2015 Chancellor Faculty Fellows

Biographies of 2015 Chancellor Faculty Fellows

Muktar Aliyu, associate professor of health policy

Research Focus: Infectious Disease, Global Health & Maternal and Child Health

Professor Aliyu researches adverse birth outcomes associated with maternal lifestyle-related factors (cigarette smoking, alcohol use, weight gain) and infectious diseases in resource limited settings (HIV/AIDS, malaria). He is a physician epidemiologist and has been involved in HIV/AIDS service and research for over a decade. Specifically, Aliyu examines the optimal approaches to delivering quality HIV/AIDS services in resource-constrained settings.

His 130-plus peer-reviewed articles include work on delayed initiation of antiretroviral therapy, male participation in prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, suboptimal entry into early infant diagnosis, antiretroviral treatment initiation, and pioneering studies on spousal participation in perinatal care in African settings.

Scott Guelcher, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering

Research Focus: Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering / Regenerative Medicine

Professor Guelcher researches the design, synthesis, and characterization of polymeric biomaterials for bone tissue engineering. He collaborates with biomedical scientists and clinicians to design, develop, and scale-up new materials for bone and soft tissue regeneration from the bench to the bedside. Current projects include design of injectable tissue grafts for healing bone and skin in challenging environments, including weight-bearing anatomic sites, defects contaminated by bacteria, and large tissue voids resulting from extremity and craniofacial trauma.

Guelcher is an author on over eighty publications and an inventor on twenty patents and published applications.

Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, associate professor of physics and astronomy

Research Focus: Galaxy Structure & Dynamics, Supermassive Black Holes, Stellar Dynamics

Professor 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 nearly every galaxy.

Her research has been funded by NSF, the Alfred P. Sloan foundation, and NASA. In 2008, Holley-Bockelmann received an NSF CAREER grant, awarded to promising faculty early in their academic careers. Since then, she’s gone on to develop a theoretical model that includes testable predictions and led research that resulted in the discovery of a new class of star.

Peter Kolkay, associate professor of bassoon

Research Focus: Bassoon Composition & Performance

Professor Kolkay actively engages with composers in the creation of new works. He performed the world premiere of Joan Tower’s bassoon concerto, Red Maple, with the South Carolina Philharmonic. Kolkay has premiered solo and chamber works by Judah Adashi, Elliott Carter, Katherine Hoover, Harold Meltzer, Russell Platt, John Fitz Rogers, and Charles Wuorinen. His debut solo CD, titled BassoonMusic, spotlights works by 21st-century American composers.

Kolkay’s recent seasons have included solo recitals at Wolf Trap, Merkin Hall, St. Martin’s Abbey (Wash.), and the Teatro Nacional in Panama City; concerto appearances with the South Carolina, Rochester, and Westchester Philharmonics and Waukesha Symphony.

Borden Lacy, associate professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology

Research Focus: Structural Biology, Pathogenic Bacteria

Professor Lacy’s research focuses on the structure and function of large clostridial cytotoxins, including the two toxins responsible for symptoms in Clostridium difficile infection. Pathogenic bacteria have evolved a diverse array of mechanisms for delivering toxins and other virulence factors into the interior of host cells. Studying the molecular structures of these virulence factors alone and in complex with host receptors, membranes, and inhibitors can lend insight into how these delivery processes occur and how these processes can be exploited or prevented.

The Lacy Laboratory aims to identify new toxin inhibitors using both rational design and high-throughput screening approaches.

Jens Meiler, associate professor of chemistry

Research Focus: Physical Chemistry, Structural & Chemical Biology

Professor 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. The Meiler Lab develops computational methods with three major ambitions in mind: 1) to enable protein structure elucidation of membrane proteins – the primary target of most therapeutics – and large macromolecular complexes such as viruses; 2) design proteins with novel structure and/or function to explore novel approaches to protein therapeutics and deepen our understanding of protein folding pathways; and 3) understand the relation between chemical structure and biological activity quantitatively in order to design more efficient and more specific drugs.

Bunmi Olatunji, associate professor of psychology

Research Focus: Cognitive Behavioral Theory, Assessment, & Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Professor Olatunji researches the role of basic emotions other than fear in the etiology of anxiety pathology. His current research employs basic descriptive and experimental psychopathology methodology to examine the relationship between the experience of disgust and specific anxiety disorder symptoms. Olatunji and the Emotion and Anxiety Research Laboratory aim to advance knowledge of the measurement, development, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety disorders.

Olatunji has published more than 160 journal articles and book chapters and has participated in more than 100 conference presentations.

Andrea Page-McCaw, associate professor of cell and developmental biology

Research Focus: Tissue Remodeling

Professor Page-McCaw examines basic science questions about how tissues are formed and how they are repaired. During embryogenesis, animals develop complex structures, but they often have to modify their morphology to meet the demands of continuing growth or environmental challenge. This is known as tissue remodeling. It is required for animals to heal wounds, and it goes awry during cancer when tumors usurp tissue remodeling functions to promote metastasis. The matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family of extracellular proteases is required for tissue remodeling events throughout the animal kingdom. These proteases are also upregulated in cancer and many inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Understanding how MMPs promote tissue remodeling, both in normal and pathological circumstances, is a central question in her laboratory.

Kristopher Preacher, associate professor of quantitative methods

Research Focus: Quantitative Methods

Professor Preacher’s research concerns the use (and combination) of structural equation modeling and multilevel modeling to model correlational and longitudinal data. Other interests include developing techniques to test mediation and moderation hypotheses, bridging the gap between substantive theory and statistical practice, and studying model evaluation and model selection in the application of multivariate methods to social science questions.

Preacher serves on the editorial boards of Psychological Methods, Multivariate Behavioral Research, Behavior Research Methods, Communication Methods and Measures, and Journal of Educational & Behavioral Statistics.

Bernard Rousseau, associate professor of otolaryngology

Research Focus: Benign Vocal Fold Disease

Professor Rousseau’s research focuses on the molecular pathophysiology of phonotrauma, health care costs, and outcome studies related to the assessment and management of benign vocal fold disease. Rousseau directs the Laryngeal Biology Laboratory, and this lab investigates the pre-clinical testing of the safety and efficacy of treatments for voice disorders and the development of a patient-specific surgical planning tool for laryngoplasty.

Rousseau is a past-recipient of the ALA Young Faculty/Practitioner Award for contributions in research and the David W. Brewer Research Award from the Voice Foundation. He has mentored more than 50 research trainees.

Sean Seymore, professor of law

Research Focus: Patent Law, Law & Science

Professor Seymore’s research focuses on 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. Seymore is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

As an active member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), he served on the executive committee for the Division of Chemistry and the Law from 2009 to 2012, on the Committee on Patents and Related Matters from 2006-07 and on the Younger Chemists Committee from 2002 to 2006. In spring 2012, Seymore was appointed to the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Associate Professor.

Daniel Sharfstein, professor of law

Research Focus: American Legal History, Race & the Law, Property Law

Professor 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, Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard and the Nez Perce War (W.W. Norton & Company, 2017). His book, The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White (Penguin Press, 2011), won the 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for excellence in non-fiction as well as the Law & Society Association’s 2012 James Willard Hurst Jr. Prize for socio-legal history, the William Nelson Cromwell Book Prize from the American Society for Legal History, and the Chancellor’s Award for Research from Vanderbilt.

Rachel Teukolsky, associate professor of English

Research Focus: Aesthetics, Art Writing, and Media History in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Professor Teukolsky’s research focuses on aesthetics, art writing, and media history in nineteenth-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. The book examines the large and influential archive of Victorian “art writing,” or essays and criticism addressed to the visual arts.

Her current project also bridges the disciplines of literary and visual studies. Its provisional title is Picture World: The Aesthetic Life of Images in Britain’s Machine Age. The book analyzes the ways that new forms of visual culture worked to shape key Victorian aesthetic concepts.

Sharon Weiss, associate professor of electrical engineering

Research Focus: Light-Matter Interaction, Silicon Photonics, Porous Silicon Biosensors, Nanotechnology, Nanocomposite Materials

Professor Weiss’ research is in the areas of nano-photonics, nanomaterials, and light-matter interaction. Her particular interests include: silicon photonic and porous silicon biosensors, silicon photonic and opto-electronic building blocks for optical communication, and hybrid and nanocomposite material systems. The Weiss Group’s current research projects include: porous silicon biosensors, optomechanics, radiation effects, and porous silicon nanoparticles for drug delivery, and others.

Weiss has published more than 80 refereed journal articles and book chapters, has participated in more than 50 conference proceedings, and has participated in more than 140 invited and other talks.