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.
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.
This class is an advanced "choose your own adventure" to explore the visual tools in biological research. We will learn as a group about microscopes, analyzing microscopy data, creating digital models, 3D printing, and other cutting-edge methods to visualize biological data. Students will choose an ongoing independent project and participate in research group sessions to share results and work through challenges. This course is recommended for Division II or III students who would like to use visual techniques in their projects, but there are also exciting group projects to join.
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.
This course will examine the structures and processes that contribute to the inner-workings of our cells. Cells are mind-blowing, efficient little machines capable of extraordinary feats. Pairing seminar sections, lab projects, and working groups, students will explore what we know about cells, push into figuring out what we don't know, and begin to educate others. Together we will create an interactive textbook highlighting the amazing capabilities of cells.
This course will dwell in the fertile, mushy places where the boundaries between science and philosophy break down and give way for one another. Metaphors are often used to explain scientific phenomena, from describing illness in the body as Star Wars to using plant root structures as a model for human consciousness. We will explore these moments of intersection and the implications they suggest for both discipline and hybridity. In this course you will get to participate in lively discussions about the mind-blowing capabilities of organisms and cells, cyborgs for earthly survival, molecular sex design, endocrinology as avant-garde art, pharmaceutical pornography, what's wrong with saying that something is 'like cancer,' and much, much more!
Infectious diseases are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Mathematical models are increasingly being used to understand host-virus dynamics and to determine optimal control strategies for containing and eliminating infections. This co-taught course will cover the basics of virology, epidemiology, and mathematical modeling methods. Students will read primary research articles, explore with well-known models, and contribute to the field with a semester-long project in which they build and analyze their own model. Pre-requisite: Calculus is recommended but not required.