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.
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.
This course will examine the structures and processes that contribute to the inner-workings of the cell. This knowledge helps to inform many other fields, and is vital in understanding our bodies. We will develop this knowledge through paired seminar and laboratory sections. Students will complete independent research projects to examine one aspect of the cell, and will communicate the results in oral and written formats. 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. There will be frequent readings and problem sets required to keep up with the material.
Viruses are fascinating entities that wreak havoc on every living organism on the planet, and yet they are not classified as living! We will study various types of viruses and the illnesses they cause. We will also try to purify bacteriophage viruses from Hampshire's soil and analyze them in the laboratory. Using genomics techniques and microscopy, students will identify and classify the particular bacteriophage they isolated through the course of the semester. Students will also adopt a "pet virus" to become the topic of a major literature review they will write by the end of the semester.
The cutting edge of biology and technology is headed in the direction of microscopes. Microscopes provide beautiful data about complex systems in a variety of mechanisms. However, the results can often be difficult to interpret. In this course, we will study microscopy examples that have contributed greatly to our understanding of biology. We will use a few different types of microscopes and study the physics behind the image. Additionally, we will process and analyze new microscopy data from real research laboratories to contribute to the cutting edge of research.