January 21, 2016

Fourteen faculty members selected as 2016 Chancellor Faculty Fellows

Fourteen outstanding faculty members from across the university have been named to the 2016 class of Chancellor Faculty Fellows. The class comprises highly accomplished, recently tenured faculty from the humanities, social sciences, life and physical sciences, and clinical sciences, as well as business, education and engineering.

Fourteen outstanding faculty members from across the university have been named to the 2016 class of Chancellor Faculty Fellows. The class comprises highly accomplished, recently tenured faculty from the humanities, social sciences, life and physical sciences, and clinical sciences, as well as business, education and engineering.

“This class of fellows represents the remarkable breadth and depth of talent we have in our newly tenured faculty,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “Our investment in these faculty at this critical time in their careers not only supports their growth as scholars, educators and mentors, but also supports the university’s continued growth and success in fostering interdisciplinary research and collaboration. [rquote]These extraordinary faculty members exemplify our academic mission, and our investment in them is an investment in Vanderbilt’s future.”[/rquote]

The faculty members will hold the title of Chancellor Faculty Fellow for two years and will be supported by an unrestricted allocation of $40,000 a year for two fiscal years beginning July 1. 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 exchange ideas on teaching and research, building a broader intellectual community that advances trans-institutional scholarship.

“This program is a critical part of the trans-institutional programs pillar of the Academic Strategic Plan, and I’m excited to see it entering its second year,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan Wente said. “These faculty members bring to the university, and will bring to their time together as a group, a rich diversity of perspectives, research, experience and teaching. Their selection and recognition as Chancellor Faculty Fellows further supports our One Vanderbilt community of scholars.”

The Chancellor Faculty Fellows Program was launched in September 2014 under the Trans-Institutional Programs, or TIPs, initiative to support outstanding faculty who have recently received tenure. Candidates are nominated by their deans. 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 30 nominations received for the 2016 class.

“The Chancellor Faculty Fellows program represents Vanderbilt at its best—creating opportunities for emerging scientific leaders to come together from diverse disciplines across our campus to share knowledge and identify new avenues for collaboration,” Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine Jeff Balser said. “Innovative programs such as this differentiate Vanderbilt from its peers and enable us to continue to recruit outstanding scholars to our university and medical center.”

The 2016 Chancellor Faculty Fellows are:

Wenbiao Chen, associate professor molecular physiology and biophysics. Chen’s research combines genetic, pharmacological, and imaging techniques using zebrafish to identify and understand the molecular mechanisms that lead to the high levels of blood glucose that characterize type 2 diabetes.

Derek Griffith, associate professor of medicine, health and society. Griffith focuses on identifying and addressing psychosocial, cultural and environmental determinants of African American men’s health and well-being, often using a community-based participatory research approach.

Kelly Haws, associate professor of management. Haws studies consumer behavior, with a focus on issues related to consumer welfare and an emphasis on food decision making and health-related issues and the underlying decision- making processes involved.

Julián Hillyer, associate professor of biological sciences. Hillyer’s research uses state-of-the-art imaging and molecular methodologies to gain a better understanding of mosquito immunology in physiological and organismal contexts with the aim of contributing to the development of novel pest and disease control strategies.

Irina Kaverina, associate professor of cell and developmental biology. Kaverina studies the intracellular cytoskeletal microtubule network and its regulation and function in physiology and disease.

Christopher Loss, associate professor of public policy and higher education. Loss specializes in 20th-century American history with an emphasis on the social, political and policy history of American higher education.

Brad Malin, associate professor of biomedical informatics and associate professor of computer science. Malin is an expert in electronic and health information privacy and uses biomedical informatics, databases, data mining, data privacy, information retrieval, network analysis, technology and policy in his work.

Catherine Molineux, associate professor of history. Molineux is a historian of culture in the early modern British Atlantic world, with a focus on race, slavery and empire from the late-17th to the early-19th centuries.

Kevin Niswender, associate professor of medicine. Niswender studies the neuroendocrine regulation of feeding and pathogenesis of obesity and makes extensive use of the full translational spectrum of model systems ranging from cell culture and animal models to human investigation in his work.

Caglar Oskay, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate professor of mechanical engineering. Oskay’s primary research focus is on multi-scale computational modeling and simulation of material and structure systems subjected to extreme environments and loading conditions.

Betsey Robinson, associate professor of history of art, associate professor of anthropology and associate professor of classics. Robinson’s primary interests include Greek and Roman architecture and art, ancient cities and sanctuaries, and landscapes—actual, imagined and as represented in ancient art and literature.

Robert Webster, associate professor of mechanical engineering, associate professor of electrical engineering, associate professor of otolaryngology, associate professor of neurological surgery and associate professor of urologic surgery. Webster’s research interests are in surgical robotics in particular and more generally in applying scientific and engineering tools to enhance all aspects of medicine.

Steve Wernke, associate professor of anthropology. Wernke studies local experiences of imperialism and colonialism on both sides of the Spanish invasion of the Andes—especially how new kinds of communities, landscapes and religious practice emerged out of attempts by the Inkas and the Spanish to subordinate and remake Andean societies in the image of their colonial ideals.

Christopher Williams, associate professor of medicine. Williams’ research focuses on understanding how the epithelium responds to injury and how normal injury response processes are subverted in the development of malignancy, with an emphasis on diseases of the colon.