Experts Guide

Regional Earthquakes

A series of earthquakes and aftershocks in the region have raised alarm and prompted questions about the frequency of seismic activity in East Tennessee.

Robert HatcherRobert Hatcher is a distinguished scientist and professor of tectonics and structural geology. He is an expert on Tennessee and Appalachian geology and the East Tennessee seismic zone.

Tennessee Economic Report

On the heels of very strong growth in 2018, experts project that Tennessee and the US will see sustained economic growth in 2019 with the potential that growth could slow as the economy confronts tightening labor markets and rising interest rates.

Matthew MurrayMatt Murray, associate director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, oversaw the 2019 Economic Report to the Governor, which was released this week. He can speak on forecasting the Tennessee and national economies, the labor market, and international trade and tariffs.

Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

Even the best intentions are put to the test during the holiday season. Parties with family, friends, and co-workers offer up an abundance of winter treats and a handful of opportunities to let nutrition slide to the back of your mind.

Does the holiday season have you anxious about living healthy amid all the temptation? Lee Murphy, senior lecturer in the Department of Nutrition, shares helpful advice for how you can make healthy choices this month.

Climate Change

With conversations around climate change policy and research continuing to make national and international news, faculty in the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Social Work have been lending their expertise to that dialogue.

David Anderson, a professor in the Department of Anthropology whose co-authored study on sea-level rise was reference in the federal climate change assessment, can talk about most international efforts to limit the impact of climate change.

Lisa Reyes MasonLisa Reyes Mason, assistant professor and director of the College of Social Work PhD program, co-authored a commentary for Nature Climate Change on the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to climate research. Mason’s work focuses on how the impacts of climate change affect vulnerable populations.

Joshua S. Fu is the John D. Tickle Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an inaugural professor in the UT-ORNL Bredesen Center. Fu’s research area includes climatic changes and he was part of the team working to support the National Climate Assessment in 2012 for the White House and Department of Energy.


Mary HeldMary Held, assistant professor in the College of Social Work, studies Latino immigrant health and well-being, driven by her practice experience with youth in Central America and her clinical practice with Latino immigrants in Texas. She is invested in increasing knowledge related to the hardships endured throughout the immigration process and how to better address the impact of these hardships. Her expertise areas include exposure to immigration-related stressors and trauma; health and well-being among Latino immigrants; and mental health service provision for vulnerable populations.

Flu Season

The Centers for Disease Control has issued a recommendation urging people to vaccinate early against the flu ahead of the 2018-19 flu season. This year is also the first time several years that the CDC has approved the use of the nasal mist vaccine as effective.

Carole MyersCarole Myers‘s research focuses on policymaking and health services with an emphasis on public health programs, access to services, disparities, and program evaluation.

Opioid Epidemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that more than 63,600 people died from drug overdoses in 2016; more than two-thirds of those were due to opioids. It was the worst year on record — and even more families lost loved ones to opioids in 2017, according to STAT News.

Shandra Forrest-BankShandra Forrest-Bank, assistant professor of social work, has expertise in the transition to adulthood, risk and resilience, and positive youth development. Her main focus is understanding how poverty and racism are factors impacting young adult trajectories. Read more.

Aaron BrownAaron Brown, a PhD student in the College of Social Work, is studying opioid addiction and relapse prevention. He has worked as a residential tech at a group home, then as a case manager, and later as a counselor and LCSW. His clinical practice was focused on the treatment of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and substance use disorders. Read more.

David PattersonDavid Patterson, Cooper-Herron Endowed Professor in Mental Health Research and Practice, is the director of the College of Social Work’s DSW program.  He has developed curriculum related to evidence-based substance abuse treatment and is the principle investigator for HUD’s Knox Region’s Homeless Management Information System. Read more

Sustainable Transportation

Candace Brakewood focuses on “smart” transportation systems and aims to use new information and communication technologies to improve urban transportation networks. Her expertise includes public transportation, shared mobility, transportation planning, and intelligent transportation systems.

Chris CherryChris Cherry is an expert in environmentally friendly modes of transportation including e-bikes. His expertise includes transportation planning, public transportation systems, environmental impacts of transportation, and transportation infrastructure in developing countries.

David ClarkeDavid Clarke, director of the Center for Transportation Research, is focused on railways, transportation planning, freight systems, and transportation safety. Clarke says that when we think about sustainable transportation, we can look to railways for a path forward.

Thomas K. DavisThomas K. Davis‘s primary interest is in addressing problems and opportunities in urban and architectural design, with an emphasis on transit-oriented development. Davis’s students are working with the Nashville Civic Design Center to contribute to Nashville’s long-range vision for urban core and mixed-use developments along the waterfront to transit-oriented developments, micro-housing residences, and a new visitor center for Centennial Park.

David Greene‘s research interests are focused on energy use in transportation and policies to reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and achieving a transition to sustainable energy sources. He has published extensively on automotive fuel economy. How technology and policy can accomplish a transition to sustainable energy for transportation is a current focus of his research and modeling. Other research interests include the costs to the US economy of petroleum dependence, the “rebound effect” of increased vehicle use due to increased fuel economy, and modeling consumers’ choices of vehicles and fuels.

Lee HanLee Han is one of the leading authorities on traffic in the United States. He has been called on for his expertise in everything from the impact of red light cameras to developing transportation plans. He uses modeling and simulations to study the impact of various factors on traffic grids and is instrumental in bringing new technologies into traffic planning and use. He is partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and works on developing intelligent transportation systems.

David "Butch" IrickDavid “Butch” Irick is faculty sponsor of the university’s EcoCar program. His areas of focus include emissions and performance testing for automobiles, hybrid vehicle design and integration, alternative fuel development and use, and computer integrated manufacturing.

Jonathan Overly is a research associate in the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment and executive director of East Tennessee Clean Fuels. He has been in the advanced fuels and vehicles industry since 1997, and in 2001, he founded the nonprofit East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, a designated partner in the US DOE Clean Cities program.