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.
When the HIV virus was first identified as the cause of AIDS, people never imagined we still wouldn't have a 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. 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 cell and molecular biology but no prior background is assumed.
This course will examine the structures and processes that contribute to the inner-workings of the eukaryotic cell. This knowledge is vital in understanding our bodies and helps to inform many other fields. We will develop this knowledge through paired seminar and laboratory sections. Students will complete independent research projects to examine one detailed aspect of the cell, and will communicate the results in oral and written formats so others will learn the breadth of cellular capabilities. Much of the lab work will take place in smaller groups outside of the scheduled class time, so students should expect to spend more hours outside of class compared to other courses. This course is designed with an active learning, flipped classroom approach, so students should come prepared to learn a lot of the content through independent activities rather than lectures or textbooks.
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.