As of September 1st, the Department of Biological Sciences has a new Associate Professor! Dr. Amy Abell was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Dr. Abell began her research career as graduate student studying the structure and function of G protein coupled receptors that are essential for reproduction. During her post-doctoral training, she created a mouse model with defects related to perturbations in epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), a biological process controlling the conversion of stationary epithelial stem cells to motile mesenchymal cells. Importantly, EMT is essential for normal development, but it is reactivated in several pathologies including organ fibrosis and cancer metastasis. Dr. Abell teaches undergraduate courses on the Biology of Stem Cells, and Molecular Biology of the Gene as well as a graduate course entitled Stem Cells: Culture/Application. Dr. Abell's lab uses stem cells that she has isolated from mice with EMT-related defects to define the signaling/gene expression networks regulating EMT. One goal of her research is to identify novel master regulators of EMT and the reverse process MET. This information will be used in designing new strategies for regenerative medicine and the treatment of EMT related pathologies. Projects in the lab use molecular, cellular and embryological tools to identify regulators of EMT. Read more about Dr. Abell's lab
Dr. Duane McKenna receives The William Hill Professorship in Biology
At the Fall College of Arts and Sciences Faculty meeting, Dr. Duane McKenna was presented with The William Hill Professorship in Biology for his consistent and extraordinarily high level performance in terms of research and external funding, teaching, and service to his department and the university. This endowed professorship will be indefinitely renewable every five years, based upon his continued excellence in research, teaching, and service. Dr. McKenna’s research interests include the phylogeny and evolution of insects, the genomic basis of plant-feeding in beetles, and interactions between beetles and plants on ecological and evolutionary time scales. Dr. McKenna, who joined the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Memphis in 2010, received his a BS in Biology and Chemistry from Western Michigan University, an MS in Entomology from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and his PhD in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University. Dr. McKenna teaches a number of course including Evolution, Entomology, and new course this year - Biodiversity.
The William Hill Professorship in Biology is named for the late William D. (“Billy”) Hill and was established using a gift to the college from the Hill-Clayton Trust. Mr. Hill lived in Memphis for most of his life and attended Memphis Public Schools, worked for Buckeye Cellulose Corp, and was a sergeant in the Army Air Force during WWII. Congratulations Dr. McKenna! Read more about Dr. McKenna's work