B.A. Biophysics, Johns Hopkins University
Ph.D. Zoology, University of California, Berkeley
Mailing: Box 358350, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246
Biology in the 21st century is incredibly exciting: genome sequences, a much richer understanding of evolution and embryonic development, and new insights into how the mind works. These advances have wide-ranging implications: personalized medicine, genetically modified foods, stem cells, and new drugs that act on the brain. Along with these technologies come many questions: is it appropriate to use these technologies at all, and if so, when? Appreciating the excitement of modern biology requires a solid understanding of the underlying science, and an understanding of how these advances impact the natural world and human society.
My goal is to help students to develop an understanding of biology, both by communicating basic scientific information, and by establishing a classroom atmosphere that encourages questions, discussion, and exploration. Students in my classes will, I hope, engage in active discussions of current issues: how do emerging technologies affect what it means to be human? How can we - and indeed should we - use these technologies to improve out lives and the world around us?
BES 200 Biology II
BIS 393 Special Topics: Genes, Genomes and Heredity
My research focuses on embryonic development, in particular how cells in the early embryo take on specific fates. Cells can develop into skin, brain, muscle, bone, gut, or a number of other cell types: how do embryonic cells decide what they will form, and how are these individual cell decisions coordinated to generate an embryo with its tissues and organs in the correct arrangement?
My research lab has been conducted using frog embryos, which can be cultured and studied easily in the lab. My lab has studied a family of proteins called FGF receptors. These proteins protrude from the surface of cells, and detect signals released by other cells; such signals are the means by which cells within the embryo communicate with one another. Our challenge is to determine how cells interpret and respond to these signals, and how these signaling systems have evolved to help generate animal embryos.