Ph.D. Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco (1988)
Sc.B. Biology, Brown University, Providence, RI (1978)
Other Professional Training
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Molecular Biology, Princeton University (1988-1992)
Student, Embryology Course, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA (Summer, 1982)
I have taught a variety of courses in molecular, cellular, developmental and organismal biology at several institutions across the country. At Amherst, I am currently responsible for the laboratory component of the Biology 191 course (Molecules, Genes and Cells). In this course, students obtain a comprehensive introduction to many key biological concepts and underlying scientific approaches and methodologies. I also assist with student learning in other parts of the course (e.g., the Team-Based Learning discussion sections and a Study Group for underprepared students). In addition, I participate in the annual Summer Science Program for incoming first-year students.
The central theme of my scientific research has been the development and function of mammalian cells. Research questions that I have addressed include the identification and function of human T lymphocyte subtypes, the expression of intermediate filaments during preimplantation mouse development, the transcriptional control of liver gene expression in mice, stage-specific gene expression in postimplantation mouse embryos and the function of the Wnt signaling pathway in the maintenance of the intestinal epithelium of adult mice. My current research interests are focused on biology education and more fully engaging students in their learning, and I regularly attend and present workshops at national biology education conferences.
Emerson, J.A. and Emerson, A.E. (2018, submitted) What’s wrong with our son? An integrative case study in genetics, molecular and cell biology. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.
Emerson, J.A. (2017) A fast and fun method for studying plant vascular tissue. In: McMahon K, editor. Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching 38: Article 30. Proceedings of the 38th Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE).
Elgin, S.C.R., Hauser, C., Holzen, T.M., Jones, C., Kleinschmit, A., Leatherman, J. & The Genomics Education Partnership (Contributing Authors ...Emerson, J. A....) (2017) The GEP: Crowd-sourcing big data analysis with undergraduates. Trends in Genetics 33: 81-85.
Leung, W...Emerson, J. A…Elgin, S. C. R. (1,014 authors) (2015) Drosophila Muller F elements maintain a distinct set of genomic properties over 40 million years of evolution. Genes, Genomes, Genetics 5: 719-740.
Lopatto, D…Emerson, J.A…Elgin, S.C. (73 authors) (2014) A central support system can facilitate implementation and sustainability of a Classroom-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) in genomics. CBE-Life Sciences Education 13: 711-723.
Shaffer, C.D…Emerson, J.A…Elgin, S.C.R. (84 authors) (2014) A course-based research experience: how benefits change with increased investment in instructional time. CBE-Life Sciences Education 13: 111–130.
Emerson, J.A, Silver Key, S.C, Alvarez, C.J., Bhalla, S.C., Mel, S., McNeil, G., Saville, K.J., Leung, W., Shaffer, C.D. and Elgin, S.C.R. (2013) Introduction to the Genomics Education Partnership and collaborative genomics research in Drosophila. Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching (Proceedings of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education) 34: 135-165.
Emerson, J.A. (2012) Identification of human polymorphisms in the phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) bitter taste receptor gene and protein. Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching, Proc. Assoc. for Biology Laboratory Education 33: 246-250.
Emerson, J.A. & Ratner, D.I. (2006) From bench top to presentation in five days: DNA sequencing research projects for summer workshops or undergraduate teaching labs. Dev. Biol. 295: 350.
Emerson, J A. (2000) Undergraduate laboratory exercises in axis specification. Dev. Biol. 222: 234
Schroeder, A.A., Nguyen, M.M., Boustany, L.M., Gilby, I.C. & Emerson, J A. (1995) Using differential display PCR to identify developmentally-regulated genes in the mouse. Dev. Biol. 170: 769.
Millonig, J.H., Emerson, J.A., Levorse, J.M. & Tilghman, S.M. (1995) Molecular analysis of the distal enhancer of the mouse alpha-fetoprotein gene. Mol. Cell. Biol. 15: 3848-3856.
Emerson, J.A., Vacher, J., Cirillo, L.A., Tilghman, S.M. & Tyner, A.L. (1992) The zonal expression of a-fetoprotein transgenes in the livers of adult mice. Dev. Dynam. 195: 55-66.
Emerson, J.A. (1988) Disruption of the cytokeratin filament network in the preimplantation mouse embryo. Development 104: 219-234.
Scholarly and Professional Activities
Director of the Summer Teachers' Workshop in Biology at Amherst College (2005-2012)
Annual Reviewer for the American Women in Science Educational Foundation, College Scholarship applications (2000-2010)
I like to get outdoors as much as possible and I enjoy hiking, biking, snowshoeing, kayaking and swimming with my family and friends, as well as gardening and horseback riding. I am also a fan of professional baseball, and over the years I have attended games at Fenway Park, the Oakland Coliseum, Candlestick Park, Dodger Stadium, (the former) Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, The Metrodome and Target Field in Minneapolis, the (old and new) Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Autozone Park in Memphis and Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.