Texas Tech Experts Study Bats, Vampires, Death and More

With Halloween less than two weeks away, Texas Tech University has experts available in a variety of spooky specialties, ranging from bats and vampires to law and the shopping forecast.


Robert J. Baker, Horn professor emeritus in the Department of Biological Sciences and curator of mammals emeritus in the Natural Science Research Laboratory (NSRL), robert.baker@ttu.edu

Caleb D. Phillips, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and curator of genetic resources in the NSRL, (806) 834-8181 or caleb.phillips@ttu.edu

  • Phillips and Baker published a study in 2015 describing previously unknown ways that vampire bats’ saliva had evolved specifically for blood-feeding with gene products that numb the bite site and prevent blood clotting.

Liam McGuire, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and research associate at the NSRL, (806) 834-5129 or liam.mcguire@ttu.edu

  • McGuire is one of six investigators on a federally funded study of white-nose syndrome, which has killed millions of bats in the last decade.

Phillips and McGuire also are studying the ecological drivers, mechanisms and consequences of seasonal variation in the bat populations of the Hill Country’s Frio Cave with the assistance of graduate students.

Tigga Kingston, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and research associate at the NSRL, (806) 834-2594 or tigga.kingston@ttu.edu

  • Kingston studies the diversity of insectivorous bats of Southeast Asia and how those species are maintained and preserved in the face of human disturbance.


Tamra Walter, associate professor of archaeology and anthropology graduate program director in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, (806) 834-0615 or tamra.walter@ttu.edu

  • Walter teaches a course on the archaeology of death, which focuses on the mortuary practices and death ritual in both modern and prehistoric cultures. The class examines death customs and belief systems surrounding death and the afterlife.
  • Other topics include cannibalism, human sacrifice, burial practices and the material correlation of those practices in the archaeological record, and how vampire myths in the 16th to 18th centuries impacted the treatment and burial of bodies.

Ghosts, legends and the devil

Genaro J. Perez, professor of Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, (806) 834-1003 or genaro.perez@ttu.edu

  • Perez can speak about ghosts, legends and the devil in Mexican literature.
  • He will teach a course on Hispanic fairy tales in spring 2017.

Halloween shopping

Debbie Laverie, professor of marketing in the Rawls College of Business, (806) 834-3953 or debbie.laverie@ttu.edu

  • Laverie can discuss the economic outlook for retailers and how much consumers will spend this Halloween.

Horror in film

Rob Weiner, pop culture librarian for the Texas Tech University Library, (806) 834-5126 or rob.weiner@ttu.edu


Vickie Sutton, Horn professor of law and director of the Center for Biodefense, Law & Public Policy, School of Law, (806) 834-1752, vickie.sutton@ttu.edu

  • In her 2013 book, “Reel Bio-horror: The Things that Keep Us Up at Night,” Sutton analyzes 47 films from the subgenre, discusses the psychology, law and science of the bio-horror bio-thriller.
  • In her 2012 book, “Halloween Law: A Spirited Look at the Law School Curriculum,” Sutton exhumes cases that illustrate the subjects – many of which revolve around Halloween — first-year law students are expected to master.
  • She has a teaching series called “Halloween Law School.”
  • Sutton also wrote, directed and produced a romantic comedy, “The Halloween Store Zombie Wedding Movie,” now available on Amazon Video.

Movie scores

Roger Landes, professor of practice, founding director of the Balkan Ensemble and assistant director of Celtic Ensemble, School of Music, (806) 834-7844 or roger.landes@ttu.edu

  • With another music professor, Landes created a score for the 1922 vampire film “Nosferatu” and directed the Balkan Ensemble during a live screening of the silent movie.
  • He can speak on the power of music to create suspense, fear and horror in filmography.
  • He says expertly crafted music and sound design can not only create and underscore a film’s emotional environment, it can also magnify its effects and even convince viewers they see something not actually on the screen.


Erin Collopy, chair of the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, (806) 834-8497 or erin.collopy@ttu.edu

  • Collopy teaches a class on the vampires of Slavic and Eastern European folklore and the development from the folkloric vampire into the literary and cinematic monster of western culture.
  • Her research for publication is on the vampire in East Slavic folklore and in contemporary Russian popular culture. She addresses the cultural and societal fears and desires expressed by the vampire in folklore, literature and film.

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Arts & Sciences

The Texas Tech University College of Arts & Sciences was founded in 1925 as one of the university’s four original colleges.

Comprised of 15 departments, the College offers a wide variety of courses and programs in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, mathematics and natural sciences. Students can choose from 41 bachelor’s degree programs, 34 master’s degrees and 14 doctoral programs.

With just under 11,000 students enrolled, the College of Arts & Sciences is the largest college on the Texas Tech University campus.

In fall 2016, the college embarked upon its first capital campaign, Unmasking Innovation: The Campaign for Arts & Sciences. It focuses on five critical areas of need: attracting and retaining top faculty, enhancing infrastructure, recruiting high-potential students, undergraduate research and growing the Dean’s Fund for Excellence.


Rawls College of Business

The Rawls College of Business accounts for about 25 percent of Texas Tech graduates.

The college has a full-time teaching staff of roughly 100 in seven academic areas: accounting; energy, economics and law; finance; health organization management; information systems and quantitative sciences; management; and marketing.

The college offers an accredited weekend MBA for Working Professionals program.

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College of Media & Communication

College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech offers undergraduate degrees in various communications-related disciplines including:

The College also offers graduate degrees in communications to prepare students for careers in the communications industry, communications research and academia.

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University Libraries

Texas Tech University Libraries provide the latest technology-based services for the Texas Tech community.

Extensive collections include more than 2.5 million volumes, subscriptions to major periodicals and several hundred specialized, online databases, e-journals and e-libraries.


Museum of Texas Tech

Museum of Texas Tech

The Museum of Texas Tech University was established in 1929.

It consists of the main Museum building, the Moody Planetarium, the Natural Science Research Laboratory, the research and educational elements of the Lubbock Lake Landmark, and the Val Verde County research site.

The museum also offers masters degrees in Museum Science and Heritage Management and a wide variety of educational programs for the general public.


Texas Tech School of Law

The Texas Tech School of Law is a leader among Texas law schools with a 16-year average pass rate of 90 percent on the State Bar Exam.

A small student body, a diverse faculty and a low student-faculty ratio (15.3:1) promotes learning and encourages interaction between students and professors.


School of Music

The School of Music

The School of Music is part of the J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts.

Faculty includes a performing specialist on all band and orchestral instruments as well as piano, voice, organ, harp and guitar, and specialists in conducting, composition, electronic music, music education, musicology, world music and music theory.