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Reeta Rao

Reeta Prusty Rao

Professor & Department Head-Biology & Biotechnology
Office: Gateway Park, GP 4014
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x6120
A member of the WPI faculty since 2004 and chair of the Department of Biology and Biotechnology since 2022, Reeta Rao is a leader in the field of molecular genetics and genomics. Her primary research activities are focused on emerging infectious diseases, specifically understanding and managing fungal diseases. Students and research associates in her laboratory are trained to use a variety of biochemical, molecular-genetic, and genomic tools to study host-microbe interactions to explore fungal virulence strategies and identify novel therapeutics in a high throughput fashion.&nb ... View Profile

Our Faculty

David Adams

David S. Adams

Professor-Biological Science
Office: Life Science and Bioengineering Center 4003
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5432
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

Marja Bakermans

Associate Teaching Professor
Office: 100 Institute RD
I possess a strong commitment to student education, and a goal of mine is to stimulate students' critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Recently, students and I have been on a journey to open classroom content and discussions in an interdisciplinary and inclusive way. Students are challenged to rethink their role as active knowledge producers beyond the class as students become co-authors of open educational resources. For example, students are co-authors of multiple texts, like Extinction Stories and Climate Lessons . ... View Profile
Floyd Brownewell

Floyd Brownewell

Professor of Practice- Arts, Communications, and Humanities
Office: 50 Prescott St
I have enjoyed a blended career spanning research and development, heavy chemicals manufacturing, healthcare single use manufacturing, and academia. This experience has provided a unique interface between the theoretical and the practical. I understand the need for innovation and invention coupled with manufacturability. I bring this perspective to the classroom and the projects I engage. My research interests span the interface between organic chemistry and biological function. ... View Profile
Michael Buckholt

Michael Allan Buckholt

Teaching Professor
Office: Goddard Hall 203A
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x6429
Tanja Dominko

Tanja Dominko

Professor-Biological Science
Office: Life Science and Bioengineering Center 4020
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x4108
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
Joseph Duffy

Joseph B. Duffy

Associate Professor-Biological Science
Office: Life Science and Bioengineering Center 4015
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5579
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
Natalie Farny

Natalie Farny

Assistant Professor- Biology & Biotechnology
Office: Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, 60 Prescott St, Room 4034
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x6511
My research interests broadly focus on the molecular biology of mRNA translational control – or more simply put, “why” and “how” cells regulate the translation of their mRNAs into proteins. I am particularly interested in translational control as it relates to the cellular stress response. When cells are stressed by environmental factors, such as energy deprivation, heavy metal poisoning, or extreme temperatures, they will conserve resources by restricting mRNA translation. ... View Profile
Jean King

Jean Adelina King

Dean of Arts & Sciences
Office: Salisbury Labs, 121
Dr. Jean King is the WPI Peterson family Dean in the School of Arts and Sciences. She also serves as a Professor of Biology and Biotechnology, affiliate Professor in Biomedical Engineering Department, Professor in the Neuroscience Program and Director, NeuroTech Suite at WPI. Prior to joining WPI, she was vice provost for biomedical research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; a tenured professor of psychiatry, radiology, and neurology; and director of the university’s Center for Comparative Neuroimaging. ... View Profile
Amity Manning

Amity L. Manning

Associate Professor
Office: Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center 4002
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 Mathews

Lauren M. Mathews

Associate Professor
Office: Goddard Hall 311A
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5938
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
Inna Nechipurenko

Inna Nechipurenko

Assistant Professor
Office: Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center 4037
My lab investigates signaling mechanisms of neuronal development. We are particularly interested in studying the role of the primary cilium in this context. Primary cilia are specialized filamentous structures that protrude from the surface of most human cells including neurons and mediate transduction of all major signaling pathways. Due to their central role in signaling, primary cilia are required for development and tissue homeostasis in vertebrates, and cilia defects are causal to a large spectrum of genetic disorders called ciliopathies. ... View Profile
Benjamin Nephew

Benjamin Nephew

Assistant Research Professor-Biology & Biotechnology
Office: 100 Institute RD
I work with Dean Jean King, where our research is broadly focused on identifying and studying neurobehavioral mechanisms of mental illness and developing effective interventions. We currently use functional MRI (fMRI) to identify the neural correlates of mindfulness based stress reduction as part of a stage IIa randomized clinical trial, and fMRI data combined with related clinical measures to develop machine learning based early predictors of severe depression and suicidality. ... View Profile
Karen Oates

Karen Kashmanian Oates

Professor
Office: Life Science and Bioengineering Center 3013
Phone: +1 (703) 9278376
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). I received my BS in biology from Rochester Institute of Technology and my PhD in biochemistry from George Washington University. ... View Profile
Louis Roberts

Louis Anthony Roberts

Associate Teaching Professor
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 su ... View Profile

Jill Rulfs

Associate Professor
Office: Goddard Hall 128A
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5786
Elizabeth Ryder

Elizabeth F. Ryder

Professor-Biological Science
Office: Life Science and Bioengineering Center 4024
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x6011
I have a long-standing interest in applying computer science and mathematics to solve biological problems. I am currently the Associate Director of WPI’s Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, and I am always looking for students with interests in this exciting interdisciplinary area. One of my goals in teaching biology is to help students to think more quantitatively about biological questions. A few years ago, my colleague Dr. Brian White of UMass Boston and I were awarded a grant from the NSF to develop a course, “Simulation in Biology”. ... View Profile
Scarlet Shell

Scarlet Shell

Associate Professor-Biological Science
Office: Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center 4016
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5917
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

Jagan Srinivasan

Associate Professor-Biological Science
Office: Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center GP4006
Phone: +1 (508) 8316564
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

Professor
Office: Life Science and Bioengineering Center 4018
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x4194
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 Weathers

Pamela Weathers

Professor
Office: Life Science and Bioengineering Center 4022
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5196
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 multiple journals. Her lab was the first to genetically transform A. annua. ... View Profile
JoAnn Whitefleet-Smith

JoAnn L. Whitefleet-Smith

Associate Teaching Professor
Office: Goddard Hall 203B
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5974
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

Mihail Bocka

Mihail Bocka

Lab & Greenhouse Manager
Phone: +1 (508) 8315373

Meng Le

Administrative Assistant V
Bernice Lisk

Bernice M. Lisk

Administrative Coordinator
Office: 60 Prescott Street
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x6006
Longkuan Xiang

Longkuan Xiang

Bioprocess Scientist
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5972