Chancellor announces 2024 Faculty Fellows, grants $40,000 per year to support scholarship and research

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Thirteen outstanding faculty members from across the university have been selected for the 2024 cohort of Chancellor Faculty Fellows. This group is composed of highly accomplished, recently tenured faculty from a wide variety of disciplines and areas of expertise.   

“Through their transformative teaching and pathbreaking scholarship and research, Chancellor Faculty Fellows embody the Vanderbilt Way,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “We award Chancellor Faculty Fellowships to enable these select faculty members to pursue their most ambitious projects and have an even greater impact on our students and society.” 

Each fellow holds the title for two years, receives $40,000 per year to support their work, and meets with their cohort to exchange ideas on teaching and research, build a broader intellectual community that advances collaborative scholarship and engage in academic leadership development to increase their leadership capacity. 

“Supporting Vanderbilt faculty members’ highest-caliber scholarly inquiry and pathbreaking discovery is one of the best parts of my job,” remarked Provost C. Cybele Raver. “The Chancellor’s Faculty Fellows represent a truly stellar, disciplinarily diverse group of awardees; I am so thrilled to celebrate their work and to congratulate them on this honor.”  

The 2024 Chancellor Faculty Fellows are:   

Carolyn Audet, associate professor of health policy. Audet has conducted research in the areas of HIV/AIDS health services delivery. She received the Practice Excellence Award from the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.  

Molly Barth, associate professor of flute. Barth is an internationally recognized flutist who has crossed from Virginia to California and from the United Kingdom to Korea for performances in various halls and stages. She’s a two-time Grammy Award winner who has appeared on 25 albums since 2003 and commissioned 49 new works since 2006.  

Anna Marie Bohmann, associate professor of mathematics. Bohmann is globally known for her work in algebraic topology. Many of her published papers have an A-rating according to the Australian Mathematical Society, the standard benchmark in mathematics.  

Erin Calipari, associate professor of pharmacology. Calipari is internationally recognized in the field of neuropharmacology, specifically for her work in identifying novel aspects of dopaminergic signaling in regulation of behavior and neuronal circuits. She has published key papers in leading journals such as The Journal of Neuroscience, Neuron, Nature and Science. Calipari is also the director of the Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research, an effort supported by Discovery Vanderbilt.   

Abhishek Dubey, associate professor of computer science. Dubey has made significant contributions to the field of cyber-physical systems, particularly in the design and efficiency of transportation and emergency response systems. His 200-plus publications and collaborations with public transportation agencies have resulted in leadership in the Team-TN initiative and contributions to smart city solutions. 

Kathryn Humphreys, associate professor of psychology and human development. Humphreys has made significant theoretical contributions to understanding the effects of caregiving and adversity on children’s development, including their brain development. She has authored an impressive 164 peer-reviewed articles and has been cited 11,505 times.  

Annet Kirabo, associate professor of medicine. Kirabo, a fellow of the American Heart Association, has led efforts in an impactful cardiovascular epidemiology research program.   

Autumn Kujawa, associate professor of psychology and human development. Kujawa is a prominent figure in developmental psychopathology and has made substantial contributions to understanding the emotional processes underlying adolescent depression and mood disorders. She is a recent recipient of the Society for Psychophysiological Research Award for Distinguished Early Career Contributions to Psychophysiology. 

Maithilee Kunda, associate professor of computer science. Kunda is a notable figure in the field of artificial intelligence and cognitive science, focusing on computational models of visual reasoning and understanding human cognition. In 2016 she was named a “visionary” on MIT Technology Review’s global list of 35 innovators under 35. 

Akshya Saxena, assistant professor of English. Saxena is a leading scholar in postcolonial South Asia and Anglophone Global South literary studies. Her recent monograph received the prestigious Modern Language Association first book prize. 

Jennifer Shinall, professor of law. Shinall has conducted pathbreaking and meaningful empirical research on how discrimination laws affect labor market outcomes for women and people with obesity. Her recent scholarship has been published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review—one of the top law reviews in the country. 

Jeffrey Spraggins, associate professor of cell and developmental biology. Spraggins is a prominent researcher specializing in mass spectrometry and imaging mass spectrometry within the burgeoning field of “multi-omics.” He has been awarded 14 major grants totaling $2.5 million annually in direct costs and has published more than 100 papers.  

Wei-Qi Wei, associate professor of biomedical informatics. Wei, a fellow of the American Heart Association, is recognized for his exceptional work in making electronic medical records useful for research, a cornerstone of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s BioVU and Synthetic Derivative assets.  

The Chancellor Faculty Fellows program was launched in September 2014 under the Trans-Institutional Programs initiative to support outstanding faculty who have recently received tenure. This year, Chancellor Faculty Fellow candidates were nominated by their deans or deans’ designees.  

The Chancellor Faculty Fellows Review Committee, comprising past fellows with collaborative oversight by Tracey George, vice provost for faculty affairs and professional education, and Jennifer Pietenpol, chief scientific and strategy officer for VUMC, reviewed all the nominations and made recommendations to Provost Raver. The chancellor made the final selections.