Two New Natural Sciences Faculty Awarded Smith-Glynn-Callaway Medical Foundation Grant

The School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences is excited to welcome its newest faculty Drs. Megan Ealy (Biology) and Carina Collins (Chemistry), both of whom will start their professional teaching careers at Drury during the fall semester of 2017. Before they joined us here at Drury, however, Megan and Carina collaborated to write a grant proposal during the spring of 2017 to the Smith-Glynn-Callaway Medical Foundation (SGCMF) to support their research plans at Drury. The mission of the SGCMF is to promote education and research in medicine and the ancillary professions in the Ozarks. By the end of May, Megan and Carina received the exciting news that their proposal was funded in the amount of $12,500 towards the purchase and installation of a cell culture system needed for their research. The cell culture system will support the laboratory coursework and biomedically related research for undergraduate students in the natural sciences at Drury University. In providing a state-of-the-art cell culture system, Drury students will have opportunities to engage in biomedical research and receive training in cell culture and sterile techniques.

Megan Ealy attended Ball State University in Indiana where she received a B.S. in Biology. She then joined the University of Iowa for her graduate school career, where she studied the genetics of a form of hearing loss called otosclerosis under the guidance of Dr. Richard Smith. For her thesis work, she conducted human genetic studies to try to identify the genetic components of otosclerosis. Megan received her PhD in Genetics in 2011, and decided to continue studying hearing. In 2012, she started her post-doctoral work at Stanford University in the laboratory of Dr. Stefan Heller. During her post-doctoral training, Megan conducted human stem cell research aimed at producing the cell types found in the inner ear. “Because it is impossible to biopsy the inner ear without causing serious damage, we wanted to devise a way of studying the cells of the inner ear in the laboratory,” said Megan. During Megan’s post-doctoral experience, she realized that while she enjoys doing research, her passion lies in teaching and mentoring students. “I was excited that Drury’s mission aligns so well with my own philosophies about education and mentorship,” added Megan.

Carina Collins comes to Drury most recently from the University of Wisconsin Madison where she held a position as a postdoctoral research associate position in the lab of Dr. Marisa Otegui. While at UW-Madison, Carina studied how specific domains in the plasma membrane of plant cells can regulate signaling events during plant development. Carina received her PhD in Biochemistry in 2015 from the University of Missouri in Columbia where she studied in the labs of Dr. Scott Peck and Dr. Antje Heese to understand the biochemistry of the innate immune system in plants. Carina is a Missouri native, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at William Jewell College. During her time at Drury, Carina’s research will focus on the biochemical regulation of proteins that function in plant innate immunity. She believes that students can learn a lot about the human immune system by studying the immune system of plants and is looking forward to teaching and mentoring her students this fall.