Assistant Professor of Human Biology
Her work has focused on the structural biology of protein complexes involved in HIV infection and cell division. Her research interests include microbiology, molecular biology, microscopy, and biological illustration/animation. She is also passionate about diversity issues and traveling.
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!
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.
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.