Faculty Members Fill Ranks in Strategic Areas, From Democracy to Sustainability


Anne E. Bromley

Damon Swift, associate professor of kinesiology, was among a group of newly hired faculty members featured in this UVA Today story.

The following is an excerpt from a story originally published by UVA Today. Click here to read the full story.


Searching for the key genes responsible for the formation of the human heart. Developing artificial intelligence technologies to help in high-stakes decision-making. Using rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo, grasses and invasive plant species in sustainable design.

Recruiting and retaining the very best researchers, teachers and mentors to the University of Virginia are among the top initiatives in the institution’s Great and Good 2030 Plan and align with recommendations of the 2020 Racial Equity Task Force, which emphasizes UVA’s commitment to broadening and strengthening excellence and the diversity of the faculty. Recently hired faculty members are already beginning to bolster UVA’s capabilities in the strategic priority areas outlined in the plan: democracy, environmental resilience and sustainability, precision medicine, the brain and neuroscience, and digital technology and society.

“These faculty are exceptional, as teachers, scholars, clinicians and mentors,” UVA Executive Vice President and Provost Liz Magill said. “They are powerhouses, each and every one, and bring with them the intellectual breadth, diversity, creativity and commitment to serve in all that they do that are the hallmarks of UVA at its best.  Their contributions will propel UVA forward in the years to come, and help us fulfill President Jim Ryan’s aspiration to be both great and good.” 

Damon Swift

Swift, associate professor in the School of Education and Human Development’s Department of Kinesiology, received his Ph.D. from UVA in 2010 and returned this summer after working at East Carolina University. He completed an NIH postdoctoral training at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Preventive Medicine in 2013.

Swift’s primary research interest is evaluating the effect of different exercise training programs on cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors. He is particularly interested the impact of exercise on weight loss, weight maintenance and risk factors for heart disease in obese and health disparity populations, he wrote in email. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. 

He’s teaching exercise interventions for chronic disease this semester.

Swift said as a UVA alum, he’s excited about watching UVA sports, enjoying the area’s restaurants and hiking. “I look forward to professionally being able to establish a research program looking at weight loss and how to help people better maintain weight loss,” he wrote in email.