I grew up in and around the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, and received my bachelor's degree in animal science from Cornell University in 1985. I then moved on to Texas A&M University where I received my Ph.D. in genetics from the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology in 1990. My dissertation involved mapping the bovine immunglobulin genes and linked loci using hybrid somatic cell genetics. After a postdoc at the National Institues of Health (NIDDK) I began my career as a biology professor at Susquehanna University in 1994. I teach genetics, microbiology, immunology, virology and "The Spice of Life" ( a non major's interdisciplinary course on the science of food and cooking). My research uses metagenomics, metatranscriptomics and traditional culture-based analyses to try to understand how soil bacterial communities impact, and are impacted by an ongoing underground coal mine fire in Centralia, Pennsylvania. I am also the assessor for two current NSF-funded UBE projects.