Mary Allen

Jean Glasscock Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences

A microbiologist, now retired from teaching in the classroom, but continuing research on cyanobacterial biochemistry with undergraduate colleagues.

Since retiring from classroom teaching in 2009, I have continued my research on cyanobacterial biochemistry, and the responses of the microbes to changes in their environment, with my undergraduate student colleagues (in 2012-2013 I am mentoring two honors students in their thesis research). The Allen lab is currently studying biofilm formation in cyanobacteria. The lab is observing biofilms growing in flow chambers using confocal microscopy and assaying for quorum sensing molecules. Differences in motile and non-motile strains and phototaxis abilities are being analyzed. I have a current collaboration with Prof. Jean Huang at Olin College of Engineering.

My most enjoyable teaching is mentoring students in my research laboratory. I am a microbiologist who taught microbiology, microbial physiology and biochemistry, cell biology and a series of microbial seminars. I was awarded the Wellesley College Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 1986 and the American Society of Microbiology Carski Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award in 1995.

I am a past president of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), a national professional organization that encourages research in the undergraduate environment. I served on the Pew Science Advisory Committee, the NSF BIO Advisory Committee, and on two HHMI Undergraduate Science Education Advisory Panels, chairing one, three Beckman Scholars Advisory Panels, and currently continue to serve on the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Life Sciences Research Initiation Grants Panel.

I enjoy traveling, cross country skiing, kayaking, reading mysteries (especially with microbial villains) and relaxing in the New Hampshire cottage that my husband and I built of light-weight concrete.