Research Philosophy

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.   

Research Goals:

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 subsequent pages.

My second goal is to work in an atmosphere that is intellectually, economically and environmentally sustainable.  

Intellectual sustainability. 
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 future.

Economic sustainability
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.

 Environmental sustainability
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.