If you will excuse the strained metaphor, my route in microbiology has been more “tumbles” than “runs.” After earning my B.A. in Biology at UCLA, Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Stanford, and completing postdoctoral work at UC San Diego, I eventually worked in biotech for nearly ten years. Then I returned to academia against steep odds.
To return to my microbiological metaphor, I chemotactically arrived as a tenured biology professor in the Pacific Northwest, teaching courses on microbiology, symbioses, and introductory cell and molecular biology. My classroom focus is both conceptual and “ownership based” (I encourage creative “science art” in myriad forms to encourage engagement, ownership, and accomplishment). In my undergraduate research lab, we study bacterial predators, bioluminescence, and symbiosis. My laboratory has been a proven incubator of student success; I have sent 24 of my research students to Ph.D. programs, and five are currently in faculty positions. To me, individual students and their successes are everything.