“And you may ask yourself-Well…how did I get here?”
“Once in a Lifetime”, Talking Heads (1981)
I am an Associate Professor of Immunology & Molecular Biology at the University of Southern Maine (Portland, ME) in the Department of Applied Medical Sciences. I also hold Associate Faculty in the Department of Molecular & Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences & Engineering at the University of Maine (Orono, ME). My research focuses on the development and production of autoantibodies in autoimmunity, Lupus in particular. I primarily teach Cell & Molecular Biology courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels, but also on occasion participate in teaching Immunology, Bioinformatics, and Genetics.
I have been very fortunate to have had some amazing teachers and mentors along the way that have shaped my career and professional growth. My undergraduate degree is a B.S. in chemistry from Northland College in Ashland, WI. My education and experience at Northland had a profound and lasting impact on my life. While Prof. Milt Lorber and Prof. Jim Fennessey were my primary advisors and mentors, the entire faculty and community helped to guide me personally and and professionally. It was there that I found a love for biochemistry and structure-function relationships in biological systems.
After Graduating From Northland College I entered the Ph.D. Program in Biochemistry at North Carolina State University. What a shock to go from a small college (a little over 500 students…I was one of three Chemistry majors) to a large state research university. Once I settled into Dr. Paul Agris’ Lab I was very comfortable and knew it was the right place for me. It was in Dr. Agris’ lab that I learned about and began to study autoimmunity. My project evaluated the interaction of an autoantibody-autoantigen interaction that was associated with lupus in a mouse model. This convinced me to learn about mouse models of autoimmunity and study the genetics of lupus. After completing my Ph.D., I joined Dr. Len Shultz‘s lab at The Jackson Laboratory. Here I developed my research focus on autoantibody development and characterized the flaky skin mouse mutation, which became the basis of my entire research career. After completing my postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Shultz, I joined the faculty at the University of Southern Maine and have continued my work on autoantibody production in lupus and autoimmunity.