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Reeta Rao

Reeta Prusty Rao

Professor & Department Head-Biology & Biotechnology
Office: Life Science and Bioengineering Center 4013
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x6120
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

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. 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 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
Amity Manning

Amity L. Manning

Assistant Professor
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 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

Assistant Professor
Office: 100 Institute Road
Karen Oates

Karen Kashmanian Oates

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 success ... 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 4034
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

Associate 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

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 two 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
Kathleen Crowley

Kathleen M Crowley

Administrative Assistant VI
Phone: +1 (508) 8316491 x6491
Longkuan Xiang

Longkuan Xiang

Bioprocess Scientist
Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5972