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New Faculty Spotlight in the Bayer School

Lyndsie Ferrara, M.S., is a non-tenure track, full-time instructor in the forensic science and law program. She received her master’s degree in forensic science and law from Duquesne in 2009, and brings a wealth of real-world experience to her new position. While still a student at Duquesne she was a death investigations intern at the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office, a crime unit intern for the Pittsburgh Mobile Crime Unit, and an investigations intern at the Allegheny County Police Department. These hands-on learning opportunities prepared her for positions as a biologist at the U.S. Army Crime Investigation Laboratory, a forensics specialist/contractor for the Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), and a project coordinator at Cybergenetics, a company that is dedicated to innovative scientific research that produces unique computational approaches for automating and simplifying DNA processing for forensics solutions and genetics discovery. While working at Cybergenetics she was also employed in the Duquesne University forensics science and law program, beginning in May 2012, as a grant coordinator/program assistant and instructor. Lyndsie now joins the program full-time, and will be an integral part of fulfilling its mission to graduate the most knowledgeable and well-trained forensic science and law students possible.

Michael Huster, Ph.D., is a non-tenure track, full-time instructor in the Department of Physics, as well as the director of instructional labs for the department. He comes to Duquesne with a wealth of academic experience, most recently serving as a professor of physics at Nyack College in Nyack and Manhattan New York. Huster spent ten years as an assistant and then associate professor of physics at Simpson University in Redding, California. Prior to these positions he was a program manager at Leidos Inc. where he worked on projects related to sonar development on contracts with the U.S. Navy. He also completed post-doctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Huster holds doctorate and master’s degrees in experimental condensed matter physics from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from the University of California-Santa Barbara. Over his teaching career he has taught a wide variety of physics, physical science and astronomy courses, and at Duquesne he will teach many of the lab courses in the physics program including general analytical physics lab, optics lab and modern physics lab.

Allyson O'Donnell, Ph.D., is currently a research assistant professor at University of Pittsburgh. She will join the faculty of the Duquesne University Department of Biological Sciences as a tenure-track assistant professor beginning in January 2015. Prior to her position at the University of Pittsburgh, she was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California-Berkeley for nearly two years and at Stanford University for over five. A native of Canada, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and Master of Science degree in molecular biology and genetics from the University of New Brunswick. She received her doctorate in 2004 from Dalhousie University in biochemistry and molecular biology.

Her area of research can be explained thusly: nearly half of all prescription drugs alter G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling, including treatments for asthma, hypertension, neurodegenerative disorders and depression. β-arrestins are critical regulators of GPCRs: they act as trafficking adaptors to control GPCR endocytosis and impede G-protein signaling. β-arrestins are themselves therapeutic targets, highlighting the clinical importance of understanding arrestin function. However, β-arrestins are only a small branch of the larger arrestin family that includes the widely-conserved but functionally uncharacterized α-arrestins, the primary focus of her research.

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