Assistant Professor of Human Biology
Her work has focused on the structural biology of important macromolecular complexes, using techniques such as cell culture, electron microscopy, and 3D modeling. She is especially interested in viruses and bacteria that impact human health. She is the founder of the Youth Empowerment through Safer Sexuality (YESS!) program, co-founder of Hampshire's Collaborative Modeling Center, and is passionate about supporting under-represented students in science.
Slime mold is a yellow, branching amoeba that creeps around the forest floor looking for food, combining and growing, dividing and pulsing, capturing the imaginations of writers, artists, scientists, and now policymakers. In this class, we will use this slimy blob to model human problems such as climate change and resilience. Students of all disciplines and experiences are welcome to join us as we grow with our oozy collaborators and listen to what they have to say based on their half a billion years adapting on this planet. We will showcase our work at a conference about species intelligence at Harvard University in November.
Infectious diseases have killed billions of humans throughout history and have the potential to wipe us out, whether emerging naturally or from bioterrorism. In this course, students will study the basis of these diseases through the molecular mechanisms of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites. We will read primary literature to learn about the experimental processes of pathogen research and popular science books to understand the social contexts for the related diseases. It is recommended that students have taken a previous course in cellular or molecular biology, immunology, or epidemiology. Student presentations are a large component of the course.
Infectious diseases have killed billions of humans throughout history, and have the potential to wipe us out completely, whether emerging naturally or from bioterrorism. Students will read primary literature and popular science media to explore the molecular mechanisms and social impact of medically important microorganisms. Topics will be wide-ranging and interdisciplinary (e.g., nanoweapons inside microbes, how epidemics emerge, antibiotic resistance, diagnostic technology, social and political factors that contribute to human vulnerability, and public misinformation). This course is ideal for students who are ready for a deeper dive into medical microbiology but also care about the social factors of disease.
When the HIV virus was first identified as the cause of AIDS, people never imagined there would still be no cure 35 years later. What's happened in all that time? What is taking so long? In this seminar, we will read about the milestones of HIV research and discuss why finding a cure or vaccine has proven to be very difficult. Students can expect to learn about the life cycle of the HIV virus, methods of transmission, current tools for research, and social and political issues associated with the epidemic. We will examine different approaches to studying HIV and assess what is still unknown about its biology. Taking this course qualifies you to apply for the Thailand short-term field course offered by Megan Dobro and GEO in the summer. A fair warning: this is a science course taught by a biologist, with a bit of a social science lens. Students should be willing to study beginner molecular biology in this course.