Since closing my research laboratory in 2003, I have dedicated my efforts to teaching, curriculum design and educational research. My passion is teaching metabolism from an intuitive perspective, with a strong emphasis on nutrition. I am director of the Medical Biochemistry, Medical Nutrition and the graduate Regulation of Metabolism courses. Since spring of 2007 I have led a group of dietitians, researchers and medical doctors in the development of a practical, mostly on-line Nutrition curriculum for medical students. My current research focuses on the outcomes of educational interventions on student performance and satisfaction. I am presently serving as chair of a national educational organization, the Association of Biomolecular-Course Directors.
Prior Research Program
From 1993 to 2003 my lab studied the mechanism of enzymes that alter chromosome structure. Our initial studies involved mostly steady-state and pre-steady-state kinetic analysis of DNA topoisomerase II (topo II). These studies were aimed at understanding how this enzyme utilizes the energy from ATP to transport one duplex of DNA through a transient break in another. We discovered that this homodimeric enzyme, with two identical ATP binding sites, acts asymmetrically with the two ATP hydrolyzed sequentially at different times during the reaction cycle.
These kinetic studies of topo II led us to two other projects. One of these was a genetic analysis of the involvement of topo II in the development of chromosome translocations. We developed a genetic selection for chromosome translocations using S. cerevisiae as our model organism. This selection system allowed us to analyze the involvement of DNA recombination, replication and repair proteins in chromosome translocations. The second project was a biochemical analysis of the complex of proteins that condense chromosomes. We purified and analyzed the condensin complex from yeast in an attempt to determine how it interacts with DNA and utilizes ATP in a mechanism that results in chromatin condensation.