What is your educational background?
- B.S., Biochemistry, Grove City College, 2005
- Ph.D., Vanderbilt University Department of Microbiology and Immunology, 2009
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University Department of Molecular Biology, 2009-2011
What are the main focuses of your research?
My lab studies signal detection and gene regulation in bacteria. We are especially interested in using chemical genetics to elucidate systems that monitor the integrity of the cell envelope in Gram-positive pathogens.
What specific courses or specialties do you teach?
The main courses that I teach are Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Immunology. I completed my doctoral work in a Microbiology and Immunology department, making these courses a natural choice for me. I have always enjoyed thinking about the molecular basis for biological processes, so I enjoy teaching classes that rely heavily on molecular biology and biochemistry.
I also teach a course called Contemporary Topics in Biology where students explore a new or emerging field in biology by reading and discussing scientific papers. I model this course on graduate-level courses that are literature-based. The discussion that this approach fosters is often lively and pushes students to think carefully and creatively about topics that are not fully understood. I’ve found that this is a great way to get interested in and engaged with the process of scientific discovery.
In your opinion, what is the most important piece of advice you give your students to help them succeed?
In science (and in life in general), wonder and curiosity are invaluable. While teaching a course, my hope is that the subject under consideration stimulates the curiosity of my students and helps them to develop a sense of appreciation for the complexity and beauty of biological systems.
- "Heme sensing in Bacillus thuringiensis: a supplementary HssRS-regulated heme resistance system," with Grove City College students R. M. Schmidt, M. M.Carter, M.L. Chu, C. J. Latario, and S.K. Stadler, FEMS Microbiology Letters, 363(9):fnw076 (2016)
- "Two-component system cross-regulation integrates Bacillus anthracis response to heme and cell envelope stress," with L. A.Mike, L. Q. Olive, B.F. Dutter, G.A. Sulikowski, and Eric P. Skaar, and Grove City College students J. E. Choby, P.R. Brinkman, S.J. Ivan, C.G. Gibbs, PLoS Pathogens, 10(3):e1004044, (2014)