Amy Frary's research focuses on studying the genetic architecture and evolution of plant genomes, largely through the analysis of quantitative traits and comparative genome mapping. She is equally at home among biologists who work at the molecular level and chemists who work at the biological level. Frary has worked with students on the Howard Hughes Summer Research Training program on such topics as the DNA fingerprinting of plants.
Jason Andras is interested in the ecological and evolutionary interactions between animals and their microbial symbionts. His previous research has explored these themes in deep-sea hydrothermal vent and coral reef communities. His current research focuses primarily on the coevolution between freshwater zooplankton of the genus Daphnia and one of their highly specific bacterial parasites, Pasteuria ramosa.
Katie Berry’s research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of how organisms adapt to cellular stress by regulating the expression of their genes. She is especially interested in how regulatory RNA molecules in bacteria collaborate with cellular proteins in their function, and is developing new tools to study bacterial RNA-protein interactions. Berry and her students investigate the interactions and activities of small, regulatory RNAs in test tubes and inside of living cells to uncover their mechanisms of action.
Kyle Broaders' research interests focus on the interaction of living cells with their material surroundings. He employs the tools of organic synthesis to prepare materials with tailored properties like shape, stiffness, permeability, or response to external stimulus. The responses of cells to these designed properties allows him to assay the way they integrate information about their surroundings and make behavioral choices.
Amy Hitchcock Camp investigates how bacteria—once assumed to be antisocial organisms—“talk” with one another to coordinate complex biological processes. In particular, she studies a bacterium, Bacillus subtilis, that can transform itself into a dormant and nearly indestructible spore. Using molecular, cellular, genetic, and biochemical techniques, the Camp Lab “eavesdrops” on sporulating cells to discover the elegant and unexpected ways that they communicate and control gene expression.
Professor Wei Chen works with her undergraduate research students in the context of Materials Chemistry. The research centers around modifying the surface chemistry of natural and artificial materials for industrial and biomedical applications, such as enhancing surface wettability, improving the biocompatibility of implants, and designing microchips for disease detection. The selected projects are contemporary, relevant, and feasible for beginning researchers. The research methodologies are interdisciplinary applying the tools of organic, analytical, physical, and biological chemistry.
Darren Hamilton and his students use the tools of synthetic organic chemistry to prepare molecular systems with designed properties or functions. These molecular systems can bind and transport, or bind and recognize, a species of interest. Current projects involve the preparation of transport systems for metal ions employed in medical imaging techniques, as well as the development of a prototype molecular construct for carbohydrate recognition. Hamilton's research with undergraduate students has been published most recently in the Journal of Organic Chemistry, Crystal Growth and Design, and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Kathryn McMenimen is interested in the chemical interactions that underlie biological systems. Her research group uses tools at the interface of chemistry, biochemistry, neuroscience, and biophysics to study one type of molecular chaperone, the small heat shock proteins. McMenimen is particularly interested in protein homeostasis and how dysfunction of molecular chaperones contributes to protein misfolding diseases, such as, cataracts, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other neurological diseases.
Alan van Giessen -- on sabbatical Fall 2016-Spring 2017
Alan van Giessen uses theoretical and computational techniques to understand the structure and thermodynamics of both complex and simple systems. His research focus has focused on the destabilization of a test protein and its potential to provide a mechanism for nucleating misfolded aggregates complicit in diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Huntington's Disease. A second area of focus is the energetic properties of curved interfaces, such as liquid drops or micelles. Van Giessen teaches a wide range of courses including both general chemistry and physical chemistry and including a seminar course entitled “Poisons: Death by Chemistry”.
Craig Woodard’s research group examines metamorphosis in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, in an attempt to understand how steroid hormones control biological processes such as development, programmed cell death, tissue remodeling, and insulin signaling. By examining the mechanisms by which ecdysone regulates fly metamorphosis, Woodard hopes to gain a better understanding of how steroid hormones control biological processes in all animals.
Dina Bevivino is the Department Coordinator for the Biochemistry Program and the Chemistry department. She provides assistance to the chair of the Biochemistry Program and the Chemistry Department. She assists students with class permissions and major declarations, etc. Dina also plans events for the majors and department awards presentations.
Laurie Lentz-Marino earned her Master's, MA Chemistry in 2001 from MHC, under Dr. Cotter in organometallic chemistry and her BA in Biology from Temple University. She strives to update and adapt real world applicable exercises in biochemistry labs. She is the co-author along with Dr. Stephanie Seneff, an MIT professor of computer science, on three papers both concerning sulfur biochemistry in nutrition.
Jeffrey Knight is the editor of both volumes of Encyclopedia of Genetics, the author of numerous articles, and a contributor to many textbooks and encyclopedias. His current research interests include mitochondrial ribosomal biogenesis in yeast, the fine-structure analysis of mitochondrial genes in yeast, and genetically engineered ribozyme expression in yeast.