Experts Guide

Midterm and Gubernatorial Elections

Anthony NownesAnthony Nownes is a professor of political science whose research looks at lobbyists and interest groups within the United States at the local, state, and national levels. He can discuss the Tennessee gubernatorial race. Read more

Katie Cahill, associate director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and director of the Leadership and Governance Program, can discuss voter registration and voter turnout.


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.


Gary McCracken researches population biology, molecular ecology, animal behavior, conservation biology, and the ecology of infectious diseases. He focuses on bats, insects, and fungal and viral pathogens. 

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Michael BerryMichael Berry serves as the director of the Center for Intelligent Systems and Machine Learning, whose focus is on developing programs and platforms capable of reacting to their environment and learning. He is an authority in data mining, the process of finding patterns and conclusions in seemingly otherwise innocuous data, often for use in business.

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.

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” Irickis 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.

Hurricane Season

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway. Last year, Hurricane Harvey slammed southern Texas and caused widespread flooding in Houston, and Hurricane Maria became the 10th most intense hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin when it devastated Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean.

Kelsey EllisKelsey Ellis is a physical geographer specializing in meteorology and climatology. Her research focuses mainly on extreme and hazardous weather, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and extreme temperatures and precipitation. Read more.

Jon HathawayJon Hathaway, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, is a nationally recognized expert in flooding, storm water runoff, and other water-related disasters in urban areas. Topics he can discuss include what measures can be taken to control/mitigate flooding; health concerns in the wake of such events; storm effects on infrastructure; how urban design worsens flooding; why dams release water in the middle of floods; what can be expected when the waters clear; and ideas for how to prevent such issues in the future.

Hathaway has worked with national, state, and local government agencies in flood-related projects, and has been honored by the National Science Foundation for his work.

Contact David Goddard at 865-974-0683 or to arrange an interview with Hathaway.

Matthew MurrayGasoline prices rise as supply chains often are disrupted after storms. Matthew Murray, director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and associate director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, is an expert in fuel costs and taxes. Read more.

Ted StankTed Stank, professor of supply chain management and Harry J. and Vivienne R. Bruce Chair of Excellence in Business, is an internationally recognized expert in supply chain strategy, including risk management. Topics he can discuss include what measures can be taken to manage food, water and electrical disruptions caused by natural disasters; how companies structure their supply chains to make sure natural disasters do not cause supply shortages in unaffected areas; and how FEMA and other aid agencies determine the areas in greatest need of basic supplies like food, clean clothing, etc.

Stank has worked with companies like Lowes, Walgreens and Walmart, who are frequently asked to participate in disaster relief, as well as more than 60 others, including the U.S. Marine Corps, on preparing for and preventing supply chain disruptions. Read more.


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