Anne Casper (PhD, 2005) Anne epitomizes the passionate, successful researcher and teacher. She was selected to present a seminar on her work on genome instability in yeast entitled, “Energy, Enthusiasm and Excellence: Research with Undergraduates at EMU.” Anne is an associate professor in the Biology Department at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), and is devoted to both research and education. She teaches both introductory-level and upper-level biology classes, while simultaneously directing NIH-funded research focused on genome instability using yeast as a model organism. EMU does not award PhD degrees, so most of her lab members are either undergraduate or master’s students.
Anne received her PhD in 2005 for her thesis work on mechanisms of common fragile site formation in Thomas Glover’s lab. This work was published in Cell. Her work was supported by both the Michigan Predoctoral Training Program in Genetics and an NSF Predoctoral Fellowship, a program that entails two years of postdoctoral research and one year of teaching at a university serving under-represented minorities. She completed her postdoctoral training with Thomas Petes at Duke University, and taught at Shaw University, before starting her job at EMU.
Anne credits both her teaching and research experiences for landing her current job. The most competitive candidates have sought opportunities to serve as instructors and demonstrate their expertise as educators and researchers. For trainees interested in teaching careers, Anne suggests exploring programs that combine research and teaching, much like the SPIRE fellowship program or the IRACDA (Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards) awarded by the NIH.
Anne enjoys working closely with undergraduate students and mentoring their development as scientists. “One of the best parts of my job is the variety. I am able to focus on teaching during the academic semesters and focus on research during the summer.” She recently received national accolades when the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) biology division selected her for an Honorable Mention for superior mentorship of undergraduate students in research. (Caption under photo: “Thanks to everyone in the HG department at U-M for the excellent foundation and mentorship! I enjoy opportunities to pay it forward.”