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Haslam Scholars Fall 2015 Friday Faculty Series

Each semester, the Haslam Scholars Program hosts two lecture series: Friday Faculty and Global Awareness. The Friday Faculty series features a diverse selection of faculty members from across the university who are asked to present their research or another topic of their choosing. The series exposes students to research across disciplines. This semester’s series features a diverse group of faculty from across the University of Tennessee.

Friday Faculty Series


August 28

Laura Nenzi, History: “Do irrelevant people matter in history?”

Laura Nenzi is the Lindsey Young Professor in the Department of History at UT and specializes in the social history of early modern Japan. She is the author of Excursions in Identity: Travel and the Intersection of Place, Gender, and Status in Edo Japan (University of Hawai’i Press, 2008) and The Chaos and Cosmos of Kurosawa Tokiko: One Woman’s Transit from Tokugawa to Meiji Japan (University of Hawai’i Press, 2015). At UT she teaches History of Japan and World History.


Feller photo 2014September 11

Daniel Feller, History: “Uncovering Andrew Jackson: The President and his Papers”

Daniel Feller is Professor of History and Editor/Director of The Papers of Andrew Jackson at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. His books include The Jacksonian Promise, The Public Lands in Jacksonian Politics, and a new edition of Harriet Martineau’s 1838 American tour narrative, Retrospect of Western Travel. Feller was the lead scholar for the television documentary Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil and the Presidency, and has been featured on the shows History Detectives, Ten Things You Don’t Know About, and Who Do You Think You Are? Feller and his team have published three volumes of The Papers of Andrew Jackson, covering Jackson’s presidency from 1829 through 1831.


lebeisSeptember 18

Sarah Lebeis, Microbiology: “Exercising influence: control of plant-associated microbial communities”

Dr. Lebeis received her undergraduate degree from the Lyman Briggs School at Michigan State University, which is a residential college in the Natural Sciences that strives to bridge the gaps between science and society. For her Ph.D., she attended Emory University in the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Program, where she studied immune responses to intestinal pathogens. She received a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education to teach at Minority Serving Institutions while performing research on plant-associated microbial communities. In February 2014, she joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee in the Microbiology Department. The research performed in her laboratory brings together microbiology, immunology, and metagenomics to further understand microbial communities associated with plants.



September 25

Gale Fulton, Landscape Architecture

Sally Horn fieldwork photoOctober 2

Sally Horn, Geography: “Lake Sediments and Ecosystem History”

Sally Horn, professor of geography, examines global environmental change and human-environment interactions during the Quaternary period of Earth’s history, which began some 2.6 million years ago and includes the Ice Ages of the Pleistocene as well as the warmer Holocene epoch in which we live today. With students and other collaborators, she has studied the impacts of climate change and prehistoric and modern human activity on vegetation and landscapes of the Southeastern US, Central and South America, and the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic regions. Horn helped organize and now directs UT’s Initiative for Quaternary Paleoclimate Research.


duranOctober 9

Robert Duran, Sociology: “How Studying Gangs Taught Me about Police, Community, and Public Health” 

Robert J. Durán, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. He earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Colorado in 2006. His research concerns racism in the post-civil rights era and community resistance, from gang evolution and border surveillance to disproportionate minority contact and officer involved shootings. As an urban ethnographer he has conducted interviews and observations of gangs, and the public response to marginalized groups, in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. Dr. Durán’s 2013 book, Gang Life in Two Cities: An Insider’s Journey was published by Columbia University Press. He is the recipient of the 2010 Hispanic Faculty and Staff Caucus Junior Faculty of the Year Award and the 2011 New Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology Division on People of Color and Crime.


heminwayOctober 30

Joan Heminway, College of Law: “Financing Businesses and Projects Through Crowdfunding”

Joan MacLeod Heminway is the W.P. Toms Distinguished Professor of Law at The University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville and a fellow of the Center for Corporate Governance and the Center for the Study of Social Justice at UT-Knoxville. When she joined the UT College of Law faculty in 2000, Professor Heminway brought nearly 15 years of corporate transactional legal practice experience, having worked in the areas of public offerings, private placements, mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, and restructurings in the Boston office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP since 1985.  Professor Heminway’s scholarship addresses questions in securities disclosure law and policy (especially under Rule 10b-5), corporate governance under federal and state law, and the legal aspects of corporate finance.  Most recently, she has focused principally on the securities and corporate finance aspects of crowdfunding.  She was elected a member of the American Law Institute and is licensed to practice in Tennessee (where she serves on the Executive Committee of the Business Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association) and Massachusetts (inactive).


burghardtNovember 6

Gordon Burghardt, Psychology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology: “The biological importance of a playful life”

Professor Gordon M. Burghardt is Alumni Distinguished Service Professor in the departments of Psychology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. He received his Ph.D. in Biopsychology from the University of Chicago and his research focus has been on comparative studies of behavioral development in species as diverse as turtles, bears, lizards, stingrays, spiders, crocodilians, and, especially, snakes. He has worked on many topics involving snakes including sensory perception, foraging and prey capture, antipredator behavior, sociality, multiple paternity, sexual dimorphism, color and pattern variation, environmental enrichment, learning, molecular genetics, conservation, ethical treatment of animals, and mating systems. He has or is serving as editor or editorial board member of numerous journals including, Ethology, Herpetologica, Herpetological Monographs, Journal of Comparative Psychology, Animal Learning and Behavior, Zoo Biology, Society and Animals, Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, and Evolutionary Psychology. He is a past president of the Animal Behavior Society and Division 6 (Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. He has edited or co-edited 5 books, including The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition (MIT Press, 2002) and authored The Genesis of Animal Play: Testing the Limits (MIT Press, 2005). His current research also involves play in animals and responses of primates and other animals to snakes.


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Charles Sims, Economics: “Crafting policy at the intersection of biology and economics”

Charles Sims is currently a Faculty Fellow at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. He attended the University of Tennessee, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Forest Resource Management and an MS in Forestry, with a minor in Environmental Policy. After spending a year as a Research Associate at the University of Tennessee, he headed west to join the Economics doctoral program at the University of Wyoming. He then spent four years as an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Economics at Utah State University. In his spare time, he enjoys whitewater kayaking, rafting, mountain biking, and snowboarding.


neubenfuhrNovember 20

Andreas Nebenfuhr, Biology: “Transport Problems under the Microscope: Nano-Motors and Long-Distance Travel in Plant Cells”

Nebenführ is a native of Germany where he obtained a MS degree from the University of Freiburg before moving to Oregon State for his doctoral work on the plant hormone auxin. His research subsequently shifted from plant physiology to cell biology during his postdoc in Colorado. He has been on the faculty of the University of Tennessee since 2001, initially in the Botany Department and currently in the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology. Research in his lab focuses on myosin motor proteins, rapid intracellular movements driven by these motors, and developmental effects that these movements have.