May 17, 2022

Welcome, Dr. Marcy Balunas!

Dr. Marcy Balunas is an incoming Associate Professor at the University of Michigan Department of Microbiology and Immunology, with a joint appointment in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry (pending). Dr. Balunas’ research group focuses on host-associated microbial communities as unique sources for natural products drug discovery, using these to search for new, targeted drug leads and to address critical questions within the broader field of chemical ecology. Her research ties together an in-depth understanding of how specialized metabolites function in their environment with the application of these insights to discover new medicines for a wide range of human diseases. Dr. Balunas received a dual B.A./B.A. degree in Chemistry and Biology from the University of Rochester, a M.S. degree in Plant Ecology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a Ph.D. degree in Pharmacognosy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She conducted her postdoctoral research on marine natural products drug discovery at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego in conjunction with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City, Panama. Dr. Balunas began her independent career at the University of Connecticut Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 

Marcy and her wife Kim Diver (soon to be a Lecturer III at UM in SEAS and PITE) are coming to Ann Arbor with their eight-year-old daughter, Ellie. They love all things outdoors - camping, kayaking, swimming, hiking, biking, exploring, gardening, skiing, snowshoeing to name a few. Cooking, baking, reading, crafting, and music are just a few of their indoor pursuits. They love to travel and are looking forward to resuming their adventures. Marcy and family are looking forward to joining the Ann Arbor community again after their 2018 sabbatical where they enjoyed much of the AA life including music, community, restaurants, and more. Marcy has lived in many places - born in Colorado, grew up and university in upstate NY, then to Chicago for PhD (but then to Columbus OH when her advisor moved), living and working in Panama for her postdoc, then to La Jolla CA before moving to CT these last 12 years. Kim is from Onsted MI, and they are thrilled to be moving closer to family! A warm welcome to Marcy, Kim, and Ellie!