Professor of Biology, Director of James G. Martin Genomics Program
Postdoctoral, Washington University (Cellular and Molecular Biology)
Postdoctoral, Macalester College (Molecular Genetics)
Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University (Biology)
B.S. Davidson College (Biology)
I have published scores of papers about effective teaching and written two textbooks; one in genomics and the other for introductory biology. Students in my genomics classes learn how biology and medicine are being transformed by new methods that generate huge datasets and must be mined with bioinformatics tools.
In my research lab, I work closely with students on a range of synthetic biology projects. The main focus of our lab is to improve the efficiency of producing medicines so they can be cheaper to consumers. Many of my approximately 150 research students have coauthored at least one paper based on the data they generated at Davidson.
The summer 2015 team of Davidson biology and mathematics students collaborated with a team from Davidson and Missouri Western State University to invent a new method to produce medication more efficiently?coordinated a new offshoot of programmed evolution.
To expand the potential of programmed evolution, our current students are busy inventing a new method we call CellEX as an in vivo method to identify new aptamer sequences and riboswitches that can bind to novel ligands. This project will expand the capacity of investigators to use programmed evolution to optimize the production of their favorite metabolite for real-world applications. For our proof-of-concept project, students are exploring the eight-membered xanthine family of molecules.