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Research Centers

Among the many academic resources at Vanderbilt are research and policy centers that provide a means to address critical issues while leveraging faculty strengths across traditional departments. These interdisciplinary centers give rise to new courses, encourage new research, bring new programming to campus, and strengthen Vanderbilt’s intellectual community.

Since the world's most pressing problems are not uniquely, for example, “historical,” “political,” or “biological” in nature, why should our search for solutions be confined within the traditional academic departments that bear these names? The College of Arts and Science addresseses critical issues, and at the same time, leverages faculty and student strengths that span many departments and schools, through the creation of interdisciplinary centers. These centers provide resources and a point of focus for faculty with common interests, give rise to new courses, bring new programming to campus, encourage new research, and strengthen Vanderbilt's intellectual community.


The College of Arts and Science supports several interdisciplinary centers:


digital humanities

The Vanderbilt Center for Digital Humanities

Established with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Vanderbilt University Center for Digital Humanities is a source to find learning experiences, project support, and intellectual community for your creative and scholarly explorations of the intersections of digital technology and humanistic inquiry. 

Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience The Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience (CICN)
The CICN supports the quest to comprehend how the brain produces thought and emotion. The purpose of this endeavor is not only to develop more effective treatments for mental and neurological disorders, but also to further our understanding of what it is to be human. CICN researchers focus on three areas: sensory science; development, learning and memory; and clinical neuroscience.

Director: Jeffrey Schall, E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Neuroscience
Phone: (615) 322-0868

Center for Innovative Technology Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
The Center for Innovative Technology offers collaborators an extensive lineup of state-of-the-art mass spectrometry instrumentation to enable numerous types of metabolomic analyses. We support investigators in numerous phases of the analytical pipeline and provide a number of routine and/or advanced services depending on the goals of your individual research projects.

The CIT can measure the complex array of small molecule metabolites present within a fluid, cell, or tissue and can identify reproducible steady state and/or temporal changes associated with disease state or drug administration for context dependent analysis. Afterward, metabolite identifications are assigned based on high mass accuracy measurements, isotope distributions, tandem MS fragmentation patterns, and comparisons with spectral libraries and standards. Consequently, the results can reveal unique biochemical fingerprints of cellular processes specific to each sample. This can be exploited as a discovery-based approach for generating novel hypotheses or used for a better understanding of physiological processes mediated by genetic or environmental perturbations. If needed, new workflows can be established for method development, targeted biomolecule measurement acquisition, and/or metabolite validation.

Director of Research: Stacy D. Sherrod, Research Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Center for Latin American  Studies The Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS)
Estabilished in 1947, the CLAS has since worked to advance knowledge about and understanding of Latin America and Iberia. The Center administers the Latin American Studies undergraduate and Master's programs, as well as a joint Master of Arts and Master of Business program with the Owen Graduate School of Management. CLAS also brings speakers, visiting scholars, and conferences to campus and arranges for Vanderbilt professors to visit local classrooms.

Director: Ted Fischer, Professor of Anthropology
Phone: (615) 322-2527

Center for Medicine, Health, and Society The Center for Medicine, Health, and Society (CMHS)
Established in Spring 2003, the CMHS has more than three hundred affiliates from all nine schools and colleges of the University who share an interest in studying health and health care in their social and cultural contexts. It offers an undergraduate major and minor and sponsors seminars, workshops, lectures, and conferences. Any interested faculty member or student may affiliate with the Center.

Director: Jonathan Metzl, Professor, Sociology
Assistant Director: JuLeigh Petty, Senior Lecturer, Medicine, Health, and Society
Phone: (615) 343-0916

Center for the Study of Democratic Institution The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions (CSDI)
The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions is a research program of Vanderbilt University. The center was created in 2009 to support systematic theoretical and empirical research on questions central to the survival and flourishing of democratic institutions in the United States and abroad. The center is home to scholars working on such important topics as: campaigns and elections, legislatures, chief executives, courts, public opinion, government performance, and international institutions. The Center also supports the production of research and public commentary on the connection between democratic values and actual practice.

Co-Directors: Professors Larry Bartels, Joshua Clinton, John Geer, David Lewis, and Alan Wiseman
Contact: Jayne Cornwell, Program Coordinator
Phone: (615) 875-6954

Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy
Established in 2003, the Curb Center is the first university-based policy program to fully engage the American cultural policy system. Drawing upon the unique resources of a great university, the Curb Center will supports research and programmiong that address the five primary sources of cultural policy in the United States. These include: the decisions of individual actors in the arts industries; corporate practice; trade agreements and regulatory agencies; the passions and objectives of private arts patrons and NGOs; and intellectual property law.

Director: Jay Clayton, William R. Kenan Professor of English
Phone: (615) 322-2872

The Latin American Public Opinion Project The Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) came to Vanderbilt with its director, Mitchell Seligson, after 18 years at the University of Pittsburgh, where he held an endowed chair and founded LAPOP. Seligson, who joined the faculty in 2004, is Centennial Professor of Political Science and Professor of Sociology. Since the 1970s, Seligson, his colleagues and students have systematically surveyed the citizens of Latin America on their political views—specifically on democratic values and their behaviors related to democracy. These surveys and the studies that have emerged from them have sought to determine the extent to which women may be excluded from political participation, the effect of education on tolerance for the rights of minorities, and the effects of government corruption on citizens. The project has regularly published in-depth analyses of the data collected in Spanish-language monographs in countries throughout Latin America. These are all available for free downloading on the LAPOP web site.

Director: Mitchell A. Seligson, Centennial Professor of Political Science; Founder and Director of the Latin American Public Opinion Project; Professor of Sociology (by courtesy)
Phone: (615) 322-6238

Noncommunicative Geometry Noncommutative Geometry and Operator Algebras
The research group consists of faculty members, postdocs, visitors and graduate students with scientific interests in noncommutative geometry, the theory of subfactors, von Neumann algebras, K-theory of operator algebras, operator theory, coarse geometry, index theory, analysis on manifolds, controlled topology, stratified spaces, harmonic analysis, quantum computing and quantum information theory. The group organizes a yearly school and international conference on noncommutative geometry and operator algebras. Each year a particular topic will be emphasized and the school will feature several mini-courses by leading experts.

Robert Penn Warren Center The Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities
The Warren Center began its programs in 1988 under the auspices of the College of Arts and Science, and with the help of many generous supporters. Since then, the Warren Center has served as a place where faculty and students from the humanities, social sciences and, when appropriate, the natural sciences gather to share ideas and teach one another. The Warren Center also engages in outreach to the community by sponsoring teacher training, lectures and seminars, and publications designed to promote the importance of the humanities in today's world.

Director: Professor Edward H. Friedman, Department of Spanish
Executive Director: Mona Frederick
Phone: (615) 343-6060

Vanderbilt Institute for Chemical Biology The Vanderbilt Institute for Chemical Biology
The institute runs research and education programs in the application of chemical technologies to important biological problems. Specifically, the Center's researchers design and develop new chamical agents to assist in the detection and treatment of disease. The Center trains graduate students, recruits new faculty members with needed expertise, and runs a seminar program.

Director: Lawrence J. Marnett, Stahlman Professor for Cancer Research, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Phone: (615) 322-0907, 936-3881
Fax: (615) 936-3884

Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education The Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education
VIIBRE unites physical scientists and engineers from across campus who have interest in working at the interface between the physical sciences and engineering and the biological sciences. VIIBRE researchers focus primarily on research in cellular instrumentation adn control, technology-guided therapy, biological applications of nanosystems and cellular/tissue bioengineering and biotechnology.

Director: John Wikswo, Gordon A. Cain University Professor; Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Molecular Physics, Physics and Biophysics
Deputy Director: Franz Baudenbacher, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Physics
Phone: (615) 343-4124

Vanderbilt Institute for Nanoscale Science and Engineering The Vanderbilt Institute for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE)
VINSE is comprised of 54 faculty members from the College of Arts and Science, the School of Engineering, and the School of Medicine. Created in 2001 with Academic Venture Capital Fund support from Vanderbilt’s endowment, VINSE hit the ground running by quickly building a small suite of laboratories for nanofabrication and nanocharacterization and working cooperatively with many departments to hire a cadre of nanoscience-oriented faculty. Our primary research areas include nanobio/nanomedicine, nano-energy, nanoscale optics, nano electronics, computational nanoscience, and new nanoscale materials. We have built graduate, undergraduate, and outreach educational programs while growing our faculty and adding additional experimental capabilities. VINSE faculty now span 13 academic departments; our graduate educational arm is the Interdisciplinary Program in Materials Science; our undergraduate program is the Minor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology; we organize classroom visitation and on-site High School Field Trip outreach programs; and we are building an expanded suite of core facilities in the new Engineering and Science Building. Every single day, VINSE faculty, staff and students stretch the boundaries of nanoscience to advance our research, education, and outreach missions while fully embracing Vanderbilt University’s values of equality, collegiality, compassion and excellence in all endeavors.

Director: Sandra Rosenthal, Jack and Pamela Egan Chair in Chemistry
Deputy Director: Sharon Weiss, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Engineering

The Vanderbilt Institute for Research on Men's Health The Center for Research on Men's Health (CRMH)
The Center for Research on Men’s Health is the first university-wide center in the US that focuses on men’s health and health equity by understanding and addressing biological, psychological and social factors that influence men’s health. The directors of the center recently edited and contributed to Men’s Health Equity: A Handbook (1st ed.) (2019) that describes this area of research in detail and this team leads the Tennessee Men’s Health Report Card. The Vanderbilt Center for Research on Men’s Health team has expertise in the following five areas: (a) research approaches and methods (i.e., precision lifestyle medicine, tailoring health communications, community-based research, social epidemiology, qualitative methods); (b) research training and mentoring for students, fellows and faculty (e.g., undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral fellows, medical students, faculty); (c) the conceptualization and measurement of biopsychosocial determinants of health and health behaviors (e.g., masculinity, manhood, faith, stress, racism, race, ethnicity, social class, economic status); (d) health conditions (i.e., overweight and obesity) and diseases (e.g., cancer, heart disease and kidney disease); (e) populations in the US (i.e., African American males, Latino males) and across the globe (e.g., Australia, Ireland, New Zealand).

Founder and Director: Derek M. Griffith, Professor of Medicine Health and Society
Associate Director: Marino A. Bruce, Ph.D, M.S.R.C., M. Div
Department Business Officer: Sydika A. McKissic, Ph.D.



» A complete list of Vanderbilt University's Centers and Institutes