News & Noteworthy

Arts & Humanities News

Kirsten Benson, director of the Judith Anderson Herbert Writing Center, received the Paul E. Trentham, Sr. Library Partner Award during the UT Libraries Virtual Spirit Awards Ceremony and Breakfast, which celebrates the accomplishments of the UT Libraries faculty and staff from throughout the year. View More

Ernie Freeberg, professor and head of the Department of History, published A Traitor to His Species: Henry Bergh and the Birth of the Animal Rights Movement, the fascinating story of the eccentric aristocrat who launched a then-shocking campaign to bring rights to animals. Read More

Sara Ritchey, an associate professor in the Department of History, published Gender, Health, and Healing, 1250-1550, which examines both health and healing in Europe and the Mediterranean during the late middle ages and the Renaissance, focusing on the role of gender as a key player in healthcare in these periods. Read More

Faculty in the history department started a series examining the history of protests as part of their response to protests following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Dolly Parton’s America podcast received a prestigious Peabody Award, which recognizes stories notable for their excellence as well as their resonance. Read More

In September, the School of Music launched a Virtual Concert Series, which features performances from SOM faculty and students to serve as a reminder that we’re still moving forward and the power of music is alive and well in the School of Music.

The UT MFA theatre program moved up three spots in the rankings of Master of Fine Arts acting programs, landing at eighth in the Hollywood Reporter’s annual list of top programs. Read More

Natural Sciences News

Jake Alexander, a graduate student in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, received the Warren L. and Florence W. Calvert Memorial Scholarship from the Houston Geological Society. Read More

Jessica Budke, director of the UT Herbarium, is the lead PI on a $3.6 million NSF grant to digitize associated metadata for close to 1.2 million lichen and bryophyte specimens housed in their collections.

Elizabeth Derryberry, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, co-authored “Singing in a Silent Spring,” a study showing how birds reversed a half-century soundscape during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Stephanie Drumheller-Horton is part of a team of researchers who surveyed more than 2,000 dinosaur bones looking for bite marks to support a theory of cannibalism in dinosaurs.

Annette Engel, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, coauthored a study published in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal mSystems. Read More

Nina Fefferman, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, shared some of her research related to COVID-19 at the UT Office of Research and Engagement’s SPARKS event. As a result, she created two new collaborations related to the virus, and one is already working on its first publication. Read More

Sergey Gavrilets, a distinguished professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, received more than $1.1 million in grants from the Army Research Office for study into societal resilience using evolutionary models and theories of revolution. Read More

Geoff Greene, professor of physics, is among the scientists looking to solve the mystery of how long a neutron lives. He explained its importance in a recent US Department of Energy feature, “The Mystery of the Neutron Life.” Professor Greene’s tireless pursuit of understanding the scientific mystery of the neutron earned him the prestigious Bonner Prize from the American Physical Society.

Terry Hazen, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Environmental Biotechnology, is one of 16 honored by the 2021 American Society for Microbiology (ASM), which recently announced recipients of awards in research, education, and leadership. Read More

Tian Hong, assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology, received a grant from the Joint Division of Mathematical Sciences/National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which supports research at the interface of the biological and mathematical sciences. Read More

Susan Kalisz, the College of Arts and Sciences Excellence Professor and head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is a newly elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences class of 2020. Kalisz and former post-doctoral fellow Mason Heberling, now assistant curator of botany at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, received the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) George Mercer Award for a paper published in February 2019.

John Larese, professor in the Department of Chemistry, has been named a 2020 American Chemical Society Fellow. The primary purpose of the ACS Fellows Program is to recognize and honor members of the American Chemical Society for their outstanding achievements in and contributions to the science and the profession and for their equally exemplary service to the Society. Read More

Linh Mac, a graduate student in the Department of Philosophy, received the North American Society for Social Philosophy (NASSP) Graduate Student Award for her essay “The Epistemology of #BelieveWomen.” Read More

Kenneth McFarland, emeritus greenhouse manager and lecturer in the UT Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, recently co-authored a paper in Frontiers in Plant Science titled “Population Genomics and Phylogeography of a Clonal Bryophyte With Spatially Separated Sexes and Extreme Sex Ratios.” Read More

Benjamin Parker, an assistant professor of microbiology, is a member of the 2020 Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences and the first UT faculty member to join the program.

Anna Szynkiewicz, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, collaborated with UT alumna Shelagh Leutwiler (’07) to explore the geological processes involved in the formation of clay minerals on Earth and Mars through The Universe of Clay, a new exhibit at the Mighty Mud Gallery. Read More

Hanno Weitering, professor and head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and colleagues devised a novel superconductor from the ground up. This system is the first example of modifying a conventional semiconductor and creating a superconductor. Read More

Three UT physicists are among the 16 selected nationwide for the American Physical Society (APS) 5 Sigma Physicist Award. The honor recognizes APS members who have been involved with high-impact advocacy activities through the society’s Office of Government Affairs. Read More

Social Sciences News

Derek Alderman, a professor in the Department of Geography, is part of a team of scholars who received the 2020 Zumkehr Prize for Scholarship in Public Memory for their paper, “Following the story: narrative mapping as a mobile method for tracking and interrogating spatial narratives” published in the Journal of Heritage Tourism. Alderman also received funding from a new NEH initiative to help promote a deeper understanding of American history and culture in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the founding of the US.

The American Physiological Society (APS) featured a paper by Helen Baghdoyan, Beaman Professor in the Department of Psychology, and colleagues originally published in the Journal of Neurophysiology. The APS acknowledged all the authors for distinction in scholarship in the Journal of Neurophysiology for their article and showcased the article in their July collection. Read More

Alex Bentley, head of the Department Anthropology, Jon Garthoff, associate professor of philosophy, and Garriy Shteynberg, an associate professor of psychology, published an interdisciplinary paper in the journal Psychological Review titled “Shared worlds and shared minds: A theory of collective learning and a psychology of common knowledge.” Read More

Aaron Buss received a national research grant funded by the New Schools Venture Fund with Richard Prather from the University of Maryland titled “Accurate, precise and useful models of the state learner.” Read More

Kurt Butefish, executive director of the Tennessee Geographic Alliance, received the Outstanding Support for Geography Education award from the National Council for Geographic Education in recognition of his decades-long contributions to supporting geography education and geography educators within the state of Tennessee and across the US. He will formally accept the award in December. Read More

Matt Cooper, professor of neuroscience and behavior, received an NIH R15 grant for a project in which he aims to identify cellular mechanisms and neural circuits that contribute to sex differences in coping responses and stress resilience. Read More

Alisa Garner, a clinical psychology doctoral student who works with Greg Stuart, received a prestigious national three-year F31 National Research Service Award (NRSA) from NIAAA of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support her dissertation research. Read More

Patrick Grzanka, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, published two papers exploring how people’s beliefs about sexual orientation influences their worldviews. Read More

Erin Hardin and her Co-PI Melinda Gibbons received a research grant from the Department of Health and Human Services at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) titled “Imagining Possibilities in Post-Secondary Education and STEMM in Rural Appalachia.” Read More

Solange Muñoz, assistant professor of geography, received the 2020 Higher Education Distinguished Teaching Award from the National Council for Geographic Education. She will be recognized formally by the NCGE community at an awards ceremony at their annual conference in December 2020. Read More

Todd Reynolds, associate professor of microbiology, and Elias Fernandes, associate professor of biochemistry, cellular, and molecular biology, received one of the first Office of Research and Engagement seed funding grants in 2018, which helped them win a $2.5 million NIH award. Read More

This spring, three undergraduate students in the math honors program graduated and were accepted into prestigious graduate programs for fall 2020. Read More