My philosophy is to maintain a collaborative, respectful environment
where I truly hold the title of research advisor rather than research
director. I work to provide students with the appropriate
background, skills and materials then allow them to push their
intellect and creativity by generating testable hypotheses on their own
accord. As part of being an advisor, I listen to both students
and fellow scientists, maintaining flexibility within my projects and
welcoming cooperation rather than competition.
My first of two goals is to create projects that will be appropriate
for students with a wealth of academic interests and expose students to
a variety of techniques. My current undergraduate projects
utilize research skills ranging from anhydrous organic synthesis
techniques to bacterial transformations and cloning to molecular
modeling and bioinformatics. The details of each project are on
My second goal is to work in an atmosphere that is intellectually,
economically and environmentally sustainable.
Each project I have created has opportunities for researchers with
different levels of experience and time constraints. The idea is
to either give a student a long-term license to work from the very
beginning, designing and implementing his or her own hypothesis or to
give a student the short –term opportunity to add to an objective begun
at an earlier date. The first route adds breadth to the lab while
the second route adds depth. A sense of accomplishment and the
possibility for publication are viable by either route. The
projects also utilize techniques from several of disciplines.
Input, collaboration and practical applications (including equipment)
can be gleaned from a variety of researchers. Each project has
long-range applications to medicine and disease. This appears to
be intellectually valuable to the students with medical school in their
The projects employ equipment common to many research departments and
are not dependent on one "high-ticket" item or reagent to obtain
data. They are also of broad ranging scientific interest allowing
for funding opportunities from numerous sources.
Protocols in my lab have been adapted to respect the Green Chemistry
initiative. We have changed our chromatography approach to
recycle and use less solvent and we have successfully utilized a
non-toxic fluorescent stain to visualize nucleic acids thus eliminating
the need for ethidium bromide or radioactivity.