What is FUNG4L?

Fungal means "of or pertaining to a fungus" which makes this lab the fungal lab, as we study fungi.

Or you can read it as fun gal, where "fun" means "a source of enjoyment... amusing... excited... playful... diversion" and "gal" is informal for girl.

As I see it, our lab is about studying fungi, having fun, and we are a bunch of gals!

It's also my license plate, for all of those reasons (and because I'm a big nerd).
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Where was Dr. Reese before CCC?

I grew up in Cooperstown, New York (a town of about 2500 people) where the baseball Hall of Fame is located.

I attended
The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio where I was a chemistry major and a music minor. For my senior thesis, I studied small molecule x-ray crystallography with Virginia Pett. My project was to determine the 3D structure of a chemical that was a mimic for vitamin B12.

After I got my B.A. (Wooster is focused on the liberal arts tradition and does not grant B.S. degrees), I worked for Habitat for Humanity for an entire year in North Carolina. My major role there involved public speaking to educate people about the benefits of Habitat for the future homeowner and the volunteers. I also helped match volunteers with projects, screened potential homeowners, made site visits, and did a fair amount of building!

I attended the
University of Minnesota graduate program for Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics to get my Ph.D. and study protein x-ray crystallography with Leonard J. Banaszak. There I compared members of a protein family that had a similar overall structure but bound different fatty acids. Based on those comparisons, I made mutations in the DNA that coded for one of the proteins to try to make it bind fatty acids more like the other one. I then expressed these proteins and solved their crystal structures.

I found that although I liked teaching crystallography, I didn't want to sit at the computer all day to do structure refinement. I then went to
Washington University School of Medicine to work in the lab of Tamara Doering in the Department of Molecular Microbiology for postdoctoral work (after you have your doctorate). The lab was interested in how the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans makes and attaches its infectious polysaccharide coating (capsule). My focus was how it sticks to the cell, and my work determined that capsule binding requires a special cell wall sugar called alpha-1,3-glucan.

Why did Dr. Reese come to CCC?

I have been interested in teaching in a small liberal arts college ever since I attended The College of Wooster for my own undergraduate work. I applied for tenure-track assistant professor positions at schools where I could do both teaching and research. When it came down to interviews, I was very intrigued by Cedar Crest's program. I was pleased to find the fluorescent and confocal microscopes, as they are very relevant to my imaging work (and not available at all small schools). I was impressed by the communication, breadth, and depth within the biology department faculty and programs. I have always been interested in issues of science access for all and have been particularly supportive of women in science. The fact that Cedar Crest College is a women's college was something special. This aspect of the College is particularly useful for training women in science!

Here at Cedar Crest College, I am interested in learning more about how the sugar alpha-1,3-glucan is made and regulated, and whether or not controlling its regulation would make it a good drug target to treat cryptococcosis. I am also interested in species of
Rhodotorula, which have a small capsule and also cause secondary infections in individuals who are already sick. The fungus is pink (which is cool), but we know even less about it than we do about Cryptococcus, so we are using cryptococcal cells as a model to study Rhodotorula cells.

Does she have life beyond CCC?

Yes, but it is just as crazy! Iona was born in June 2007 and the twins, Elspeth & Ailsa, were born in June 2010. We have a lively but fun household.
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June 2008: Iona at 1 year. Photo by Mike Ritter, Lynn Ritter's son (www.ritterbin.com).

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June 2009: Iona at 2 years. Photo by Mike Ritter (www.ritterbin.com).

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June 22, 2012 hours before the twins were born. Seriously, have you seen a larger pregnant woman? :-)

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June 2010: Iona the very proud and very good big sister with her two little sisters just a few days old (Elspeth & Ailsa).

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September 2010: Elspeth & Ailsa at 3 months. Photo on Iona's little chair.

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Christmas 2010: I am holding Ailsa with Iona and Elspeth to my left.

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June 2011: Little summer gypsies! Ailsa & Elspeth.

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Christmas 2011: Elspeth, Iona & Ailsa.
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Spring 2012: We don't tend to dress the twins alike, but Iona likes to dress like them and dressing the trio alike is hard to resist.

What else makes Dr. Reese tick?

Music. I play French horn and I sing, although lately my most musical work is in entertaining my children with various silly songs.

If I ever take a break from work and the kids, I like scrapbooking (it is kind of like keeping a lab notebook but more fun) and gardening.