DEGREE: PhD in biochemistry from Vanderbilt University
COURSES TAUGHT: "Medical Microbiology"
RESEARCH INTERESTS: DNA topoisomerases, interactions between chemotherapeutic agents and their cellular targets, DNA-enzyme interactions
Professor Amy is a curious person.
Right now she’s trying to figure out whether there’s a connection between bacterial infections and fetal membrane ruptures in pregnant women. She’s also researching how chemotherapy targets certain enzymes in the human body.
But what really fascinates her? Questions without answers— and students who aren’t afraid to ask them.
“I am always encouraged by the things I learn from my students, the questions that they come up with and the things they’re thinking about that lie on the edges of the sciences—the problems that haven’t been solved yet.”
She speaks highly of such students—like Betsy Breuker, who was her research assistant and extraordinary problem solver for two years. Betsy is now a first-year med student at Michigan State University.
For Prof. Amy, Calvin is just the right place for her to do cutting-edge research and develop mentoring relationships with her students at the same time.
“That it’s small enough for us to develop those relationships and also have so many research opportunities and great facilities available is really unique for a college.”
With all she does as a teacher and scientist, Prof. Amy has to work hard to maintain balance in her life. With a full-time job, two small children and a husband, it’s not always easy.“I try to be honest with my students about what it looks like to be in science and have a family.Trying to strike the balance between being a wife and a mom and a scientist is a challenge and I’m still trying to find my way in that. But it can be done.” She keeps in mind the words of a colleague, Calvin English proessor Susan Felch:
“Don't think about life as a balancing act—it's never going to be even.Think about life as a dance—some things will lead while others follow.They might even change position over time.You just have to adjust and flow.”