The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Joint Institute for Advanced Materials

JIAM Administration

Director, Veerle Keppens, PhD

Veerle Keppens JIAM director, Veerle Keppens is a UT professor and head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She earned her bachelor’s degree (1989) and Ph.D. (1995) in Physics from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium).

From 1995 to 1998, Dr. Keppens was a Fulbright fellow in the Novel Materials Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she became interested in the elastic properties of new materials. In 1999, she joined the faculty in the Physics Department at The University of Mississippi.

She moved back to Tennessee in 2003 to join the faculty in the Materials Science and Engineering department at the University of Tennessee. At UT, she has received multiple awards at the departmental, college, and campus level; and in 2011 she became a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America for the application of ultrasonics to materials physics. She started serving as the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in August of 2012 and became the Department Head for the department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2015.

She is an associate editor for the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America and a member of the advisory board for Acoustics Today. Keppens’ research focuses on elastic properties and lattice dynamics of magnetoelastic materials.

Deputy Director, Hanno Weitering, PhD

Hanno Weitering

JIAM's Deputy Director Hanno Weitering is a professor of physics at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he also serves as the Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Weitering is a distinguished visiting scientist at the International Center for Quantum Design of Functional Materials, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China; and spent a year as professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Weitering's research activities include studies of electronic instabilities in low-dimensional condensed matter systems, such as charge-ordering phenomena and superconductivity in ultrathin films, in addition to studies of collective excitations and transport phenomena in ultrathin films and one-dimensional conductors. He also pioneered novel kinetic pathways for substitutional dopant incorporation in magnetic semiconductors. Weitering is an expert in molecular beam epitaxy, scanning probe microscopy, and electron spectroscopy. He is an author or co-author of close to 100 research papers and book chapters. Before coming to Tennessee (1993), he spent two years as a Benjamin Franklin Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Weitering holds a doctorate in inorganic chemistry from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

To contact Dr. Weitering, call 865-974-7841 or e-mail:

ORNL Liaison, Pete Tortorelli

To contact Dr. Tortorelli, call 865-974-7841 or e-mail:



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