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Welcome to UT Mic/Nite!

Next Event: TBD

Social Hour: 5:30
Presentations: 6:30
Relix Variety Theatre
1208 N. Central St
Knoxville, TN 39717


Patrick Grzanka,
Mic/Nite Coordinator


Mic/Nite will be rescheduled as soon as we are safely able to do so. At that time, we will post the date here and share through University channels, and will also notify those who sent an RSVP for the spring event.

Twice a year, the Office of the Provost hosts Mic/Nite, a “Pecha-Kucha Powered” social gathering designed to enhance the intellectual, interdisciplinary, and cultural life of the faculty and staff at UT Knoxville.

One of the challenges in a large university community is working across the silos that often separate disciplines. Mic/Nite offers an opportunity to build bridges and foster a deeper appreciation of the many facets of a large, comprehensive university. Presentations offer a cross section of the intellectual life of UT Knoxville and provide an opportunity for social interaction among faculty members who may not otherwise have the opportunity to interact with each other.

Note to Students: due to venue restrictions, the Mic/Nite event is intended for faculty and staff only.

Parking is available behind the venue on Anderson Avenue and on surrounding streets.

Free pizza and a cash bar are available. So we are able to make appropriate preparations, please RSVP!

RSVP for Upcoming Mic/Nite


What is Pecha-Kucha?

Pecha-Kucha is a simple presentation format that features twenty images displayed for twenty seconds each. The images automatically forward as the presenter talks. To learn more, visit the Pecha-Kucha FAQ. Samples are posted on the Pecha-Kucha Presentations page.

The format originated in Tokyo, Japan. It was first introduced in 2003 and has spread to more than 400 cities around the world. The format allows presenters to depict and describe everything from urban design or economic theory to a series of photographs. Mic/Nite is held in cooperation with PechaKucha Night Knoxville, which was started in 2011 to encourage intellectual and cultural dialogue. Mic/Nites are special interdisciplinary events that facilitate dialogue between university faculty and staff by showcasing the academic pursuits of the campus.

Explore Pecha Kucha events from around the world: PechaKucha 20×20 – Official Site | PechaKucha 20×20 – Knoxville | PechaKucha 20×20 – FAQ


Spring 2020 Presentation Topics

Anatomizing Libraries: An Exploration of 3D Virtual Anatomy Tables in Academic, Medical, and Health Sciences Libraries

Melanie A. Dixson, MSIS, AHIP Assistant Professor & Health Sciences Librarian; University Libraries

Niki Kirkpatrick, MSIS Assistant Professor & Health Sciences Librarian; University Libraries

closeup cartoon illustration of human stomach and intestinesWith the rise of new technology-focused anatomy learning resources, three-dimensional (3D) virtual anatomy tables are becoming increasingly popular tools within anatomy education. Many medical schools and academic departments have purchased anatomy tables for use in their classrooms or labs, but accessibility and cost issues present dilemmas for both instructors and students.  Academic, medical and health sciences libraries can provide unique venues for these virtual anatomy tables, which can bolster teaching and learning initiatives in various courses and programs. Based on our recent narrative review, our presentation will highlight emerging trends surrounding the use of 3D virtual anatomy tables in health sciences, medical and academic libraries to support anatomy instruction. Our research examines the benefits and challenges of integrating anatomy tables into anatomy curricula, and how libraries have helped to mitigate some of those hurdles. Additionally, we will discuss best practices for libraries that are interested in purchasing or developing services using anatomy tables in order to support student learning, engagement, and retention strategies within their institutions.

COLAGREL: Space, Memory, and Oral History in Congo

Nicole Eggers, Assistant Professor of History; College of Arts & Sciences

man in Democratic Republic of Congo

From 1925 to 1960, a religious movement known as Kitawala gained a significant following in the eastern part of what is today the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was in many ways an unruly movement. Rooted in both Watchtower Christianity as well as indigenous concepts of spirituality, health, and power, it gained thousands of followers and inspired a myriad of regionally diverse interpretations and activities. The Belgian colonial state saw it as subversive and feared it. They worked hard – and often violently – to suppress it. In this talk, I will discuss this history of Kitawala, focusing in particular on the Belgian colonial government’s policy of “relegating” followers of Kitawala to internment camps beginning in the 1930s. I will demonstrate how oral and archival research about one of these camps – COLAGREL-Kasaji – has helped me to better understand how those who were imprisoned in them experienced and imagined their (in some cases decades-long) internment.

Physical Activity in Women with Gestational Diabetes for Intergenerational Obesity Prevention

Samantha F. Ehrlich, PhD MPH, Assistant Professor of Department of Public Health; College of Education, Health, & Human Sciences

Mother checking baby's tummy and legs in small baby bed

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), or glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy, affects 4-10% of pregnancies in the U.S. Women with GDM are at increased risk of diabetes after delivery, and their offspring are at increased risk of later life obesity and diabetes. First-line treatment includes medical nutrition therapy and physical activity to manage blood glucose levels; insulin is subsequently added, if needed, to control glucose levels. Contemporary obstetrical practice focuses primarily on medical nutrition therapy, representing a missed opportunity for health promotion and obesity prevention. Physical activity in women with GDM may reduce the risk of obesity in both the mother and offspring through several purported mechanisms, which will be reviewed in this presentation. A case will be made for the development of behavioral physical activity interventions that are easily translated to the health care delivery system and the promise they hold for intergenerational prevention of obesity.



What Exactly is Business Law? The Polite Cocktail Party Conversation

Somer K. Chyz, J.D., Lecturer of Department of Accounting and Information Management; Haslam College of Business

Pic of Saul GoodmanMy presentation will cover a general description of the course I teach: Business Law. It will explain, using easily accessible examples, how ‘Business Law’ is not a specific legal discipline unto itself, but is instead the study of how numerous different legal concepts affect the modern American business environment.



Modeling Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition

Dr. Tian Hong, Assistant Professor of Biochem/Cell & Molec Biology; College of Arts & Sciences 

a illustration scale showing unbalance process of Epithelial-mesenchymal transition and motile mesenchymal transitionEpithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a process in which rigid epithelial cells convert to motile mesenchymal forms. EMT occurs in both normal development and pathological conditions such as metastasis. Cells that have undergone EMT can revert to epithelial state via epithelial-mesenchymal transition (MET). During cancer progression, EMT endows tumor cells with a capacity to migrate and invade other tissues and organs, whereas MET allows circulating tumor cells to settle and proliferate. Recent discoveries suggest that EMT is not a binary switch. We used mathematical modeling to understand the dynamics of EMT and its underlying gene regulatory network, and we showed that multiple intermediate EMT states can stably exist. We are currently investigating system-wide gene regulation programs of EMT, and EMT profiles of cancer cells using machine learning approaches. The project will provide theoretical frameworks for understanding the multistate and reversible nature of EMT, and a guide for controlling this transition accurately.



This is One Health!

Debra L Miller, Professor of Forestry, Wildlife & Fish; University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

UT One Health illustration building with columns listed as Environmental Health, Animal Health, Public Health and Plant Health

Humans, animals, plants, and the environment are inextricably linked with the health of one affecting the health of all. The One Health concept recognizes that health issues must be addressed cohesively instead of independently. This convergence approach is essential when considering that approximately 70% of emerging infectious disease cases in humans and livestock are a consequence of spillover events from wildlife. Similarly, humans play a role in animal disease emergence by facilitating global transfer of infectious agents, altering landscapes, and adding environmental disturbances. Losses due to plant diseases can reduce global agricultural productivity by up to 40% for the five major food crops, thus undermining our ability to safeguard national and global food security. Tennessee is ground zero for many emerging infectious and non-communicable diseases. It is time to take a one health perspective to let us better protect the health of the whole system. This is One Health!



UTK Filament Tower: Integrated Computational Design and Lightweight Fabrication

Marshall Prado, Assistant Professor of Design and Structural Technology; College of Architecture and Design

Two people looking up and one taking a picture at the UTK Filament Tower

The presented research describes the novel computational design and robotic fabrication strategies for architectural fiber composites. This ongoing research builds on lightweight structures, composite building systems, functionally integrated building components, and architectural applications for fiber composites. The multidisciplinary design process integrates biological principles, structural performance, material efficiencies, and fabrication logics into architectural thinking and production. This shift in design methodology has a dramatic effect on how we produce architectural spaces and performative structures. The UTK Filament Tower is a full-scale architectural demonstrator developed with students in the College of Architecture and Design and produced at the UTK Fablab. This facility, equipped with a variety of standard and digital tools, enables our students to explore advanced digital fabrication and robotic production processes within a design curriculum. The project was installed in Columbus, IN as part of an architectural exhibition through Dec. 2019.



Who Gets the Death Penalty in Tennessee? Factors Influencing the Imposition of Capital Punishment Since 1977

Dr. Hemant Sharma, Lecturer of Department of Political Science; College of Arts & Sciences

picture of an electric chair for criminal punishment

This study analyzes the most severe form of criminal punishment in the state of Tennessee: the death penalty. For death-eligible homicide trials, Tennessee judges complete “Rule 12” forms, which detail information about the crime, the defendant, and the victim. Using data derived from these forms for the time period of 1977 to 2016, this research isolates variables impacting a prosecutor’s decision to seek the death penalty and a jury’s decision to return a death sentence. Logistic regression models indicate that prosecutors are more likely to seek a death sentence when a victim is white; however, prosecutors are not impacted by the defendant’s race. Data also indicate that juries are not affected by either the race of the victim or the race of the defendant. This study does identify other variables that bear a statistically significant relationship to the imposition of capital punishment, including: killing of a law enforcement officer, mass murder, prior felony convictions for the defendant, crimes occurring in urban counties, and the presence of certain types of evidence, such as scientific evidence, confessions, and eyewitness identification. Ultimately, variables other than racial demographics seem to play a more prominent role in who receives a death sentence in Tennessee.



What Will Power Our Future?

Dr. Leon M. Tolbert, Min H. Kao Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Tickle College of Engineering

diagram showing energy flow including continental-level coordination, interconnection control and regional controlPresently, less than 20% of our energy comes from renewable resources, but the availability of renewable energy generation is expected to grow significantly during the next 30 years.  At the same time, developing countries’ energy needs are expected to grow significantly, and there is a shift to electrification of our transportation systems.  This talk discusses the changing energy mix and the role UTK’s CURENT research center plays in developing technologies needed for the future energy infrastructure.  The goals of CURENT are to develop controls and technology that enable the integration of a high penetration level of renewables into the electric transmission network and to enable wide area monitoring, control, protection, and actuation of the U.S. electric grid.



Reducing the Odds You’ll be Murdered: A Forensic Engineering Assessment

Dr. David Icove, Professor of Practice; Tickle College of Engineering, Board-Certified Fellow, National Academy of Forensic Engineers

chalk drawing of body and Murder Accountability Project text which is their entire logo

The Murder Accountability Project( is a nonprofit group organized in 2015 and dedicated to the education of Americans on the importance of accurately accounting for unsolved homicides. As a Member of its Board of Directors, I can tell you that the odds that you will be murdered in the United States are heavily influenced by who you are and where you live. Men are about four times more likely to be murdered than women. People of color are at greater risk than Caucasians. But understanding this, we also can make some meaningful generalizations based upon your life expediency and especially your geographic location—a primary factor that is explored in this presentation.



Multicommunicating During Meetings: Productive or Destructive?

Dr. Emily A. Paskewitz, Assistant Professor of the School of Communication Studies, College of Communications & Information

girl texting in a meeting with other people

Research on groups and technology often focuses on differences between face-to-face groups and computer mediated groups. However, technology can also be used in face-to-face meetings, which can affect meetings for better or worse. Multicommunication is the use of technology to participate in two or more conversations at once, such as texting someone while talking to someone else. Most research finds multicommunication beneficial (e.g., being available at any time or for multiple meetings, and gathering information from absent members). However, other people in meetings are frustrated and annoyed by multicommunication. This study focused on how individuals perceive multicommunication occurring during a decision-making meeting. Results showed women viewed multicommunicators more negatively than men, and multicommunicators were viewed more negatively than non-multicommunicators. However, the gender of the multicommunicator did not play a role in perceptions. Participants also evaluated the meeting as less effective and less satisfying when there was a multicommunicator.


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