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Welcome to UT Mic/Nite!

Next Event:
Wed, March 22, 2023

Social Hour: 5:30pm
Program: 6:30pm
Location: Relix Variety Theatre


Patrick Grzanka,
Mic/Nite Coordinator


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 and staff who may not otherwise have the opportunity to interact with each other.

For the Event:

We remind our guests that UT Mic/Nite is an event for UT faculty and staff and is not open to students or the general public. [Partners are welcome.] Relix Variety Theatre is located at 1208 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917. Parking is available behind the venue on Anderson Avenue and on surrounding streets.

Free pizza and a cash bar are available.

Please complete the RSVP form by Friday, March 17.

RSVP for Mic/Nite on March 22, 2023


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


Fall 2022 Topics

Communicating With Close Others About Opioid Use

Jenny Crowley, PhD, Assistant Professor; Communication Studies

Communicating with close others about opioid use

Over 2 million people in the United States are suffering from opioid use disorder and more than 100 people die every day from an opioid overdose. People with opioid use disorder face many challenges, including diminished mental and physical well-being, stigma, and low treatment availability. During treatment and recovery, individuals struggle with high rates of relapse, shame, and employment issues. For people with opioid use disorder, romantic partners and family members can be important sources of support that alleviate addiction-related challenges. At the same time, social support is not a panacea. Ineffective, inconsiderate, or contradictory supportive messages from close others can amplify the difficulties of managing addiction. In this presentation, I discuss findings from two studies that explore the complicated influence of supportive communication from the perspective of people with opioid use disorder, highlighting how close others can be paradoxical influences on people’s experiences with addiction.  


Watch Jenny Crowley’s presentation:

Climate Change – A Global Issue Having Local Impacts and Requiring Local Actions with Global Perspective

Mingzhou Jin, PhD, John D. Tickle Professor; Tickle College of Engineering 

Climate change has been proven a global challenge by researchers through a substantial quantity of data and many complicated models. However, local people (e.g., farmers) lack the theoretical and data analytical tools to understand those databases and models, to use the global wealth of information to make better decisions for themselves and for others, and even to believe that climate change is true. Its impacts on people vary spatially and temporally, from disasters, opportunities to indifferences. For example, the predicted temperature increase and precipitation may bring new opportunities to Tennessee farmers but also mean more floods. Climate change is caused by the total greenhouse gases in our global atmosphere and therefore requires collective actions from all people to combat. Those solutions need local people to adopt a global and long-term perspective. The gap between global models and local actions require community-based co-production processes, cross-scale modeling, and appropriate incentive mechanisms. 


Watch Mingzhou Jin’s presentation

Watching Drugs Binding to Target One Molecule at a Time

Rajan Lamichhane, PhD, Assistant Professor; Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology 

Watching Drugs Binding to Target One Molecule at a Time, “Figure Courtesy of Katrin Beilharz”

G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) are the largest family of membrane proteins in the human genome. These allosteric machines bind extracellular ligands, undergo conformational changes, and activate the downstream signaling pathways in the cell. Because of their involvement in many physiological processes, they are prominent targets for drug development. More than 40% of currently marketed drugs target GPCRs. Despite their importance, understanding receptor-drug interactions and their dynamics at the molecular level are challenging. The recent progress in structural studies has provided exceptional information on receptor-drug complexes, but there is still limited information on receptor dynamics and activation. The lack of such knowledge limits our ability to design and develop effective drugs. This research aims to understand how the dynamic behavior GPCRs drives the assembly of GPCR complexes with drugs and partner proteins at a single-molecule level. This will help design and screen GPCR targeting drugs with tailored pharmacological responses. 

Figure Courtesy of Katrin Beilharz


Watch Rajan Lamichhane’s presentation:

Engaging and Flexible Classroom Spaces for Innovative Teaching Practices

Erin McCave, PhD, Lecturer, Research Assistant Professor; Engineering Fundamentals
Darren Maczka
, PhD, Lecturer, Research Assistant Professor; Engineering Fundamentals

Students looking at presentation screen

The new Zeanah Engineering Complex is home to the Stoneking Engage Engineering Fundamentals (EF) Program, an innovative first year engineering program designed around evidence-based teaching practices and student success principles. Through a multi-year design and build process, the faculty and staff of Engineering Fundamentals had input in constructing adaptive learning spaces to help further engage students in hands-on active learning through their first-year engineering experience. With the use of these newly designed flexible classrooms, adaptable furniture, and innovative educational technology, the faculty and staff provide team-based and project-based learning to over 1000 students per semester. In this presentation, we will provide a quick background on historic learning spaces and overview of the design of our new active learning classrooms as well as introduce and discuss many of the evidence-based practices we use in EF. 


Watch Erin McCave and Darren Maczka’s presentation:

Breaking Chains, Cultivating Connection, Opening Research

Holly Mercer, Senior Associate Dean and Professor; UT Libraries

Bookshelves full of books, “Creative Commons CC-BY 2.0 license: Some rights reserved by Ben Salter”

In the Middle Ages, a time of information scarcity, library books were chained to shelves to restrict access and secure the collections. Now we are in an age of information abundance: shouldn’t scholarship be shared freely? What if accessibility of library resources was a design decision rather than a compliance afterthought? What if UT authors could retain their copyrights to the works they produce and subsequently were able to make decisions about how their work was disseminated? What if UT’s payments to scholarly publishers helped everyone, everywhere access research articles? Access to research, scholarship, and creative work supports UT’s mission to advance the prosperity, well-being, and vitality of communities across Tennessee and around the world. Opening research opens mindshearts, and conversations. Let’s rethink how libraries cultivate, disseminate, and preserve knowledge. Let’s start talking about access and let’s make it open.

Creative Commons CC-BY 2.0 license: Some rights reserved by Ben Salter


Watch Holly Mercer’s presentation:

The Power of Connection: Co-Designing an Assistive Technology with a Community

Kimberly Mitchell, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design; School of Design, College of Architecture and Design 

When we truly understand the people we are designing for and then co-design alongside them, not only will we arrive at new or re-imagined ideas, but we come up with ideas and solutions that they embrace (IDEO). This is the central philosophy that human centered design revolves around – to create the solutions with people rather than for people. Design can improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations by creating more universal, accessible artifacts and experiences. My talk will discuss the power of connections in co-creating an assistive technology to help engage with persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers. 


Watch Kimberly Mitchell’s presentation:

Fat Cats and Portly Pooches: How a Pet Weight Loss Center is Improving Lives 

Maryanne Murphy, PhD, DVM, Clinical Associate Professor of Nutrition; College of Veterinary Medicine 

Various estimates place global overweight and obesity prevalence rates at up to 65% in dogs and up 63% in cats. Research has shown that overweight pets have shorter lifespans, poorer quality of life, and increased risk of many diseases, such as osteoarthritis. The University of Tennessee Veterinary Obesity Center, in collaboration with Royal Canin, was established in 2021 with a mission to improve the quality of life for cats, dogs, and their owners through education and clinical research aimed at understanding the pathophysiology, prevention, and treatment of obesity. To date, over 30 dogs and 20 cats have started weight loss programs through the center. Join Dr. Murphy for an overview of the center, the research that paved the way for the center’s development, and an introduction to current projects under investigation.


Watch Maryanne Murphy’s presentation:

Video Games and Historical Curiosity

Tore Olsson, PhD, Associate Professor; History 

Millions of young people around the world regularly engage history through the digital medium of video games – yet few professional historians have attempted to harness the passion and curiosity born from this. In this presentation, I share the story of my recent and ongoing experiment to teach and write about dilemmas of race, capitalism, and violence in post-Civil War America through the hit video game series Red Dead Redemption, arguably the most-played digital renditions of American history since The Oregon Trail. This experiment suggests one potential avenue by which serious history can be made relevant and accessible to new audiences, in the classroom and beyond. 


Watch Tore Olsson’s presentation:

Supply Chain Management: Out from Behind the Curtain

Ted Stank, PhD, Chancellor’s Professor of SCM and Harry and Vivienne Bruce Chair of Business Excellence, and Executive Director; Advanced Supply Chain Collaborative 

A relatively obscure field before the global COVID-19 pandemic, “supply chain” is now on the tip of everyone’s tongue. But what is supply chain management (SCM), and why does it matter? SCM is a boundary-spanning discipline that facilitates an organization’s ability to plan for and secure the resources needed to create and deliver everything from jellybeans to skyscrapers. When the supply chain is mis-managed, things fall apart. Every organization—even a university—has a supply chain. At UT, faculty are the manufacturing hub for our principal product: creating and disseminating knowledge. The university’s success in creating and disseminating knowledge while managing the resources needed to do that is primarily determined by our supply chain. Beyond optimizing organizational value, SCM enables us to tackle societal issues, including sustainability, equitable food and healthcare distribution, and the sourcing and deployment of alternative energy sources. This talk will unpack the black box of SCM and expose how supply chains affect more than just what’s in our grocery stores and in auto-dealers’ lots. Indeed, SCM can contribute to solving many of the more pressing and complex social challenges of our time. 


Watch Ted Stank’s presentation:

Rebel Origins and Trajectories in the International System

Gary Uzoni, PhD, Associate Professor; Political Science

This presentation discusses three important patterns in the origins and trajectory of rebel groups from across the globe since the end of World War II. First, while most rebel groups form in the periphery of weak countries, many form in major urban centers in the heart of the government’s control. Second, the success of rebel groups is shaped by the strategies they use in moving towards the capital. Being able to attack is not as important as how one attacks. Third, though, not all rebels move towards the capital. Movement is shaped by a group’s goals, strength, and the symbolic nature of controlling non-capital locations. Multi-party civil war tends to see rebels move quicker towards cities and move in packs of either allies working together or rivals attempting to beat each other to controlling these key sites.


Watch Gary Uzoni’s presentation:

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