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Faculty

Dr. George Siopsis, Director of GSSE

George SiopsisGeorge Siopsis is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Tennessee. He grew up in Greece and attended Sussex University in England where he got his B.Sc. degree majoring in mathematical physics. He did his graduate work at Caltech studying theoretical elementary particle physics, receiving his PhD in 1987. He then spent a few years as a research associate at Texas A&M University working on string theory before moving to Tennessee in 1991.

In recent years, his research has focused on quantum gravity and related issues (holography, entanglement, black holes and the information loss paradox), and applications to condensed matter physics. He has trained several PhD students who have embarked on promising careers, and introduced undergraduates as well as high school students to research in quantum physics and fundamental interactions. Currently, he is working on quantum computing and quantum information processing in collaboration with members of the Quantum Information Science group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


Dr. Lila Holt, Course Director (STEM Skills)

Lila HoltDr. Lila Holt is a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She also teaches as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the College of Education. Her interests include finding ways to better use technologies for learning and for life. Rapid advancements in computers and technology create a need for adaptation for learning and for life skills. Her research covers using technology, including the web and multimedia, for effective communication for instruction and for work place excellence.


Dr. Kristina Gehrman, Course Director (STEM in Society)

Bio coming soon.


Dr. Clerk Shaw, Course Director (STEM in Society)

Bio coming soon.


Dr. Ryan Windeknecht, Course Director (STEM in Society)

Bio coming soon.


Dr. Stephanie Drumheller-Horton, Course Director (Biology I)

Stephanie Drumheller-HortonMy research interests center on vertebrate taphonomy, ichnology, paleopathology, and paleoecology. In particular, I study bone surface modifications generated under modern and experimental conditions to better understand the processes which left similar traces on bone in the fossil record. My current research projects include:

  1. testing methods for applying these modern analogies in a deep time perspective
  2. interpreting trophic interactions, behavior, and diet from bite marks left by different archosaurian groups, especially members of Crocodyliformes
  3. identifying and differentiating historically understudied traces and pathologies, such as bite marks vs. shell disease and different types of plant mediated damage to bone.

Tessa Burch-Smith, Course Director (Biology II)

Dr. Tessa Burch-Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Burch-Smith completed her Ph.D. thesis Yale University, studying the plant innate immune response to viruses.  She then conducted post-doctoral research with at the University of California, Berkeley, studying the regulation of intercellular trafficking mediated by pores in the plant cell wall called plasmodesmata. Her current research uses a variety of molecular and cell biological approaches including advanced light and electron microscopy and plant viruses to investigate plasmodesmata in a variety of plant species and under diverse growth conditions. Her lab also investigates chloroplast gene expression and how signals from chloroplasts can control expression of nuclear genes related to plasmodesmata. She is the author of numerous scientific articles and has received research funding from the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. She is also a Senior Editor at the scientific journal Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions and is a scientific reviewer for numerous research journals.


Bhavya Sharma, Course Director (Chemistry)

Bhavya Sharma is originally from Hawaii. She received her BS degree from SUNY at Buffalo and her PhD degree in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. Bhavya was a postdoctoral researcher in Rick Van Duyne’s group at Northwestern University. She started her academic career at the University of Tennessee in August 2015. Bhavya’s research involves the use of Raman spectroscopy, a light scattering technique, to examine the underlying physics and chemistry of biological systems. In particular, her group is interested in biomedical applications of Raman spectroscopy. Dr. Sharma’s group also uses nanoscience in their development of biochemical assays for biomarkers of human health.


Dr. Remus Nicoara, Course Director (Mathematics)

Remus NicoaraDr. Remus Nicoara earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from UCLA, and his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Bucharest, Romania. He is currently a Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Math Honors Program at the University of Tennessee. His main research interest lies in von Neumann algebras, which are algebras of operators that model quantum mechanical systems. Outside of work, Remus likes to hike, bike and garden while thinking about math. He enjoys meditation, Sci-Fi books, and Hanayama puzzles. He is also an avid gamer and he currently teaches a class about video games and math, called Math Effect.


Dr. Haidong Zhou, Course Director (Physics)

Haidong ZhouHaidong Zhou is an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UTK. Haidong obtained his PH.D. in Physics in December 2005 from University of Texas at Austin. He became a Postdoctoral Associate at National High Magnetic Field Lab/Florida Sate University with Prof. C. R. Wiebe. In August 2008, he obtained a position as assistant scholar/scientist in NHMFL. He became an Assistant Professor in the Physics Department at UTK in August 2012.

Haidong’s research is concerned with the nature of phase transitions in condensed matter systems, especially strongly correlated systems and quantum matters. More specifically, he is involved with the single crystal growth and using the x-ray scattering, low temperature and high magnetic field measurements, and neutron scattering, as complementary probes to study the spin, electron and structure of solids. His research interests are:

  • Single crystal growth
  • Geometrically frustrated magnets (GFM)
  • Multiferroic systems
  • Systems with strong spin/orbital/lattice coupling
  • Systems approaching the itinerant electron limit

Floyd Ostrowski, Course Director (Industrial & Systems Engineering)

Floyd OstrowskiFloyd is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. He has a forty year progressive track record in advanced manufacturing concepts beginning as a machinist apprentice and culminating in a Chief Operating Officer position with multi-plant, multi-state, international operations experience, and strong lean manufacturing skills. Floyd has attained results that have radically streamlined and improved supply chain processes, achieving entitled levels of profitability, responsiveness, inventory turns and customer satisfaction. This was accomplished through driving the implementations of JIT (pull replenishment), TQM, and employee empowerment (Kaizen blitz events and cross functional teams).

Floyd received his BA in Business Administration from Antioch University. He received his MS in Industrial Technology, Manufacturing Concentration, from East Carolina University.


Dr. Kurt Sickafus, Course Director (Materials Science & Engineering)

Bio coming soon.