B.S., Johns Hopkins University; Ph.D., Rice University
Louise DarlingKnafel Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences; Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Examining the localization and interactions of membrane proteins implicated in human health and disease primarily via fluorescence microscopy.
My research focuses on ion channel and transporter proteins that are important in human physiology and disease. We are currently interested in cardiac potassium channels, which are responsible for maintaining and regulating a normal heartbeat. Our investigations are addressing whether protein-protein interactions between these channels play a role in arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death as well as in normal physiological conditions. In the lab, we use classical biochemical approaches in parallel with modern bioimaging techniques, predominantly fluorescence microscopy, to study protein function and cell biology. Practically, we spend much of our time genetically or chemically labeling proteins with fluorescent molecules and then monitoring and quantifying their localization, mobility, and interactions in cellular systems.
I teach at all levels of the Wellesley curriculum with a focus on the interdisciplinary nature of modern cellular biology. I typically teach a lecture and laboratory section of introductory cell and molecular biology (BISC 110/112) as well as cell biology (BISC/BIOC 220). I also teach an upper-level seminar course on modern biological imaging (BISC 328), which examines how scientists and clinicians address physiologically relevant questions using imaging-based modalities.
Other academic pursuits include courses focused on how science, engineering, and biotechnologies are implemented to address global health issues in both the developed and developing world. I am also becoming increasingly interested in science literacy and the public perception of science and medicine.
At home, I enjoy spending time with my husband (bioengineering faculty at Brown University), my son, and our two dogs, all of who provide endless entertainment. I try to keep active as a “retired” competitive swimmer and have taken up running half-marathons. I enjoy baking, gardening, and reading science-related nonfiction.