Dr. Brandon Vaidyanathan


Dr. Brandon Vaidyanathan is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Director of the Institutional Flourishing Lab at The Catholic University of America. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Business Administration from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and HEC Montreal respectively, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Vaidyanathan's research examines the cultural dimensions of religious, commercial, and scientific institutions, and has been published in journals such as Business and Society, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Social Forces, Social Problems, Sociology of Religion, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, and more. He is author of Mercenaries and Missionaries: Capitalism and Catholicism in the Global South (Cornell University Press, 2019) and co-author of Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think About Religion (Oxford University Press, 2019). His work has been funded by grants from the John Templeton Foundation, Templeton Religion Trust, the Lilly Endowment, and Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

He is also Founder of Beauty at Work, a media platform which includes a podcast and YouTube channel that aims to expand our understanding of beauty: what it is, how it works, and why it matters for the work we do.


Curriculum Vita


Current Projects:

Work and Well-Being in Science (Principal Investigator) 

National Study of Catholic Priests (Lead Investigator)

Exploring the Pandemic Impact of Congregations (Collaborator)

Beauty at Work (Founder) 

Spiritual Yearning in Science (Principal Investigator)

Religions and Innovations (Principal Investigator)



Selected Publications


Vaidyanathan, Brandon. 2019. Mercenaries and Missionaries: Capitalism and Catholicism in the Global South (Cornell University Press, 2019)

Ecklund, Elaine Howard, David R. Johnson, Brandon Vaidyanathan, Kirstin Matthews, Steven Lewis, Robert Thomson, and Di Di. 2019. Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think About Religion (Oxford University Press, 2019)


Johnson, David R., and Brandon Vaidyanathan. 2024. Open to talent? How scientists assess merit and diversity in hiring. Higher Education.

Nicoli, Benedetta, Stefano Sbalchiero, and Brandon Vaidyanathan. 2024. The Enchantment of Science: Aesthetics and Spirituality in Scientific WorkSociology of Religion

Ivanova, Milena, Bridget Ritz, Marcela Duque, and Brandon Vaidyanathan. 2024. Beauty in Experiment: A Qualitative Analysis of Aesthetic Experiences in Scientific PracticeStudies in History and Philosophy of Science.  

Ritz, Bridget, Di Di, and Brandon Vaidyanathan. 2024. Evoking, Grounding, and Defining: How Contemporary Scientists Connect Religion, Spirituality, and AestheticsReligions.

Jacobi, Christopher J., Zohaib Jessani, Peter Varga, and Brandon Vaidyanathan. 2024. Individual Differences in Scientists' Aesthetic Disposition, Aesthetic Experiences, and Aesthetic Sensitivity in Scientific Work. Frontiers in Psychology. 

Di, Di, Stephen Cranney, Brandon Vaidyanathan, and Caitlin Anne Fitzgerald. 2023. Religion, Spirituality, and Mental Health Among Scientists During the Pandemic: A Four-Country Study. Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. 

Vaidyanathan, Brandon, Bailey Haraburda, and Christopher Jacobi. 2023. Beauty in Biology: An Empirical Assessment. Journal of Biosciences.

Jacobi, Christopher, Peter Varga, and Brandon Vaidyanathan. 2022. Aesthetic Experiences and Flourishing in Science: A Four-Country Study. Frontiers in Psychology. 

Jacobi, Christopher Justin, Maria Andronicou, and Brandon Vaidyanathan. 2022. Looking beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: Congregants’ Expectations of Future Online Religious Service Attendance. Religions

Jacobi, Christopher, Jennifer Charles, Brandon Vaidyanathan, Emma Frankham, and Bailey Haraburda. 2022. Effects of familiarity and causal attributions on stigma towards mental illness and substance use disorders in faith communities. Stigma & Health. 

Jacobi, Christopher, Richard G. Cowden, and Brandon Vaidyanathan. 2022. Associations of Changes in Religiosity with Flourishing During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Study of Faith Communities in the U.SFrontiers in Psychology.

Jacobi, Christopher Justin, Brandon Vaidyanathan, and Maria Andronicou. 2022. Mental Health Correlates of Sharing Personal Problems in Congregations during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Khalsa, Simranjit, Brenton Kalinowski, Brandon Vaidyanathan, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2022. Science-Religion Boundaries in Indian Scientific Workplaces. Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. 

Jacobi, Christopher Justin, and Brandon Vaidyanathan. 2021. Racial differences in anticipated COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among religious populations in the US. Vaccine.

Frankham, Emma, Christopher Jacobi, and Brandon Vaidyanathan. 2021. Race, trust in police, and mental illness crisis support, Contexts.

DeAngelis, Reed T., Gabriel A. Acevedo, Brandon Vaidyanathan, and Christopher G. Ellison. 2021. Coping with an Evil World: Contextualizing the Stress‐Buffering Role of Scripture Reading. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 

Kirstin R. W. Matthews, Erin Yang, Steven W. Lewis, Brandon R. Vaidyanathan & Monica Gorman. 2020. International scientific collaborative activities and barriers to them in eight societies, Accountability in Research

Vaidyanathan, Brandon. 2020. “How minority religion can shape corporate capitalism: An emergentist account and empirical illustration.” Business and Society 59(5) 

Salazar, Esmeralda Sánchez, Brandon Vaidyanathan, Elaine Howard Ecklund, Adriana Garcia. 2019. "Challenging Evolution in Public Schools: Race, Religion, and Attitudes towardTeaching Creationism.Socius

Vaidyanathan, Brandon, Simranjit Khalsa, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2018. “Naturally ambivalent: Religion’s role in shaping environmental action.” Sociology of Religion 79(4): 472-494.

Johnson, David R., Brandon Vaidyanathan, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2018. “Structural Strain in Science: Organizational Context, Career Stage, Discipline, and Role Composition.” Sociological Inquiry 88(1):5-31.

Vaidyanathan, Brandon. 2018. “The Politics of the Liturgy in the Archdiocese of Bangalore.” Pp. 180-205 in: Catholics in the Vatican II Era: Local Histories of a Global Event. Edited by Kathleen Sprows Cummings, Timothy Matovina, and Robert Orsi. Cambridge University Press.

Vaidyanathan, Brandon, Simranjit Khalsa, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2016. “Gossip as social control?: Informal sanctions on ethical violations in scientific workplaces.” Social Problems 63(4):554-572.

Vaidyanathan, Brandon, David Johnson, Pamela Prickett, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2016. “Rejecting the Conflict Narrative: American Jewish and Muslim Views on Science and Religion.” Social Compass 63(4):478-496.

Vaidyanathan, Brandon, Michael Strand, Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Meghan Davis, Amanda Varela, and Thomas Buschman. 2016. “Causality in Contemporary American Sociology: An Empirical Assessment and Critique.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior 46(1):3-26.

Offutt, Steven, LiErin Probasco, and Brandon Vaidyanathan. 2016. “Religion, Poverty and Development.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 55(2):207-215.