Faculty Profile

David Kushner

Associate Professor of Biology (2003)

Contact Information

kushnerd@dickinson.edu

Rector North Room 1302
717.245.1328

Bio

He teaches courses in microbiology, virology, and RNA biology. His research combines genetics and cell and molecular and biology with modern genomic and bioinformatic approaches to understand interactions between viruses and their hosts, and also uses evolution-based approaches to understand the relationship between viral RNA sequence, structure, and function.

Education

  • B.S., Haverford College, 1993
  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1998

2018-2019 Academic Year

Fall 2018

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

BIOL 326 Microbiology w/Lab
Molecular biology, genetics, and biochemistry (structure and function) of bacteria, archaea, and viruses. Includes an introduction to the immune system and mechanisms of medical control of microbes. Molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis are addressed via readings from the recent primary literature. Laboratory exercises include the isolation and characterization of unknown bacteria using traditional and molecular methods, and modern genomic approaches to characterizing host response to infection. Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: One 200-level BIOL course. For Neuroscience majors, prerequisite is NRSC 200.

Spring 2019

BIOL 132 Microbiology and Immunology
This introductory course approaches core biological themes from the molecular and cellular level, and is complementary to BIOL 131, Introduction to Organisms, Populations, and Ecosystems. Course content will be focused around a specific theme determined by the instructor, and will include biomolecule and cell structure and function; cell signaling and communication; chromosome and gene structure; DNA replication; transcription; and translation. The course will involve lecture, discussion, and readings from scientific literature. Laboratory exercises include both classic and modern approaches to cellular and molecular biology utilizing prokaryotic and/or eukaryotic organisms. The laboratory will stress the discovery approach in applying current techniques to biological experiments. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This is one of two courses required of all Biology majors before completing upper level coursework. It is complementary to BIOL 131 – Introduction to Organisms, Populations, and Ecosystems, and the courses may be taken in either order.

BIOL 132 Microbiology and Immunology
This introductory course approaches core biological themes from the molecular and cellular level, and is complementary to BIOL 131, Introduction to Organisms, Populations, and Ecosystems. Course content will be focused around a specific theme determined by the instructor, and will include biomolecule and cell structure and function; cell signaling and communication; chromosome and gene structure; DNA replication; transcription; and translation. The course will involve lecture, discussion, and readings from scientific literature. Laboratory exercises include both classic and modern approaches to cellular and molecular biology utilizing prokaryotic and/or eukaryotic organisms. The laboratory will stress the discovery approach in applying current techniques to biological experiments. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This is one of two courses required of all Biology majors before completing upper level coursework. It is complementary to BIOL 131 – Introduction to Organisms, Populations, and Ecosystems, and the courses may be taken in either order.

BIOL 427 Virology
An introduction to the molecular and cellular biology of viruses. Topics of study include the life cycle of viruses in general and their relationships with their hosts, including the processes of attachment to, entry into, genomic replication within, and exit from, cells. Aspects of pathogenesis, disease, the immune response to viruses, and vaccines, also will be studied. Related topics (such as prions, RNA interference, and public health issues) may be discussed. Regular reading and discussion of primary literature will complement the lectures. Three hours classroom a week. Prerequisite: 213, 216, 313, 316, 318, 326 or 327.