Lunch Colloquiums

Lunch Colloquiums are generally held twice monthly at the Luce Center and feature a wide range of faculty from all parts of the university.

Colloquiums usually take place every first and third Monday or Tuesday from 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. The Lunch Colloquiums are hybrid meetings. They are held in person at 130 Luce Center, 825 Houston Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30329. For those attending via Zoom, information will be emailed to all registrants before the meeting. 

Many of our colloquiums are recorded. Click on a title link to view the session.

2023–2024 Programs

Monday, September 11 
Anna Leo, Associate Professor of Dance Emerita
“Full Circle: A Personal Journey”

Anna Leo first became curious about mandalas in college. Since then, she has continued to read about and seek out the shape in myriad forms. In 2017, she began designing and constructing mandalas during a residency at the Hambidge Center in North Georgia. Through this exploration, she came to recognize the form’s presence in her choreographic work, which often builds upon circular patterns, squares, and intricate spatial patterning.  “I like to think that I am on a continual arcing, creative pathway in investigating mandalas--first creating them in space through dance making, and now on paper,” she says. “I view my mandala making as an intersection between play, art, and meditative practice.” Here, she’ll talk briefly about how choreographers in general find inspiration, what inspires her own choreographic process, and how dance making and mandala making intersect.  Best of all, she’ll lead the group in making a paper mandala. No previous art experience required, and all needed materials will be supplied. Contact Leo in advance at if you plan to attend via ZOOM, and she’ll mail a “mandala kit” to you. 

Tuesday, September 26
Time and Location Change: 10:00–11:30 a.m., Alumni Hall, Miller-Ward Alumni House (no food served)
Timothy Albrecht, Professor of Music Emeritus
“Good, Better, Best! Timothy Albrecht Performs at the Piano and Illustrates Selections from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Volume 2”

Join us for this sequel one year after Timothy Albrecht’s September 2022 Emeritus College presentation on Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Volume 1. He will discuss and play some of the musical treasures in J. S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Volume 2.  Like last year, this session promises to be humorous, informative, and accessible—even to non-musicians.

Tuesday, October 10 
Dennis Liotta, PhD, DSc
“Novel Therapeutics for Treating Viral Diseases, Cancer, and Neurological Disorders”

Led by Dennis Liotta, the Liotta Research Group (LRG) is a complex medicinal chemistry organization within Emory University. Liotta will start with an overview of the LRG’s earlier success in the antiviral arena and transition into recent endeavors in developing novel CXCR4 antagonists as immunomodulators for treating cancer designing fast-release neurosteroid prodrugs (a compound that the body metabolizes into a drug) for treating traumatic brain injury. In the past decade, the LRG has designed, synthesized, and evaluated over 350 tetrahydroisoquinoline-containing CXCR4 antagonists. Leading this pipeline is EMU-116, which exhibited enhanced pharmacokinetic properties and superior anti-tumor efficacy compared to mavorixafor, a small molecule CXCR4 antagonist studied in clinical trials. In recent years, neurosteroids such as progesterone have emerged as promising neuroprotective agents for treating TBI. Unfortunately, previous investigations into the use of neurosteroids for TBI treatment typically required administration in a hospital setting, thus losing valuable time before the treatment could be administered. To address this unmet need, the LRG has developed two generations of progesterone prodrugs having improved aqueous solubility and fast in vivo release rate. Their efficacy was demonstrated in a rat model of acute TBI.

Monday, October 23 
Beth Michel, Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admission
“Growing Institutional Efforts with an Indigenous Approach”

Beth Michel will describe Emory’s efforts to increase the visibility, voice, and contributions of Native American people, highlighting the people, departments, and initiatives at Emory that have been and continue to be instrumental in this effort. For example, the new Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies, to be launched this fall in Emory College, will advance research, scholarship, teaching, and learning rooted in and related to Indigenous studies. Michel also will summarize and highlight Emory’s active relationship with tribal communities on and off campus as well as Emory’s history related to Native Americans—notably, the development of a Land Acknowledgment recognizing the Native peoples who lived here centuries before Emory’s founding and were forced to relinquish their land.

Monday, November 6 
Tanine Allison, Associate Professor, Film and Media Studies
“Are Digital Actors the Future of Hollywood?”

Tanine Allison’s research and teaching focus on film, digital media, and video games. Her work explores emerging media technologies in relation to ideas of authenticity, identity, and aesthetics. Her book Destructive Sublime: World War II in American Film and Media challenges conventional notions of the American war genre. She is now focusing her research on the use of digital visual effects in film and animation and exploring how digital visual effects mediate issues of race, gender, age, and identity.

Monday, November 20
Leslie Gordon, Executive Director, Breman Jewish Museum
“The Breman: More than a Museum”

Along with Breman staff, Leslie Gordon will give an overview of the Breman Museum and its education, entertainment, and exhibition programming. Although primarily known for reaching students through its Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education, the institution also houses the Cuba Family Archive, one of the largest collections of Jewish documents and objects in the region. The collection covers the entire state of Georgia as well as eastern Alabama. The museum focuses on arts and culture through regular photography exhibits that generate programs to take the works “off the wall” as well as music, literary, dance, and film programs. Currently, the Breman is exhibiting “History with Chutzpah: 290 Years of the Jewish Presence in Georgia,” which encompasses the 1733 founding of the Jewish settlement in Savannah to Jon Ossoff's election to the US Senate. Expect to hear little-known stories from the Breman’s oral histories, examples of the museum’s virtual programs, and exciting plans for its future. 

Monday, December 4
Robert Gaynes, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist and Professor of Medicine Emeritus
“The Discovery of HIV: New Insights on the 40th Anniversary of the Breakthrough”

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is one of the most important pathogens ever discovered. Forty years after its discovery, remarkable progress has occurred, however, challenges remain and new insights from the story have emerged. Robert Gaynes will discuss these insights from a 2021 interview that includes audio clips from Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, the French female scientist and 2008 Nobel laureate who discovered HIV.  She gives her account of the discovery of the virus and how she found herself in the middle of one of the most bitter scientific disputes in recent history.

Monday, January 15
Colm Mulcahy, Professor of Mathematics, Spelman College 
“Mathemagic with a Deck of Cards” 

We'll show how to perform several entertaining and fun effects with a deck of cards, based on mathematical principles. No prior knowledge or sleight-of-hand ability will be assumed. 

Monday, January 29
Gary Hauk, Emory University Historian 
“From John Wesley to the Dalai Lama: Emory’s Religious Pilgrimage and What It Means for a Modern Research University”

Founded as a Methodist college and later rechartered as a southern Methodist university with generous funding from Asa Candler for the sake of “Christian education,” Emory nevertheless opened its doors early to students and faculty of other faiths. Two Jewish professors were hired in the 1880s, and the first Jewish student enrolled in 1916. By the end of the 20th century, the student body reflected the religious diversity of the nation, and Emory soon would gain international attention as the only university with the Dalai Lama formally a member of the faculty. Despite Emory’s ascendance as a research university with renowned programs in medicine, public health, and the sciences, religion retains a prominent place at Emory. Why is this so, and what are the implications? 

Monday, February 12
John Latting, Emory Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Admission   
“College Admissions in a Post-Affirmative Action World”

In June 2023, the Supreme Court ruled in two related cases that the way race and ethnicity is used in college admissions (at Harvard University and UNC-Chapel Hill) violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution and was thus no longer permissible.  With these two rulings, the court did away with Affirmative Action in higher education admissions. At Emory, the decisions have significant implications for how the Office of Admission selects each class.  In this presentation, Emory Dean of Admission John Latting, will comment on the likely impact of the decisions on American higher education and also share how Emory has decided to change its admissions process, how it is prioritizing goals, and how it hopes to continue to enroll undergraduate classes distinguished by their quality and diversity.  

Tuesday, February 27 
Rachel Hall-Clifford, Assistant Professor, Emory Center for the Study of Human Health and Department of Sociology  
“Co-design for Health Equity: Building Safe+Natal through Community Partnership”

Rachel Hall-Clifford shares her journey from traditional global health approaches to a community-centered co-design model through three ethnographic stories—a tragedy, a comedy, and a new reality. She will talk about the co-design of safe+natal, a low-cost toolkit designed with Guatemalan midwives to reduce maternal and infant mortality, and argue that we must look to the lived realities and expertise of local communities as we reckon with global challenges like maternal mortality. 

Monday, March 18  
Cynthia Patterson, Professor Emerita of Greek History 
"Ambition Gone Awry? The Michael C. Carlos Museum and the Antiquities Market"  

In May 2023, Cynthia Patterson was contacted by Stephanie Lee, a reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education who was writing a story on the collecting practices of university museums. Lee's story ended up focusing on the Michael C. Carlos Museum and, in particular, the dramatic and ostentatious growth of its Greek and Roman collection through purchases at galleries and auctions, which showed little concern for current professional ethical guidelines on the collecting of antiquities or for the museum's own stated principles of collecting. Since August 2022, the MCCM has a new director who has initiated a new effort to acknowledge past mistakes and repatriate objects that can be shown to have been illegally exported from their country of origin. However, Patterson believes it is necessary to look carefully and openly at what happened in the past, acknowledging the pervasiveness of the problem to restore trust as the Carlos Museum, a wonderful campus resource, goes forward with its work.   

Monday, April 1
Roxana Chicas, Assistant Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing 
“Climate Canaries: Farmworkers” 

Heat can be deadly. But how does chronic heat exposure affect health? What are the long-term implications of chronic heat exposure? In this presentation, Roxana Chicas goes on a research journey to understand the physiological response of chronic heat exposure in farmworkers and interventions to protect them from extreme heat health effects. 

Monday, April 15 
Jagdish Sheth , Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing, Goizueta Business School  
“The Journey of an Accidental Scholar” 

Jag Sheth tells how he became an accidental scholar against all odds. He was born in Burma (now Myanmar), became a refugee during World War II, and found his calling after coming to the United States. It is the story of an academic Horatio Alger. 

Monday, April 29 
Ron Gould, Goodrich C. White Professor Emeritus 
“Math and Marriage—Don't Call the Lawyers Yet” 

Pairings of objects from various sets have many applications. For example, pairing applicants with jobs, pairing representatives with districts, pairing wines with foods, and especially pairing people with each other.   This idea of pairing has naturally come to be called the marriage problem in mathematics. In this talk, Ron Gould looks at several special cases of the general pairing problem, including optimal pairings from several different points of view. He limits the mathematics and maximizes the jokes as much as possible. After all, there’s no limit to the number of strange case marriage jokes available. 

Monday, May 20 
Daniel LaChance, Associate Professor and Winship Distinguished Research Professor in History and Director of Undergraduate Studies
“Cuffs of Love: Punishment and Redemption in Crimesploitation Television”

Crime-focused reality television exploded in the 1980s, depicting the commission, detection, prosecution, and punishment of crimes committed by “real people,” that is, non-actors. LaChance calls this genre of television programming “crimesploitation”—spectacles designed to entertain mass audiences by exhibiting criminal behavior and its consequences for those who engage in it. By the 2000s, a new wave of crimesploitation focused on jails and prisons gave viewers a glimpse of people after they have been arrested for a crime. Shows like Dog the Bounty Hunter, Lockup, and Lockdown depicted the experience of being returned to jail by bounty hunters or serving a sentence of incarceration in the nation’s jails and prisons. In some scenes, offenders are constructed as dangerous predators who will never change. Yet, in other scenes they are depicted as vulnerable people endowed with qualities of love, self-discipline, and remorse that make them worthy of rehabilitation and capable of redemption. By offering a balance of skepticism and hopefulness in their depiction of captured or incarcerated people, LaChance argues these shows work to make the punishment of incarceration meaningful. By depicting some prisoners as violent and incorrigible, these shows reinforce a sense of necessity about prison. But by depicting some prisoners as capable of change, and prisons as sites of moral regeneration, crimesploitation television keeps incarceration from seeming like the very source of the pollution it purports to contain.  

Hybrid Meeting
In-Person: 130 The Luce Center | 825 Houston Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30329
Zoom: Link information will be emailed to all registrants before the meeting

Monday, June 10
Sharon Dowd, Retired Baptist Minister and Professor, and Barbara Brown, Teacher, Special Education Mathematics and Co-Coordinator, Braver Angels Georgia
“Navigating Difficult Conversations”

This is an introduction to the national nonprofit organization Braver Angels, which works to help Americans listen to and converse with people whose political opinions are very different from their own. Braver Angles does not seek to moderate people's political views but rather seeks to reduce hostility among voters who lean Republican, Democratic, Independent, etc.

See their YouTube channel: and, specifically,

Monday, June 24
Dalia Judovitz, National Endowment for the Humanities Professor Emerita of French at Emory University
“Georges de La Tour: The Enigma of the Visible”

Ranked with Vermeer among those 17th-century painters whose “unmistakable talent is matched only by their aura of mystery” (Thuillier 2003), the works of Georges de La Tour (1593–1652) continue to solicit public interest and fascination. Having enjoyed artistic acclaim and prominence in his time, La Tour’s paintings were later misattributed and dispersed. His rediscovery in 1915 resulted in the reconstitution of his artistic corpus that is still on-going. Like the many books shown in his paintings asking to be read, La Tour’s paintings will be examined not just as visual depictions but also as instruments of insight, demanding to be deciphered rather than merely seen. His works explore how the attainment of faith as spiritual illumination competes with and challenges the meanings attached to the visual realm of painterly expression. By enabling the passage from sight to insight, his works also encourage today a broader medita­tion on the nature of painting. 

Hybrid Meeting
In-Person: 130 The Luce Center | 825 Houston Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30329
Zoom: Link information will be emailed to all registrants before the meeting

Monday, July 1
Sasikala Penumarthi, Dancer, Choreographer and Instructor of Kuchipudi; Dance Affiliate, Emory University; Founder and Director of Academy of Kuchipudi Dance (Atlanta)
“A Play of Emotions through South Indian Kuchipudi Dance”

Showcasing the ways in which dance creates and transforms narrative and emotion in Indian dance forms, Sasikala will introduce the basic hand gestures and foot movements of the South Indian style of dance called Kuchipudi and then perform a short dance item called “Bhavakeli”—lit, a play of emotions. There will be time for plenty of questions. For a preview, you may see Sasikala dancing on the Carlos Museum website “Odyssey Online.”

Monday, July 8
Robin Lackey, Emory University Architect and Senior Director of Project Planning and Design, and David Payne, Associate Vice President for Planning and Engagement
“Emory Master Plan Update”

Emory University continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of its academic, research, and healthcare stakeholders. In this presentation you will learn more about the Emory campus master plan framework and its focus over the next decades, including the connections between the campus and Emory’s latest investments across metro Atlanta.

Some of the key questions that will be addressed regarding Emory’s future include:

  • How does Emory conduct its long-term planning and prioritize new investments?
  • How is Emory developing on and off the Druid Hills campus to support the academic mission and enhance a sense of community?
  • How can the campus environment embrace growth sustainably?
  • How do Emory’s plans for the Briarcliff campus, Executive Park and Oxford College support its greater mission-driven strategy?
Hybrid Meeting
In-Person: 130 The Luce Center | 825 Houston Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30329
Zoom: Link information will be emailed to all registrants before the meeting