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Faculty Profile

Dana Somers

Associate Professor of Biology (2013)

Contact Information

somersd@dickinson.edu

James Hall - Rector Complex Room 2219
717.254.8131

Bio

I teach classes in genetics, molecular biology, bioinformatics, and microbial fermentation. Research in my lab focuses on microbial genome evolution, particularly as it relates to understanding microbial ecology and biodiversity. We use functional, ecological, and evolutionary genomics to address these basic questions. In one project, my students and I are seeking to understand how climate-mediated changes in lake habitat can influence microbial communities by examining microbial diversity in Arctic lakes, a region where climate change has been particularly rapid. In another project, we are observing the evolutionary dynamics of laboratory domestication in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the related species S. paradoxus. Finally, a third project seeks to expand our understanding of yeast biodiversity by discovering and characterizing novel species of yeasts.

Education

  • B.A., Franklin and Marshall College, 2002
  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2007

2020-2021 Academic Year

Spring 2021

BIOL 132 Intro to Molecules/Genes/Cells
Labs will have some asynchronous components. 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 reading 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. This course includes 6 hours of lecture and laboratory per week and is one of two courses required of all Biology majors before completing upper level coursework. It is complementary to BIOL 131 – Introduction to Organisms, Population, and Ecosystems, and the courses may be taken in either order.

BIOL 132 Intro to Molecules/Genes/Cells
Labs will have some asynchronous components. 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.

BCMB 560 Stu/Faculty Collaborative Rsch
Student/Faculty Collaborative Research allows a student to conduct original research in close partnership with faculty collaborator(s). The project should be designed as an investigation yielding novel results that contribute to the area of study. With the faculty collaborator(s), students will develop the project and participate in all aspects fo the reasearch. It is expected that the faculty member will work closely with the student for at least half of the time the student is pursuing the research. The final project must be presented to the faculty collaborator(s) no later than one week prior to the end of the evaluation period. The course will typically earn one half or one full course credit per semester.