Alumni Profiles: Shannon Hinsa-Leasure - '04 PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology

Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, '04 alumna in Molecular and Cellular Biology, has used her research and teaching experiences as a PhD student to continue important research and clinical studies in microbiology and pathogenesis. 

During her 5 years at the Dartmouth Medical School graduate program, Hinsa-Leasure worked as a research assistant under advisor Dr. George O'Toole in the analysis of genes in biofilm formation by Pseudomonas fluorescens. She continued research under her advisor as postdoctoral research associate which then lead her to a fellowship at NASA's Center for Microbial Ecology in 2005. 

In addition to conducting research in her graduate program, Hinsa-Leasure also guest lectured for various biology courses and seminars at Dartmouth and Colby Sawyer College. Her teaching experiences lead her to Grinnell College in 2005 where she taught courses in microbiology as Assistant Professor of Biology. Her research interests and research experiences in environmental microbiology and bacteriology paved the way for a $1 million research grant from the USDA in 2016.

She is currently using the funding to work with students in her lab at Grinnell to develop technology to identify antibiotic-resistant genes and analyze DNA sequences in environments such as manure, soil, and water. Upon receiving the grant, Hinse-Leasure cited excitement to bring her student research assistants to her lab to work with advanced technology and to increase student participation in research. 

As Associate Professor of Biology at Grinnell, Hinse-Leasure brings her graduate experiences from Dartmouth to her lab to improve our understanding of bacteria, microbial diversity, and antiobiotic-resistant genes to achieve an overall healthier environment for humans.