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Department of Biological Sciences
100 College Drive
Allentown PA 18104
Phone: 610-606-4666, x3517
Office: Science Center 110
FAX: 610-606-4616

Teaching interests:
My teaching goals are to get students to consider the importance of microbes all around them and to embrace the fun in learning about science. I'm particularly known for doing "interpretive dance" in the classroom in order to demonstrate various concepts. I want students to leave my classes and describe them as informative, challenging, fun, and fair.

My microbiology courses include Bio 227
Microbiology for students majoring in science, Bio 127 Clinical Microbiology aimed at students in the nursing & nutrition programs, and Bio 327 Microbial Pathogenesis & Human Immunology that deals with the battle between the body and microbes. I often teach a lab section of the Bio 121 Principles of Biology introductory course. And finally, Dr. Audrey Ettinger and I coordinate sections of Bio 356 (formerly Bio 355) Science, Ethics, and Society, our senior biology capstone course.

Research interests:
My primary focus in the research laboratory is to understand more about disease-causing yeast-like fungi that have a capsule.
The first organism we study,
Cryptococcus neoformans, is found throughout the environment but causes a problem only for patients with a suppressed immune system. To cause disease, the fungal cells have to have a sugar coating (capsule). Our research is focused on the fungal cell surface; how cell wall components attach to capsule material, how these cell wall components are regulated, and how they might be interrupted as a method of disease treatment. Dr. Richard Kliman and I also have an NIH-funded research project to study codon bias in C. neoformans.

My lab is also interested in
Rhodotorula species. Very little is known about this fungus, except that it too can cause secondary infections in patients who are sick and it also appears to have a capsule. We want to learn if it binds capsule in a similar manner in which cryptococcal cells bind capsule and if we can establish a useful way in which to classify and categorize various Rhodotorula samples.

Campus service:
I serve as the Cedar Crest College Health Professions Advisor and advise students interesting in attending medical, veterinary, dental, and other health professional schools (other than our nursing student population).

I am also involved in various departmental and campus committees and activities that vary as needed or elected.