February 12, 2015

Inaugural Chancellor Faculty Fellows named

Fifteen faculty members hailing from a diverse cross section of disciplines have been selected as the first cohort of the Chancellor’s Faculty Fellows program.

Fifteen faculty members hailing from a diverse cross section of disciplines have been selected as the first cohort of the Chancellor Faculty Fellows program.

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos (Vanderbilt University)

“The strong commitment to education, discovery and care demonstrated by these faculty members is having an enormous impact on Vanderbilt and its mission of serving society,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “Already proven leaders and innovators in their fields, we have chosen to further invest in them at this critical point in their careers to ensure they have ample resources and opportunities to build their own body of work and to serve as outstanding mentors to postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and undergraduates.”

The inaugural class has representation from across the humanities, social sciences, natural and physical sciences, and the clinical sciences as well as engineering, law and music.

“These faculty members are distinguished by their excellence and scholarship,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan Wente said. “I am tremendously proud of their accomplishments and look forward to continuing to support their career growth at Vanderbilt. They are key to bringing to reality the goals and aspirations that are outlined in the Academic Strategic Plan.”

The faculty members will hold the title of Chancellor Faculty Fellow for two years and be supported by an unrestricted allocation of $40,000 a year for two fiscal years to begin July 1, 2015. The funds can be used to support innovative research, scholarship and creative expression activities that will further propel the career of the awardee.

The Chancellor Faculty Fellows will also meet as a group during the course of their awards to foster exchange of research interests and build a broader intellectual community that advances trans-institutional scholarship.

“We are truly excited about this new program. It sends a strong message regarding our commitment to continued investments in faculty members throughout their careers, while enriching our community of One Vanderbilt scholars,” Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Jeff Balser said.

The Chancellor Faculty Fellows Program was launched in September 2014 to support outstanding faculty who have recently received tenure. The TIPs Council, which is co-chaired by Vice Provost for Academic and Strategic Affairs John Geer and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Larry Marnett, reviewed and made final recommendations on the more than 60 applications received.

The 2015 Chancellor Faculty Fellows are:

 Muktar Aliyu, associate professor of health policy and associate professor of medicine. Aliyu studies adverse birth outcomes associated with maternal lifestyle-related factors (cigarette smoking, alcohol use, weight gain) and with infectious diseases in resource-limited settings (HIV/AIDS, malaria).

Stella Flores, associate professor of public policy and higher education and associate professor of sociology, employs large-scale databases and quantitative methods to investigate the impact of state and federal policies on college access and completion for low-income and underrepresented populations.

Scott Guelcher, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and associate professor of biomedical engineering. Guelcher researches the design, synthesis and characterization of polymeric biomaterials for bone tissue engineering.

Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, associate professor of physics and astronomy. In her research, Holley-Bockelmann uses supercomputers to explore the dynamics of supermassive black holes, exotic astronomical objects with the mass of millions of stars, which dominate the cores of many galaxies.

Peter Kolkay, associate professor of bassoon. Called “stunningly virtuosic” by The New York Times and “superb” by the The Washington Post, Kolkay actively engages with composers in the creation of new works. He is premiering a new work for solo bassoon by Gordon Beeferman in February 2015.

Borden Lacy, associate professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology and associate professor of biochemistry. Lacy’s laboratory is interested in understanding the mechanisms by which bacterial protein toxins contribute to pathogenesis using a combination of structural, biochemical and cell-based functional methods.

Jens Meiler, associate professor of chemistry and associate professor of pharmacology. Meiler’s research seeks to fuse computational and experimental efforts to investigate proteins, the fundamental molecules of biology, and their interactions with small molecule substrates, therapeutics or probes.

Bunmi Olatunji, associate professor of psychology and associate professor of psychiatry. Olatunji’s primary research interest lies in cognitive behavioral theory, assessment, and therapy for anxiety disorders, with a particular interest in the role of basic emotions other than fear in the etiology of anxiety pathology.

Andrea Page-McCaw, associate professor of cell and developmental biology and associate professor of cancer biology. Page-McCaw’s research examines basic science questions about how tissues are formed and how they are remodeled with a focus on the interactions between epithelia and their neighboring extracellular matrix, the basement membrane.

Kristopher Preacher, associate professor of quantitative methods, associate chair of psychology and human development. Preacher is a quantitative psychologist working to develop statistical methodologies used to study mediator variables – these are the mechanisms or vehicles through which a cause/effect relation occurs. He also studies model fitting, which involves developing statistical procedures whereby investigators can see if data collected does indeed fit their theoretical models.

Bernard Rousseau, associate professor of otolaryngology, associate professor of hearing and speech sciences and associate professor of mechanical engineering. Rousseau’s research focuses on the molecular pathophysiology of acute phonotrauma. His clinical interests include the study of voice and voice disorders.

Sean Seymore, professor of law. Seymore studies how patent law should evolve in response to scientific advances and how the intersection of law and science should influence the formulation of public policy.


Daniel Sharfstein, professor of law. Sharfstein’s scholarship focuses on the legal history of race in the United States. He received a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship to support his work on a book-length exploration of post Reconstruction America.

Rachel Teukolsky, associate professor of English. Teukolsky’s research focuses on aesthetics, art writing and media history in 19th-century Britain. She is the author of The Literate Eye: Victorian Art Writing and Modernist Aesthetics (Oxford, 2009), awarded the Sonya Rudikoff Prize by the Northeast Victorian Studies Association in 2010.

Sharon Weiss, associate professor of electrical engineering and associate professor of physics. Weiss’ research involves photonics, optoelectronics, nanoscience and technology, and optical properties of materials.