March 5, 2018
Vanderbilt University

On 10th anniversary, Zeppos reflects on progress, creating a more civil society

Since Nicholas S. Zeppos became Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor on March 1, 2008, all of the major initiatives he’s launched during his tenure address two broad priorities: enhancing access to educational opportunities and fueling discovery across academic disciplines. From launching Opportunity Vanderbilt and creating a more diverse, inclusive campus, to expanding support of faculty research and leading efforts to restructure the university’s financial relationship with the Medical Center, everything Zeppos has accomplished traces back to these twin pillars of opportunity and discovery. MORE

Undergraduate Immersion in Nanotechnology: Working in the VINSE Cleanroom

[W]ith support from a Vanderbilt-sponsored Trans-Institutional Programs (TIPs) award, [and additional funding from the National Science Foundation] the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE) cleanroom has opened its doors to undergraduate and graduate courses. By making cutting-edge nanoscience facilities accessible, VINSE enables students to develop a deeper understanding of the science behind most modern technologies and can train the next generation of highly-skilled scientists and engineers. Last fall, TIPs funding allowed the VINSE cleanroom to support laboratories for four courses, covering a broad range of topics spanning traditional semiconductor materials processing to cutting-edge synthesis of two-dimensional materials. MORE

Spinach protein and blackberry dye give juice to biohybrid solar cells

Berries really do pack extra punch – increasing the voltage of spinach-derived biohybrid solar cells developed by Vanderbilt researchers by up to a factor of 20. The interdisciplinary team [led by Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Kane Jennings and Professor of Chemistry David Cliffel] discovered that combining a natural dye from blackberries with photosynthetic proteins extracted from spinach leaves creates a device that can produce vastly more voltage than a solar cell made from spinach protein alone. Biohybrid solar cells that incorporate natural materials can become a cost-effective source of electricity if their photovoltage potential is increased. The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation. MORE

Driving the Response to Climate Change

Michael Vandenbergh directs the Climate Change Research Network, a university research initiative affiliated with the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment. VIEE sponsors interdisciplinary research projects that link the social and behavioral sciences with the physical sciences, engineering, law and policy. A former chief of staff for the EPA, Vandenbergh eschews emotional pleas for protecting the planet, favoring a more pragmatic approach. Much of his research aims to bridge gaps between tree huggers and gas guzzlers by focusing on how to motivate the private sector and households to achieve sustainability. The research network he has directed for almost a decade now has sponsored four postdoctoral fellows who are experts in environmental social psychology, and it includes members from Vanderbilt’s departments of earth and environmental sciences, political science, sociology and economics, and the schools of engineering, business and nursing.

Vanderbilt experts showcase research at second transit forum

[S]tudents, faculty, staff and community members attended the second transit forum presented by Vanderbilt this semester [and] featured a panel of Vanderbilt professors sharing research that brought further context to Nashville’s proposed transit plan. The event was hosted by Vanderbilt’s Office of Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations in the Division of Public Affairs and the Vanderbilt Center for Transportation and Operational Resiliency (VECTOR). The next forum in the series is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. March 13 at the Student Life Center. MORE

Creativity, curiosity, community on display during E-Week 2018

New events, student organizations, and challenges highlighted E-Week 2018, a lineup designed to spark interest in engineering and remind students what got them excited about studying engineering in the first place. The Engineering Council, which pulls the week together each year, [included events this year such as] daily scavenger hunts with prizes on Snapchat, . . . the Destructathon, a classic in which laptops are dismantled for recycling, . . . bubble soccer, drop-by gaming, egg drop contest, and a paper airplane contest. Participation in each event earned students points for their major in the race to the big prize – The Engineering Cup. This year, computer science won by a slim margin. MORE
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