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Profile: Erin Morris

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Erin hard at work in the laboratory. ©AMNH

Erin Morris earned her Ph.D. in molecular plant genetics from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2004. She is currently a member of the biology department at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas and has previously taught at St. Lawrence University and Monmouth College.

After attending Drury University as an undergraduate, she headed to grad school with a love for genetics, but was unsure about which field she wanted to pursue.  At MU she ended up in the world of plant genetics, despite the fact that she had no previous experience working with plants. But, she soon realized that plants are a great system for investigating molecular biology questions.

Erin’s thesis project used Arabidopsis as a model system to study molecular signal transduction pathways. Her main research focus was on how proteins interact in pathways to convert extracellular messages into intracellular changes. With current genomic databases ranging from yeast to humans, we are seeing that many of the proteins used signaling pathways are evolutionarily conserved.

Erin is continuing her dissertation research by involving her undergraduate students in research projects, and has received funding from NSF Research Opportunity Awards to do research during her summers off. She has been involved with the Advanced Placement program as an exam grader for the past three years, and will be collaborating with a high school AP Biology teacher in a concurrent enrollment program this fall.

While the move to Kansas puts Erin back near where she grew up in the Midwest, she is far away from AMNH, but takes every chance she get to travel to New York and enjoy the museum.


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