
Ph.D., University of North Carolina–Charlotte, 2015

Singh’s research interests include human-computer interaction, collaboration tools and computer science pedagogy. His recent research has focused on team-based and video-centered active learning. He has received National Science Foundation I-corps and STTR grants to study, develop and commercialize tools for detailed and accurate discussion of video material targeting the flipped classroom model for STEM higher education.

Eric Spivey, research assistant professor of biomedical engineering

B.S.E., Duke University, 1997
Ph.D., University of Texas–Austin, 2012

Spivey’s focuses include the development of tools for single-cell culture, segregation and analysis through fabrication of defined cellular micro-environments; and the construction of high-throughput microfluidic and optical systems to enable registration of mass spectrometry data to other analytical techniques at the single-cell scale.

Hongyang Sun, research assistant professor of computer science

B.Eng., Nanyang Technological University
 (Singapore), 2005
M.Sc., National University of Singapore and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2006
Ph.D., Nanyang Technological University, 2011

Sun’s research focuses on improving the performance, energy efficiency and resilience of high-performance computing (HPC) systems and Cloud computing systems, with applications for processing data-intensive workload and performing big data analytics. His work so far has included establishing solid theoretical foundations as well as solving practical problems for both HPC and Cloud. He has proposed novel algorithms and techniques that span multiprocessor and multicore scheduling, energy-efficient or green computing, datacenter power and thermal managements, and HPC fault tolerance. His most recent research starts to consider data-intensive computing by looking at clustering and partitioning algorithms for large datasets (e.g., represented by sparse graphs/matrices), and by applying the research findings to help enhance and advance medical/neuroscience research while doing data analysis from these domains.

Manav Vohra, research assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering

B.Tech., Indian Institute of Technology (Dhanbad, India), 2010
M.S.E., Johns Hopkins University, 2012
Ph.D., Duke University, 2015

Vohra has served two years as a postdoc, one at Corning, Inc. and the other at the University of Texas at Austin. He has strong research experience in uncertainty quantification and experimental design, with applications in fluid mechanics and materials. He also has a strong background in heat transfer and numerical methods. He is working with Sankaran Mahadevan, John R. Murray Sr. Chair in Engineering, on his research in civil and environmental engineering.

Daniel M. Work, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering

B.S., Ohio State University, 2006
M.S., University of California–Berkeley, 2007
Ph.D., University of California–Berkeley, 2010

Work’s research is traffic modeling and transportation systems in interdisciplinary contexts, specifically civil, electrical, computer engineering and applied mathematics. He also concentrates on traffic engineering by improving human mobility while mitigating its negative environmental impacts.

School of Medicine (Basic Sciences)

Jun-Song Chen, research instructor 
in cell and developmental biology

B.S., Zhejiang University, 1994
Ph.D., Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, 2011

Chen studies function and regulation of proteins involved in cell division using fission yeast as the model organism. He currently focuses on a protein called Fic1, which is involved in cytokinesis regulation. He also uses liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) to identify protein-protein interaction and protein post-translational modification in fission yeast and mammalian cells.

Rocco G. Gogliotti, research instructor in pharmacology

B.S., Eastern Michigan University, 2004
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2012
Postdoctoral research fellow, Vanderbilt University, 2016

Gogliotti’s two main projects have focused on the role of the mGlu5 and mGlu7 receptors in MeCP2-related disorders. His research interests are in pediatric diseases of the nervous system focused on autism spectrum disorder. He has been a driving force behind what is now a major research focus of Rett syndrome.

Erkan Karakas, assistant professor of molecular physiology and biophysics

B.S., Middle East Technical University (Turkey), 2002
Ph.D., Stony Brook University, 2006

Karakas’ research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanism of mitochondrial calcium signaling that regulates cellular bioenergetics and cell fate decisions. He uses a multidisciplinary approach that includes structural biology, biophysics and biochemistry to study the structure and function of ion channels involved in calcium signaling.

Teresa H. Sanders, research assistant professor of pharmacology

B.S., University of Alabama–Huntsville
M.S., University of California–Los Angeles
Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
, 2014
Postdoctoral fellow, Emory University

Sanders’ research focuses on the emerging area of cognitive enhancement and neuroepigenetics. Specific research areas include learning and memory, basic molecular biology, molecular neurobiology, synaptic plasticity and behavior, neuropharmacology, and pharmacoepigenetics.

Jenny Schafer, 
 research assistant professor
 of cell and developmental biology

B.S., Rhodes College, 1998
Ph.D., University of Alabama–Birmingham, 2006

Schafer is a trained cell biologist and experienced microscopist currently working as the managing director of Vanderbilt’s Cell Imaging Shared Resource (CISR). Her research background has focused on studying cilia formation in C. elegans as well as researching vesicle trafficking in mammalian cells. Her current position within CISR allows her to stay on the cutting edge of modern microscopy by training users on current microscopes, assisting researchers with experimental design, and collaborating with Vanderbilt research centers and investigators on center grant support.

School of Medicine

Mingfeng Bai,
 assistant professor of radiology and radiological sciences

B.S., Nankai University (Tianjin, China), 2001
M.S., Vanderbilt University, 2003
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2007

Bai’s research interests are fluorescent probe and photosensitizer development, fluorescence imaging, photodynamic therapy, multifunctional drug delivery systems, and intraoperative imaging. The Bai laboratory develops targeted molecular probes for cancer imaging and therapy purposes, particularly fluorescence imaging agents and photosensitizers, with the ultimate goal of moving their basic science discoveries to the clinic.

Jennifer Below, assistant professor of medicine

B.A., Carleton College, 2003
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2011

Below is interested in developing and applying computational methodologies to further our understanding of the genetic basis of human disease. She’s solved the problem of maximal unrelated set identification in arbitrarily large genetic datasets using a novel application of graph theory, and is tackling the reverse problem of reconstructing pedigrees from estimates of genomic sharing. She’s expanding this work to genetically heterogeneous and admixed populations. She’s also worked through the Center for Mendelian Genomics to develop and apply methods to identify the genetic cause of Mendelian diseases using high- density next-generation sequence data.

Laura Beskow, professor of health policy

B.S., Iowa State University, 1985
M.P.H., Boston University, 1995
Ph.D., University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, 2005

Beskow’s research focuses on ethics and policy issues in biomedical research, particularly human subjects issues in large-scale genomic and translational research. Her work integrates both qualitative and quantitative social science methods. Examples of topics she has studied include research recruitment, informed consent, confidentiality protections, the return of research results to participants and families, and research use of electronic health records.

Jordan Everson, assistant professor of health policy

B.A., Duke University, 2008
M.P.H., Georgetown University, 2012
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2017

Everson’s research exemplifies an interest in how information, practice and patients move through the health care delivery system. He studies the adoption and use of health information technology and explores opportunities to facilitate better coordination as patients traverse the complex delivery system through electronic health information exchange. Principally, he aims to help shape how public programs are designed to facilitate achieving high-value coordinated care supported by the well-designed use of information technology.

Ayush Giri, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology

B.A., Knox College, 2006
M.S., University of Massachusetts–Amherst, 2011
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2015

Giri’s primary research interests involve the genetics of racial health disparities and gene-environment interactions as it relates to various chronic women’s health conditions. His interests also encompass understanding the epidemiology of thyroid disease and genetics of several quantitative traits, including BMI, height and blood pressure.

Jacob Houghton, assistant professor of radiology and radiological sciences

B.A., Carleton College, 2007
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2012

Houghton’s research focuses on the development of molecular imaging tools for cancer. His primary focus is the development of antibody-based PET imaging agents as diagnostic and staging tools for pancreatic cancer. Additionally, his laboratory develops optical, molecularly targeted imaging tools for surgical navigation.

Brian Lindman, associate professor of medicine

B.S., Duke University, 1997
M.A., Reformed Theological Seminary, 2001
M.D., Vanderbilt University, 2003
M.S.C.I., Washington University, 2012

Lindman’s research is focused on clinical and translational projects on calcific aortic stenosis, using sophisticated imaging techniques and a biobank of specimens to elucidate the pathology of aortic stenosis and the effects of pressure overload on the left ventricle and pulmonary vasculature. He has a particular interest in how diabetes affects these processes and aims to identify novel targets for adjunctive medical therapy to improve clinical outcomes in patients with aortic stenosis.

Jeffrey Neul,
 professor of pediatrics
 and director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

B.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1991
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1998
M.D., University of Chicago, 2000

Neul joins Vanderbilt as head of the Division of Child Neurology and as the director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. A child neurologist and an internationally recognized expert in genetic neurodevelopmental disorders, specifically Rett syndrome, Neul conducts clinical research and clinical trials, research to identify other genetic causes of neurodevelopmental disorders, and translational research using disease models to identify and test novel treatment modalities for these disorders.

Tuya Pal,
 associate professor of medicine

M.D., McGill University, 1992

Pal’s research interests focus on epidemiological studies of inherited cancer predisposition. Her research has spanned the continuum of cancer prevention and control, with evaluations of genetic etiology, cancer risks and outcomes, including efforts among underserved populations. She also has evaluated the care delivery of genetic services, including identification, access, utilization, quality of care and follow-up care. Her efforts among underserved ethnically and racially diverse populations of young women with breast cancer have focused on both the prevention and control of cancer, as well as care delivery, including development of educational and outreach efforts to enhance awareness about inherited breast cancer.

Kristine Phillips, associate professor of medicine

B.S., Louisiana State University, 1988
Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 1993
M.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1995
M.S., University of Michigan, 2016

Phillips’ research interests have been directed at improving the outcomes of patients with arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. She and her colleagues have studied the pathophysiology and epidemiology of rheumatologic diseases in prospective longitudinal cohorts. Related translational studies have focused on the role of inflammation in the development of chronic disease.

Cassianne Robinson-Cohen, assistant professor of medicine

B.S., McGill University, 2004
M.S., Université de Sherbrooke (Québec, Canada), 2008
Ph.D., University of Washington, 2012

Robinson-Cohen’s research interests lie in the areas of cardiovascular, clinical and genetic epidemiology. She focuses on understanding risk factors for and consequences of mineral metabolism disturbances in the general population and in chronic kidney disease. Further interests include identifying risk factors for and potential treatment options to address the disproportionate burden of cardiovascular disease in the setting of chronic kidney disease.

Douglas Ruderfer, assistant professor of medicine

B.S., Johns Hopkins University, 2004
M.S., Johns Hopkins University, 2004
Ph.D., Cardiff University (Wales), 2013

Ruderfer has spent the last 10 years applying computational approaches to answering fundamental questions in genetics, specifically elucidating the genetic causes of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. His work has contributed substantially to what is currently known about the genetic architecture of these diseases, including seminal publications on the polygenic nature of these disorders. In particular, his work has provided integral contributions to the ability to analyze and assess the role of copy number variation to disease risk. He developed some of the earliest methods to analyze these data and demonstrated extensive contribution of this class of variation to schizophrenia risk.

Jere Segrest, professor of medicine

B.A., Vanderbilt University, 1962
M.D., Vanderbilt University, 1967
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 1969

Segrest has a broad background in chemistry, physics and biochemistry, with specific training and experience in proteins, membranes and lipoproteins. He has a particular interest in computational and experimental structural biology of lipoproteins. Recently, he took the high-risk approach of using a computational approach—molecular dynamics (MD) simulations—to aid in exploring the dynamic structure of both discoidal and spheroidal (circulating) HDL. In spite of the high risk, he has published 13 high-impact papers that, for the first time, provide a robust model of HDL structure at the all-atom level.

Staci Sudenga, assistant professor of medicine

B.A., Luther College, 2007
M.P.H., University of Alabama–Birmingham, 2009
Ph.D., University of Alabama–Birmingham, 2013

Sudenga’s research program focuses on infections and cancer, the natural history of infections, and the synergy between infections. The goal is to identify modifiable factors associated with acquisition of infections and to identify biologically meaningful associations between the host and pathogen that can be translated into primary prevention efforts, early diagnosis or treatment.

Ran Tao, assistant professor of biostatistics

B.S., Tsinghua University (Beijing, China), 2010
Ph.D., University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, 2016

Tao’s research focuses include developing novel statistical methods to solve problems arising in the design and analysis of modern biomedical and public health studies, including genome-wide association studies, next-generation sequencing studies, and electronic health records systems. His current research topics include design and analysis of two-phase studies and association analysis under complex survey sampling.

Eric Tkaczyk, assistant professor of medicine

B.S., Purdue University, 2003
M.S.E., University of Michigan, 2007
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2010

Tkaczyk is a physician-scientist with a research interest in biophotonics for diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases. His current projects focus on cutaneous imaging in cGVHD and its impact on disease diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.

Norman Trevathan, professor of pediatrics

B.S., Lipscomb University, 1977
M.D., Emory University, 1982
M.P.H., Emory University, 1982

Trevathan joins Vanderbilt having previously served as the executive vice president and provost, as well as professor of neuroscience, at Baylor University. As a former administrator and senior leader with the CDC, Trevathan facilitated the research efforts of his faculty and colleagues. At Vanderbilt, he will pursue his own research, writing, clinical activity and teaching in his specialty of pediatric neurology.

Vivian Weiss, assistant professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology

B.A., Columbia University, 2004
M.D., Johns Hopkins University, 2012
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 2012

Weiss’ research focuses on merging molecular diagnostics and cytopathology, as well as understanding the molecular basis underlying thyroid lesions. Her projects include developing a qPCR expression assay that can be used as an adjunct to next-generation sequencing to establish sampling adequacy in thyroid lesions to obtain diagnostic, prognostic and targeted therapy information.

School of Nursing

Jennifer David, instructor in nursing

B.S., Valdosta State University, 2000
M.S.N., Vanderbilt University, 2014

Cristy DeGregory, assistant professor of nursing

B.S.N., University of Pittsburg, 2002
M.S.N., Drexel University, 2006
Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 2014

Diane Folk, instructor in nursing

B.S.N., Jacksonville University, 2008
M.S.N., State University of New York Health Science Center, 2010
D.N.P., Chatham University, 2012

Ruth Kleinpell, professor of nursing and assistant dean for clinical scholarship

B.S.N., University of Illinois, 1986
M.S., University of Illinois, 1988
Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1991
Ns. Pract., Rush University, 1995

Kleinpell has conducted research in several areas of focus, including roles of acute care nurse practitioners, outcomes of advanced practice nurses, quality of life of critically ill elders, and use of telehealth to promote post-operative recovery. She has received funding for several clinical projects, including one targeting hypoglycemia prevention funded by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses; a falls prevention initiative funded by the American Organization of Nurse Executives; and a project focused on improving workplace morale for nurses funded by the Prince Foundation, among others.

Mariann Piano, professor of nursing and senior associate dean for research

B.S.N., Loyola University of Chicago, 1979
M.S.N., University of Illinois–Chicago, 1984
Ph.D., University of Illinois–Chicago, 1989

Piano’s program of research focuses on elucidating the adverse cardiovascular risks, outcomes and mechanisms associated with unhealthy patterns of alcohol consumption, such as binge drinking. Her research team has established that binge drinking in young adults is associated with changes in vascular biology and function that may increase their risk for future adverse cardiovascular events. Other studies are underway to examine techniques for the measurement of binge drinking behavior among young adults and how the use of alcohol consumption biomarkers, such as phosphatidylethanol, can be used in research settings to validate drinking behaviors.

Susan Piras, instructor in nursing

B.S.N., Cedar Crest College, 1982
M.S.N., Duke University, 2009
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2016

Piras’ focus is nursing research, specifically that exploring the relationship between role modeling and health care behaviors and enforcing and redirecting behaviors related to safe practice.

Patty Sengstack, associate professor of nursing

B.S.N., University of Maryland, 1982
M.S.N., University of Maryland, 1988
Post-master’s in nursing, University of Maryland, 2002
D.N.P., Vanderbilt University, 2010

Sengstack teaches informatics at the master’s and doctoral levels, focusing the last several years on health information technology’s impact on patient safety. She recently published the book Mastering Informatics: A Healthcare Handbook for Success. She is also the chief nursing informatics officer for the Bon Secours Health System and past president of the American Nursing Informatics Association. She also serves on the Health and Human Service’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) Standards Committee. She currently co-chairs ONC’s Consumer Task Force to provide insight on HHS/ONC initiatives with a consumer focus.

Terrance Sims, instructor in nursing

B.S.N., Kaplan University, 2013
M.S.N., Kaplan University, 2016

Julia Steed, assistant professor of nursing

B.S.N., Middle Tennessee State University, 2006
M.S.N., Vanderbilt University, 2010
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2017

Steed’s focus is health services research. Her dissertation study examines the influence of perceived health risk on smoking behaviors among hospitalized smokers.

Dominique Stratton, lecturer in nursing

B.S.N., George Mason University, 2009
M.S.N., Vanderbilt University, 2014

Stratton’s research includes the competency tools used to measure the manner in which nurses use clinical research for effective resource allocation in daily practice.

Marci Zsamboky, lecturer in nursing

B.S.N., Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 1985
M.S.N., University of Pittsburg, 1994

Zsamboky’s focus is nursing science.




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