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Faculty Fellows


Curb Research Fellow

Director, Music Cognition Lab
Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery

Dr. Gordon is the Principal Investigator for two NIH and one NSF grants, including the prestigious NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. She  and a career development award, and co-founded the Program for Music, Mind & Science at Vanderbilt. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has designated the Program for Music, Mind and Society at Vanderbilt as a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab for its focus on the arts, health and socio-emotional well-being in families of children with and without autism spectrum disorder.

She is also the director of the Music Cognition Lab, which has offices and research observation space at the center. The lab is focused on the relationship between music, language, and social development. Lab members come from diverse areas across campus, including neuroscience, psychology, education, audiology, speech-language pathology, medicine, music, and engineering.  They employ a variety of behavioral and physiological methods, including electroencephalography, eye-tracking, speech analysis, neuroimaging, genetics, behavioral coding, and various standardized and experimental assessment measures in their work.


Curb Research Fellow
Assistant Professor of the Practice

Jyoti Gupta (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University. She is an interdisciplinary researcher with interests that intersect urban and community studies, community power and collective action, agency and subjectivity. She examines participatory processes and the opportunities they afford or foreclose for individuals to become public people and collectives to shape the conditions that affect their lives. Her most recent projects examine community organizing practices, the development of grassroots leaders, and community power as a vehicle for transforming inequities.

Since 2016, she has been exploring municipal arts and cultural initiatives to center racial and cultural equity, as well as analyzing Nashville’s broader public and private efforts to integrate arts and culture into urban development strategies. Jyoti earned her PhD in Community Research and Action from Vanderbilt University, an MPH concentrating in Urbanism and the Built Environment from Columbia University, and a BA in Sociology & Anthropology and Theater from Swarthmore College.


Curb Research Fellow
Associate Professor of the Practice

Jana Harper is an interdisciplinary artist whose work investigates truth, trauma, and human acts of meaning-making through a variety of visual media. As a former letterpress printer, language is a key material in her practice and she often transforms personal or historical data through gestures of repetition, memorization, performance, and ephemerality.

Harper is a 2023/2024 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow and in 2023 she was in the inaugural Tennessee Triennial. In 2022 she was on Creative Capital’s shortlist and attended residencies at Good Hart and the Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation.

Recent performances include Not the First, Nor the Last, at the IMAS Museum, This Holding: Traces of Contact, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, When We Gather, supported by Creative Time, and Cargas, the closing event for Intermittent Rivers at the 13th Havana Biennial. Harper’s work is held in several public collections including the Library of Congress, the Sackner Archive for Visual and Concrete Poetry, the J.S. Blanton Museum, and the Janet Turner Print Collection.

An enrolled member of the Mackinac Bands of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians, Harper is Associate Professor of the Practice at Vanderbilt University.


Curb Research Fellow
Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology

Director, Music Cognition Lab

Dr. Lense joined the Curb Center as a research fellow in 2016. She completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral training at the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Lense leads the Music, Social Engagement, and Development (M-SED) workgroup at the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab.  Her research and clinical work focuses on infants, children, and adults with or at-risk for developmental disabilities, with a particular emphasis on autism spectrum disorder and Williams syndrome.  Her lab explores  the development of rhythmic entertainment in the first years of life, relationships between rhythm and social communication/engagement, musical engagement experiences in individuals with and without developmental disorders, and relationships between music and sensory processing.

In addition, Dr. Lense serves as the Principal Investigator for National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) grant where her group is exploring how infants and young children respond to the ways parents sing or talk to them. In particular, they will consider infants who are at a higher risk of developing autism because they have an older sibling on the spectrum.