Office: Wilkens Science Center, Room 309
Office hours: Monday-Friday 11:00 a.m-12:00 p.m.; Also by appointment (including ZOOM appointments). Email to schedule an appointment.
Ph.D., M.A., University of Pennsylvania; B.Sc., Long Island University
My main global aim is to use disciplines within biology (microbiology, biochemistry and molecular biology) to engage students in a process that leads to the development of critical inquiry skills. I remain cognizant of the fact that some learners have a keen interest in the specifics of the discipline and other learners may be filling an elective requirement for other majors. Some of the learners may have no intention of becoming scientists. I aim to use the discipline to provide an inclusive platform for all learners to become better critical thinkers.
What I Love About Emmanuel:
As a biologist, Emmanuel College is a very special place. We share a block of land with research institutes of Harvard Medical School, and Merck Pharmaceuticals and we have strong connections to both. We are engaged in collaborative research, faculty and students attend presentations by world renowned scientists, and both institutions provide training and employment opportunities for our students. In a more general sense, Emmanuel is a special place for me because I can see a clear alignment of our students and the mission of the College. I have taught at other institutions in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and overseas, but there is no other place where I have felt such a strong connection to mission. I find our students to be compassionate, generous, humble, and committed to social justice.
BIOL 2131/CHEM 2111 - Biochemistry
Biochemistry I is an intermediate level course that is aimed at reaching an understanding of the chemical and molecular function of living systems. It is expected that students entering Biochemistry have a good understanding of chemical principles that describe the properties of buffers, acids, bases, and structural aspects of organic chemistry as this is the starting point for understanding the chemical structure of nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. The structure of the molecules that comprise living systems is the topic of the first half of this subject. The topic of the second half is a description of the chemical and molecular basis of basic cell functions.
Learning Objectives: Students that successfully complete this subject should understand the chemical and three-dimensional structures of nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. They should understand how these molecules interact with each other to carry out specific biological function. Students should understand the chemical basis of how cells derive energy from metabolism and how biological molecules are synthesized.
Textbook: Voet, Voet, and Pratt, 2008. Fundamentals of Biochemistry, 3rd Edition, Wiley
BIOL 2151 - Marine Microbiology
Marine Microbiology is aimed at reaching an understanding of the biology of microorganisms that live in marine ecosystems. Students will examine what is known about marine bacteria, archaea, and single cell eucaryotic cells. What microorganisms are present near the coastline, in the open ocean, at coral reefs, and at deep-sea hydrothermal vents? What structural or physiological adaptations allow them to succeed? How do these organisms affect the global marine environment? What is the potential for the discovery of new bioactive and antimicrobial compounds? The laboratory includes a required travel component. The laboratory of this course will be conducted in the field in Australian coastal waters, including Australia's Great Barrier Reef. A survey of the indigenous microbial fauna will be conducted with the aim of discovering new organisms and searching for novel bioactive compounds of microbial origin.
Learning Objectives: Upon completion of this subject the student should understand unique features (metabolic/physiological, genetic, and cell structure) of microbial cells found in ecosystems of marine environments. The student should be able to describe biological adaptations that allow marine microorganisms to succeed and the impact that these organisms have on the global environment. Students should be able to culture bacteria from environmental samples, accurately record observations and critically analyze experimental results. This is a rapidly changing topic within biology and in addition to the textbook, students will be assigned reading from relevant periodicals and review journals.
BIOL 3127 - Microbiology
Microbiology is an upper level course that is aimed at reaching an understanding of the biology of microorganisms; including microbial genomics, microbial cell structure, physiology, taxonomy, microbial pathogens, and the biology of viruses. It is expected that students entering Microbiology have a good understanding of Biochemistry and Genetics as concepts from these disciplines underlie important aspects of the biology of microorganisms.
Learning Objectives: Upon completion of BIOL 3127 the student should understand the unique features of the structure of single cell microorganisms and viruses. The student should also know how cell structure affects microbial pathogenesis and the action of antimicrobial compounds. The student should understand principles of microbial growth, bacterial cell division, microbial cell signaling and microbial metabolism. The students should know about modern approaches to microbial genomics.
Textbook: Prescott's Principles of Microbiology. Willey, Sherwood and Woolverton. Mc. Graw-Hill Higher Education. 2009. ISBN 978-0-07-337523-6
Key Invited Presentations
During my research career as a biochemist/molecular biologist I have focused in two related areas of research. First, as a postdoctoral fellow with Masayori Inouye, I discovered that bacteria contain novel GTPases of unknown function. During 1985 and 1986, we named and described two of these, LepA and Era. More recently my laboratory has reported that these GTPases, along with a few others, are universally conserved in bacterial genomes. However the function of a number of these GTPases remains poorly defined. Current research in my laboratory is aimed at understanding how these proteins function.
The second area that I have contributed to has been a genetic analysis of the elongation stage of protein synthesis. In 1994 we reported a strategy to obtain informative temperature sensitive mutations in fusA, the Escherichia coli gene encoding elongation factor G. We employed these mutations in studies aimed at understanding how EF G catalyzes ribosome translocation. Our recent experiments show that it is possible to obtain informative intragenic suppressors of the ts growth defect. Our work on elongation factors has been carried out in collaboration with the laboratory of Al Dahlberg and that collaboration is continuing to grow.
During the 2012 to 2013 Academic year Dr. March's Research team employed a bioinformatic analysis to investigate the metabolic pathways that are regulated by bacterial GTPases. The results of their research were presented at the national meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Denver (May 2013).
Summer Research 2013: Kaitlyn Waters and Maura Tuohy received Emmanuel College Summer Research Fellowships to conduct research on bacterial GTPases. This summer the lab is developing a simple one-step method to construct fluorescent tagged GTPases in order to investigate their cellular localization.