Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Neil Greenberg

Professor Emeritus


1973 - Ph.D., Rutgers University


Born in Newark, N.J. in 1941. Family moved to Union, N.J. and graduated Union High School 1959. BA, Drew University class of 1963 and then Rutgers University, Departments of Zoology and Psychology, PhD 1963. Spent 5 years at Paul D. MacLean’s Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior at the National Institute of Mental Health. While there he was also appointed a Research Associate at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. In 1978, Greenberg joined the faculty of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he served as professor and chairman of the University Studies Program, a university-wide interdisciplinary faculty and curriculum development program. He has held adjunct faculty appointments in the Graduate School of Medicine and the Department of Psychology. He is now Professor Emeritus. Current research emphasizes ethology theory, physiological stress and behavior, and the application of ethology to naturalize existential phenomenology as it applies to higher education. Most recent effort in that area is co-author of The Phenomenological Heart of Teaching and Learning: Theory, Research, and Practice in Higher Education. New York: Routledge (2018).


I take special interest in the physiological and evolutionary ethology of aggressive and reproductive behavior and its role in the regulation of social organization. In particular, the manner in which neuroendocrine integration of physiological stress-sensitive autonomic reflexes and fragments of motor patterns become elaborated and progressively brought under the control of external stimuli and higher neural centers. The physiological causes and consequences of social interactions. The role of physiological stress in the evolution and expression of complex behavior.

Departmental, Division and University Activities

  • Faculty and Chair, University Studies Transdisciplinary Program

Grants, Awards, and Other Professional Support

  • “Threshold Program in Biomedical Science.” Hughes Biomedical Research Institute, HHMI# 71195-539601; PD ($1,400,000).
  • Deputy Chair Intellectual and Cultural Expression Focus Area
  • Hewlett Innovative Teaching Fellowship for creative curriculum development. PI; ($5,000 plus Summer Training Institute)
  • “Neuroendocrinology of Reptilian Social Dominance.” University of Tennessee Professional Development Award; PI ($5,000).
  • “Neural coordination of arousal and exploratory behavior.” University of Tennessee Faculty Research Grant ($5,500)
  • Life Sciences Graduate Program in Ethology Training Grant; Core Faculty, PD, G.M. Burghardt) ($391,975)


Awards and Recognitions

  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. (Citation reads, in part, “.. . for exemplary ethological research on the causes and consequences of social behavior and for innovative efforts to illuminate the relations between biology and the humanities)
  • Associate Fellow, University of Tennessee Center for Academic Excellence;
  • Recipient, University Studies Scholar’s Award, acknowledging excellence in transdisciplinary research and teaching

Contact Information

  • 569 Dabney Hall
  • Mailing Address: 1416 Circle Drive; 569 Dabney Hall, Knoxville TN 37996
  • Phone: 865-974-3065
  • Fax: 865-974-3067
  • E-mail:
  • Personal Website