B.S., Johns Hopkins University; Ph.D., Rice University
Louise DarlingKnafel Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences; Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Investigating membranes + membrane protein biology and dynamics in the context of human health
My interdisciplinary research progam examines interactions with and transport/communication across the plasma membrane including the actions of antimicrobial peptides, ion channels, and transport proteins. Our investigations leverage expertise and experience in bioengineering, cell biology, and quantitative fluorescence microscopy with project outcomes relating to regenerative medicine, rational design of peptides, and creative microscopy and analyses, all towards developing improved therapeutic approaches for a variety of human diseases and conditions. In the lab, we use classical biochemistry and cell biology techniques in parallel with fluorescence microscopy to study protein functions. 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 cell biology. I typically teach a lecture (and sometimes laboratory) section of introductory cell and molecular biology (BISC 110) as well as cell biology (BISC/BIOC 220). I also teach an upper-level course, biological microscopy with laboratory (BISC 329), which takes an interdisciplinary approach to examine how scientists address physiologically significant questions using microscopy and imaging approaches.
I am a member of the Wellesley Biological Sciences Department, the Advisory Committee for the Biochemistry Program, and the Engineering Studies Advisory board. I am dedicated to Wellesley's inclusive excellence initiatives and adopting pedaogical best practices in STEM. My professional interests also include science literacy and the public perception of science and medicine.
At home, I spend my time with Eric Darling (bioengineering faculty at Brown University), our two young children, and our dog, all of whom provide endless entertainment. I try to keep active as a “retired” competitive swimmer and go running and hiking. I also enjoy gardening, birding, and reading science-related nonfiction (when there is time!).