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Mathematics is Focus of Two Grants C A M P U S C U R R E N T

The Marriage of Molecular Biology and Evolution NEW FACULTY

F a c u l t y N e w s

Daniel Stoebel

Daniel Stoebel has joined the HMC faculty as assistant professor of biology. Stoebel came to Harvey Mudd from post-doctoral research positions at the University of Houston and Trinity College, Dublin. He earned his doctoral degree at Stony Brook University and his undergraduate degree at Pomona College.

HMC Bulletin: How did the opportunity arise to teach at Harvey Mudd College?

Dan Stoebel: I was looking for a place that took teaching seri- ously and took research seriously, because those are both things that I like to do and want to do in my career. And too many plac- es don’t have the desire or the resources to support both of them.

HMC-B: How did you decide that molecular biology and evolu- tion would be your focus?

D.S.: As an undergrad, I’d spent summers doing fieldwork on bird ecology and realized that even though I liked being out- doors, it wasn’t really intellectually engaging to me. At the same time, I was finding that the lab stuff I was learning, about how organisms function on a molecular level, really was intellectu-

ally engaging. So I was interested in how I could bring those things together, and work about evolution at the molecular level seemed like a good fit for me. I did a Ph.D. thesis on the evolu- tion of gene regulation, and I really liked working on it, but I thought I needed to learn more from people who studied the nitty-gritty details of gene regulation. In many ways, I feel like I did a second graduate degree in terms of all the new material I had to learn as a post-doc.

HMC-B: What will students have an opportunity to learn from you?

D.S.: I’m currently teaching Bio 113, which is the molecular biology class that all the bio and chem-bio majors take. That’s a class that really focuses on how cells work at the molecular level and, in particular, how information in DNA finds its way into RNA and proteins and how those processes are controlled. Students who do research with me can study the molecular

biology of gene regulation as well as how gene regulation evolves. We’re trying to bring together these different viewpoints to un- derstand the global regulatory network as a whole, both how does it function, how did it evolve and how it affects the future ability of these organisms to evolve. I think not a lot of people try to do all of these things. It gives us the opportunity at Harvey Mudd to make a distinct contribution.

F A L L /WI N T E R 2 0 1 0 H a r v e y Mu d d C o l l e g e



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