Joseph B. Duffy

Department Head and Associate Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Gateway Park 4015

Phone: 508-831-5579, 508-831-5739

Defining signaling pathways that program cellular diversity is one of the foremost problems in biology and is central to my research interests.  In the lab we use molecular, genetic, and biochemical approaches to characterize the function of these pathways and to gain insight into their role in disease.  To date, the lab has focused on the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor network, a principal therapeutic target for a variety of human cancers. ... View Profile

Our Faculty

David S. Adams

Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Gateway Park 4003

Phone: 508-831-5432, 508-831-5543, 508-831-5023

This is a great place to do biology! WPI lies within a driving commute of 260 different biotech companies, and is located within one of the world's two main meccas for biotechnology. My lab's main interest is the use of neurotrophic factors (NTFs) as potential treatments for stroke and Alzheimer's disease. NTFs are proteins produced during development when the nervous system is initially forming, that act to help nerve cells survive and divide. Once the nervous system is formed, their synthesis typically diminishes. ... View Profile

Marja Bakermans

Assistant Teaching Professor

Undergraduate Studies

Office: 005 Goddard Hall

I possess a strong commitment to student education, and a goal of mine is to stimulate students' critical thinking and problem solving abilities. I have a well-grounded research background, which informs my teaching of interdisciplinary topics with an expertise in environmental science and conservation biology in both North and Latin America. I take an experiential approach to teaching where students receive a solid foundation of knowledge but then apply this to real-life situations. Field projects and service learning are essential components of my classroom instruction. ... View Profile

Michael Allan Buckholt

Associate Teaching Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Goddard Labs 203A

Phone: 508-831-6429

Tanja Dominko

Associate Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Gateway Park 4020

Phone: 508-831-4108, 508-831-2884

Our lab investigates the molecular basis of phenotype switching in human fibroblasts that can be modulated using defined extracellular stimuli. We evaluate the role of oxygen and growth factor FGF2 isoforms independently and in combination in order to identify key molecular mechanisms and pathways, some of which closely mimic mechanisms described in human embryonic stem cells. Extended lifespan of these cells in culture also offers us a model for investigation of molecular mechanism that are regulating cell cycle in the context of both aging and cancer. ... View Profile

Natalie Farny

Assistant Teaching Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Goddard Hall 203C

Phone: 508-831-6511

I am delighted to be part of the WPI community! One of the best things about teaching at WPI is the emphasis on practice, experience, and action. Through project work, students get the opportunity to put their classroom learning into action for the benefit of society. The students of WPI are here to change the world, and I feel privileged to be able to help give them the analytical tools they need to accomplish their goals. ... View Profile

Robert J. Gegear

Assistant Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Gateway Park 4016

Phone: 508-831-5472

Our laboratory investigates brain-behavior relationships in pollinating insects, with particular focus on the cognitive processes and brain structures that underlie foraging and the role of such processes in the evolution and maintenance of floral complexity. ... View Profile

Roy D. Hegedus

Bioprocess Lab Manager

Manager of the Bioprocess Laboratory

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center, 3014

Almost everybody likes to create new items or processes in some form, large or small. The Bioprocess Lab gives our team of researchers a chance to be creative with cell growth and protein production every day. WPI students participate in the effort and, in doing so, learn about biotechnology and the equipment which is involved. Our efforts are primarily directed to performing research and production for other professors or companies, so we operate like a small business. Thus, we provide to our lab’s students the experience of operating a business along with the biotechnology. ... View Profile

Amity L. Manning

Assistant Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center, 4025

Work in my lab is focused on defining the cellular mechanisms that maintain genome stability in normal cells and understanding how these pathways are corrupted in cancer cells. ... View Profile

Lauren M. Mathews

Associate Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Gateway Park 4006

Phone: 508-831-5643, 508-831-5938

Research in my laboratory addresses questions in the field of evolutionary ecology and environmental biology, and typically combines field work and laboratory studies. Current projects focus on two disciplines. One of the major goals of my laboratory is to understand the geographic and evolutionary processes that affect and generate biological diversity, particularly in aquatic habitats. In North America, freshwater faunas are particularly vulnerable to ecological changes because of heavy manipulation of habitats by human activity. ... View Profile

Karen Kashmanian Oates

Dean of Arts & Sciences & Prof

Arts & Sciences

Office: Salisbury Labs 121

Phone: 508-831-4677

Before joining WPI as the Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences, I was the deputy director for undergraduate education at the National Science Foundation. I was also the founding provost at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, associate dean and director at George Mason University, and the co-P.I. on a large, national dissemination grant entitled Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER). ... View Profile

Eric W. Overstrom

Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Boynton Hall, 1st Fl

Phone: 508-831-5222

A Fulbright Scholar, Overstrom joined WPI in 2004 as a professor of biology and head of the Department of Biology and Biotechnology following more than 20 years of academic service at Tufts University in the Schools of Veterinary Medicine, Medicine, and Dental Medicine. As a developmental biologist, his research has investigated the cell/molecular biology of mammalian eggs and embryos, somatic cell cloning, and assisted reproductive technologies through grant support from the NIH and USDA. His contributions in these fields have led to several patents in the field. ... View Profile

Samuel M. Politz

Associate Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Gateway Park 4023

Phone: 508-831-5028, 508-831-5027, 508-831-5543

I especially enjoy teaching when I get to know the students well and can see them learn. WPI gives me the opportunity to do this in the project system. I love teaching students in the research lab, seeing them learn that things in the real world are much more interesting than the textbook view. I get excited when I see something in the lab that doesn’t make sense. When I have made discoveries that turned out to be important, it was like walking through a room at night with the lights off. After bumping into a lot of furniture (ouch!), one eventually finds the light switch. ... View Profile

Reeta Rao

Associate Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Gateway Park 4013

Phone: 508-831-6120, 508-831-6713

My research program focuses on understanding and managing fungal diseases. We primarily study Candida albicans, an opportunistic pathogen and the most prevalent fungal pathogen of humans. It is responsible for common clinical problems including oral thrush and vaginitis, but can also lead to life-threatening systematic infections in immunocompromised individuals such as AIDS patients, resulting in 30-50% mortality rates. The estimated annual cost of treating nosocomial Candida infections exceeds $1 billion per year. ... View Profile

Kamal Rashid

Director BETC

Director, Biomanufacturing Education & Training Center
Research Professor, Department of Biology/Biotechnology

Biomanufacturing Education & Training Center

Office: Life Science & Bioengineering 2nd Fl

Phone: 508-831-4808

I have over thirty years of academic experience in both research and Biotechnology educational program development. During my career I have developed, directed and implemented biotechnology training courses at Utah State University, Penn State University and internationally. I joined Utah State University in July 2000 as the Biotechnology Center’s Associate Director and Research Professor of Toxicology. ... View Profile

Louis Anthony Roberts

Associate Teaching Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Goddard Hall, 203D

I have developed my teaching interests and philosophy throughout my scientific career, and could not be more excited to (re)join the Department of Biology and Biotechnology at WPI, from which I earned my undergraduate degree!  I truly believe the objectives of the laboratory courses I teach must reflect the necessity of (1) training life sciences majors using the wide array of current procedures used in academic and industrial settings; (2) modeling the ability to troubleshoot procedures and strategies due to unexpected results or unforeseen circumstances; (3) preparing students to be successf ... View Profile

Jill Rulfs

Associate Professor

Associate Department Head

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Goddard HAll 128A

Phone: 508-831-5786

Elizabeth F. Ryder

Associate Professor

Director, Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Gateway Park 4024

Phone: 508-831-5050, 508-831-6011

Neurobiology and genetics are my two favorite scientific subjects, and my goal at WPI is to help students discover for themselves how exciting it is to work in these areas. In the classroom, I try to introduce students not only to necessary background knowledge, but also to some of the cutting-edge research going on in these rapidly changing fields.  One of the things I enjoy most about teaching is helping students learn to read the scientific literature. ... View Profile

Scarlet Shell

Assistant Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center, 4034

Phone: 508-831-5917

I have a passion for understanding how living systems work, as well as for sharing my love of biology and research with the next generation of scientists and informed citizens. The central goal of my lab is to understand the regulatory mechanisms that underlie mycobacterial stress tolerance. We combine genetics, genomics, transcriptomics and biochemistry to understand how mycobacteria respond to, and ultimately survive, stressful conditions. Our guiding principles are curiosity, respect, and scientific rigor. ... View Profile

Jagan Srinivasan

Assistant Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: GP4026, Gateway Park, Life Sciences and Engineering Center, 60 Prescott Street, Worcester, MA 01605

It has been my lifelong dream to become a professor in the field of Biology. Being a faculty member provides a great opportunity to teach and interact with students. Students by nature are highly inquisitive and motivated, and as teachers, we have the responsibility to guide our students to explore and think in new ways. I believe that teaching is a two-way interaction between teachers and students. I come from India and my parents, both of whom were teachers, taught me to strive for excellence in my scholarly pursuits. ... View Profile

Luis Vidali

Associate Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Gateway Park

Phone: 508-831-4194

I deeply enjoy teaching, in particular conveying the important roles played by plants. It is a great reward when my students realize that plants are more complex and interesting than they anticipated, and they want to learn more. I enjoy that students at WPI are open about thinking in new ways; this critical thinking is the result of intense project-based learning. My research aims at understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying plant cell organization and growth, with the long-term goal of increasing plant productivity. ... View Profile

Pamela "Pam" J. Weathers

Professor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Gateway Park 4022

Phone: 508-831-5196, 508-831-5052

Prof. Weathers is an internationally recognized expert on Artemisia annua and artemisinin, having worked with the plant and its phytochemicals including the antimalarial drug, artemisinin, for >25 years. She is a Fellow of AAAS and SIVB, won many awards, given many national and international presentations, reviews manuscripts for many journals and proposals for many national and international funding agencies. She is an Associate Editor for two journals. Her lab was the first to genetically transform A. annua. ... View Profile

JoAnn L. Whitefleet-Smith

Assistant Teaching Professor

Senior Laboratory Instructor

Biology & Biotechnology

Office: Goddard Hall 203B

Phone: 508-831-5974

I am a self-confessed ‘lab rat’ who is happiest working in a laboratory setting answering the questions: What is that? What does it do? How does it work? My past experience has included research on organic reaction mechanisms, isolation, and characterization of red tide toxins; purification, characterization, cloning, and expression of clotting; and fibrinolytic proteins. At WPI I am employed in my dream job: lab instructor for the advanced-level BBT lab modules. ... View Profile

Our Staff

mbocka

Mihail Bocka

Lab & Greenhouse Manager

Biology & Biotechnology

kmcrowley

Kathleen Crowley

Administrative Assistant VI

Biology & Biotechnology

Phone: 508-831-5543

Cynthia Gillespie

Cynthia Gillespie

Administrative Assistant V

Biology & Biotechnology

Phone: 508-831-4176, 508-831-4111

Barbara Milanese

Administrative Assistant V

Biology & Biotechnology

Phone: 508-831-5538

Longkuan Xiang

Longkuan Xiang

Bioprocess Scientist

Biology & Biotechnology

Phone: 508-831-5972