Engineering Invited Lecture Series

The School of Engineering hosts several series of invited lectures featuring distinguished speakers on a variety of topics across engineering and related fields. The lectures are intended to appeal to a diverse audience within engineering, across the university, and beyond.

Invited speakers range from distinguished professors such as National Academy of Engineering members to emerging young researchers to successful technology entrepreneurs.

These series include the John R. and Donna S. Hall Engineering Lecture Series, Chambers Family Entrepreneurial Lectureship, Schmidt Family Annual Digital Technologies Lectureship, Emerging Scholars in Engineering Lecture Series, and the Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series.

John R. and Donna S. Hall Engineering Lecture Series

The John R. and Donna S. Hall Engineering Lecture Series was established in 2002 to allow the Vanderbilt Engineering community hear renowned engineers from universities, agencies, and industry address engineering topics of particular interest. The series is funded by an endowment founded by James Gray to honor the Halls. John Hall, a 1955 Vanderbilt engineering graduate, is retired chairman and chief executive officer of Ashland, Inc.

  • Hall Lecture Archive


    April 30 - Jenna Jambeck, Ph.D.

    Regents Professor

    2022 MacArthur Fellow

    Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering

    University of Georgia

    "Stories from Sea to Source: Reducing Plastic Pollution"


    March 21 - Nicholas Peppas, Sc.D.
    Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering
    Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Surgery and Pharmacy
    University of Texas at Austin
    "Intelligent Biomaterials in Nanotechnology and Precision Medicine"


    April 21 - John Anderson
    President of the National Academy of Engineering
    "Engineering’s Role in Creating Technology: Working in the Penumbra of Understanding"


    November 8 - Yilu Liu, Ph.D.
    Charles A. Desoer Chair in the College of Engineering
    UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair; Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
    University of Tennessee-Knoxville
    " Benefit of Grid Edge Synchronized Measurements "

    March 17 - Claire Tomlin, Ph.D.
    Charles A. Desoer Chair in the College of Engineering
    Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
    University of California at Berkeley
    "Safe Learning in Robotics"


    September 15 - Francis Arnold, Ph.D.
    2018 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, and Bioengineering
    Director, Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
    California Institute of Technology
    "Innovation by Evolution: Bringing New Chemistry to Life"

    February 12 - Sharon Glotzer, Ph.D.
    John Werner Cahn Distinguished University Professor of Engineering
    Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering
    Anthony C. Lembke Department Chair of Chemical Engineering
    University of Michigan
    "Engineering Colloidal Matter and the Entropic Bond"


    November 18 - Jennifer Elisseeff, Ph.D.
    Martin Goldberg Professor
    Department of Biomedical Engineering, Translational Tissue Engineering Center
    Johns Hopkins University
    "Lesson from translation and rethinking biomaterials in the body"

    March 13 - Menachem Elimelech, Ph.D.
    Roberto Goizueta Professor
    Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
    Yale University
    "Membrane Materials: Next-Generation Materials for Desalination and Wastewater"


    September 20 - Robert Sutor, Ph.D.
    Vice President for IBM Q Strategy and Ecosystem
    IBM Research, IBM
    "Quantum Computing: Don't Count Your Qubits Before They're Hatched"

    February 22 - Carlo Ratti, Ph.D.
    Professor of Urban Technologies and Planning
    Director, SENSEable City Lab
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati
    "Senseable Cities


    November 29 - Bruce Tromberg, Ph.D.
    Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director, Laser Microbeam and Medical Program at the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic, UCI
    University of California, Irvine
    "Wearable and Bedside Biophotonics: Technologies at the intersection between personalized medicine and personal health"

    March 27 - Xiang Zhang, Ph.D.
    Ernest S. Kuh Endowed Chair and Professor
    University of California, Berkeley
    "Metamaterials: Creating Properties that Do Not Exist in Nature"


    November 29 - Joan F. Brennecke, Ph.D.
    Keating-Crawford Professor of Chemical Engineering
    Notre Dame
    "Ionic liquids for Energy-Related Applications"

    January 25 - Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Ph.D.
    Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering
    Rice University
    "From Brownsville to Blantyre: Designing Appropriate Technologies to Improve Healthcare in Low-Resource Settings"


    October 12 - Vijay Kumar, Ph.D.
    Nemirovsky Family Dean of Engineering
    University of Pennsylvania
    "Aerial Robot Swarms"

    March 30 - R. Byron Pipes, Ph.D.
    John Leighton Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering
    Purdue University
    "Simulation in Composites Manufacturing"


    September 9 - Carol K. Hall, Ph.D.
    Camille Dreyfus Distinguished University Professor
    Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    North Carolina State University
    "A Computational Study of the Kinematic and Thermodynamic Origins of Alzheimer's and Related Diseases"

    March 27 - Warren Washington, Ph.D.
    Senior Scientist
    National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
    "The Development of Computer Earth System Models: Climate Change in the 20th and 21st Century"


    October 23 - James J. Collins, Ph.D.
    William F. Warren Distinguished Professor and University Professor
    Boston University
    "Life Redesigned: The Emergence of Synthetic Biology"


    October 2 - Daphne Koller, Ph.D.
    Co-CEO, Coursera
    Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University
    "The Online Revolution: Education for Everyone"

    March 20 - Norman Fortenberry, Sc.D.
    Executive Director
    American Society for Engineering Education
    "Engineering Excitement"

    January 24 - Rebecca Bergman
    Vice President for New Therapies and Diagnostics, CRDM
    Medtronic, Inc.
    "Medical Technology: Opportunities and Challenges for the Next Decade"


    November 9 - Arun Majumdar, Ph.D.
    Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)
    "ARPA-E: Catalyzing Energy Breakthroughs for a Secure American Future"

    October 14 - Mark E. Davis, Ph.D.
    Warren and Katharine Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering
    California Institute of Technology
    "Fighting Cancer with Nanoparticle Medicines"

    January 20 - Joseph Sifakis, Ph.D.
    Verimag Laboratory, Grenoble, France
    Co-winner of the 2007 A.M. Touring Award
    "The Evolution of Computer Science"


    February 23 - Charles Vest, Ph.D.
    National Academy of Engineering
    President Emeritus
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    "Engineering, Innovation, and the Challenges of the 21st Century"

    January 14 - Thomas Zakaria, Ph.D.
    Deputy Lab Director for Science and Technology
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory
    "Advanced Computing for a Clean Energy Future"


    September 24 - Michael Griffin, Ph.D.
    Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering
    University of Alabama - Huntsville
    Former NASA Administrator, 2005-2009
    "Challenges Facing the U.S. Civil Space Program"

Chambers Family Entrepreneurial Lectureship

The Chambers Family Entrepreneurial Lectureship in the Vanderbilt School of Engineering is a semi-annual lecture series is endowed by the Chambers Medical Foundation.

  • Chambers Lecture Archive


    March 28 - Ben Whittle, BE’15, Founder & CEO, Spec
    "0 to 50:  How to evaluate your own startup ideas, design something users love, and land your first 10 paying customers"


    April 4 - Krista Donaldson, BS’95, Director, Innovation to Impact at Stanford University’s Byers Center for Biodesign
    "Design for Health Equity"


    October 15 - Ben Taylor, BE'15, founder and CEO of Doorport
    "From Mickey D's to YC"


    November 8 - Relode Co-Founders Matt Tant, CEO, and Joe Christopher, CTO
    From Commodores to Co-Founders

    February 26 - Bruce R. Evans, Senior Advisor and Chairman of Summit Partners
    Chair of Vanderbilt University Board of Trust
     Entrepreneurial Finance: The Venture Capital Fundraising Process ” Vanderbilt YouTube


    September 25 - Ayanna Howard, Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Endowed Chair, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology; CTO at Zyrobotics
    “Designing Robots for the Future – A Journey from Innovation to Entrepreneurship”

    April 4 - Jerry Wilmink, founder and CEO of WiseWear
    “Journey of an Engineer Turned Entrepreneur”


    November 9 - Miles Barr, founder and CEO of Ubiquitous Energy
    "Invention, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship"

    February 25 - Hannah Chung, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Sproutel
    “Empathy-driven design: Creating something meaningful”


    October 7 - Mark Hatch, co-founder and CEO of TechShop
    “BOOM! The Maker Revolution: How the Maker Movement is changing the world and why you should join the movement”

    March 16 - Jonn Kim, founder and CEO of Geeks and Nerds Corporation (GaN)
    "Life Entrepreneurship"


    November 11 - Vic Gatto, founder and CEO of Jumpstart Foundry
    “Entrepreneurs: Heroes of our Generation”

Schmidt Family Digital Technologies Lectureship

The focus of the Schmidt Family Digital Technologies Lectureship is to explore advances in digital learning and their applicability to innovation and practice in the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering. Doug Schmidt, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and his parents, retired Navy Capt. Raymond P. Schmidt and Roberta R. Schmidt, created the lectureship.

  • Schmidt Lecture Archive


    January 31 - Bob Higgins, BE'97, CEO of Barge Design Solutions, Inc.
    "LLMs: Empowering the C-Suite with an AI Driven Strategy and Insights"


    November 19 - Scott Augenbaum, former FBI Special Agent, Cyber Division, Consultant and Cybercrime Expert
    "Cybercrime: How To Prepare So You Don't Become The Next Victim"


    November 15 - David E. Wilson, vice president of Product Marketing, Academic, Customer Education, Software
    National Instruments Corporation
    "Knowledge on Demand"


    April 13 - George Siemens, Ph.D., executive director of the Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge Research Lab
    University of Texas, Arlington
    "The Future of Learning: Digital, Data-driven, and Distributed"


    April 7 - Jeffrey Selingo, author and journalist
    "College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education"

Emerging Scholars in Engineering Lecture

The intent of the Emerging Scholars in Engineering lecture series is to showcase early career academics from underrepresented groups in engineering, who are nearing completion or who have completed a doctoral degree or postdoc. Visits are organized to simulate the experience of a faculty job interview and culminates with structured feedback. This lectureship serves a crucial professional development role by providing an insider perspective on the faculty hiring process.

Complete this form to nominate speakers for this series. Interested postdocs and others can self-nominate, as well. We will contact nominees for their CV, if not provided, to complete the nomination process.

  • Emerging Scholars Lecture Archive


    March 4  - Dr. Neha Patankar, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton University
    "Evaluating Technology & Resource Tradeoffs in Decarbonizing the American West"


    September 15 - Maria Lopez Cavestany, Ph.D. Candidate, Biomedical Engineering department, Vanderbilt University"
    ZnO Nanostructured Surfaces for the Enhanced Formation of Colorectal Cancer Spheroids"

    September 3 - Brooke E. Mason, Ph.D. Candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering department, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    "Autonomous Control of Stormwater Quality"

    April 19 - Sanaz Habibi, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Chemical Engineering department, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    "Two-Wavelength Volumetric 3D Printing for Rapid Prototyping of Microfluidic Systems"

    March 31 - Dan Abebayehu, Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia
    "Inflammatory Thy-1 Negative Fibroblasts are Critical for Pulmonary and Biomaterial-mediated Fibrosis"

    March 5 - Gabriel Perez, Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University
    "Resonance in Hydrologic Systems: Detecting critical conditions that can exacerbate extreme floods during current and future climate"


    November 30 - Kyoko Yoshida, Senior Scientist, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia
    "The mechanics behind the miracle of life: Maternal soft tissue growth & remodeling"

    November 16 - Nerymar Ortiz Otero, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University
    "Analysis and Therapeutic Targeting of Circulating Cells in Metastatic Cancer"

    October 13 - Shaimaa Azzam, Elings Prize Postdoctoral Fellow, California NanoSystems Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara
    "Bound states in the continuum in photonics: Insights and Applications"

    October 9 - Paramita Nath, Postdoctoral Scholar, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University
    "Additive Manufacturing: "Uncertainty Quantification and Optimization"

    September 28 - Bobby Haney, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Boston, MA
    “Water and Oil Emulsion Stabilization Using Amphiphilic Janus Micro-Particles"


    December 17 - Adrian Ildefonso, Graduate Research Assistant, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
    "Single-event Effects in RF Circuits: How Tiny Lightning Strikes Can Wreak Havoc in Space Communications Systems:

    April 1 - Caroline Winters, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Appointee, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM
    “Interrogation of Plasma Discharges in Reacting Molecular and Supersonic Environments via Advanced Spectroscopic and Imaging Diagnostics"


    December 6 - Rachel Jackson, Ph.D. candidate, Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
    “Developing ankle exoskeleton assistance strategies by leveraging knowledge of the mechanisms involved in human locomotion"

    November 14 - Sossena Wood, Ph.D. candidate, Biomedical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh
    RF Developments to Identify Human Diseases in 7T Human MRI

    October 11 - Marjan Rafat, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar, Bioengineering, Stanford University
    "CD8+ T Cells Inhibit Tumor Cell Migration to Irradiated Normal Cells"

    September 6 - Jorge Vazquez-Anderson, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin
    "Insights into RNA design from novel molecular tools"

    April 19 - Renita Horton, Ph.D., assistant research professor in the Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering at Mississippi State University
    "Engineering Approaches to Cardiovascular Diseases: Matters of the Heart"

    February 29 - Catherine Whittington, Ph.D., a postdoctoral scientist in oncology research at Eli Lilly and Company
    3D In Vitro Models of Tissue Morphogenesis and Disease