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Dean of the College

New Faculty Q & A with Sharon Torigoe

August 22, 2017

Biology-Psychology Hall

Education:

Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley

Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

B.A., Scripps College

Research and Teaching Interests: 

Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Gene Expression Regulation

What most excites you about joining the L&C community?

All the things!  After graduating from college, my goal has been to return to a small, liberal arts college as a professor.  I have missed the energy of a small, supportive community that is committed to the education and growth of their students and faculty.  I am especially looking forward to getting to know and work with the students here at L&C.  Undergraduate students bring such liveliness and creativity when they are given opportunities to truly engage in scientific research.

Describe the current trajectory of your scholarly research.

In a single human individual, there are thousands, perhaps even millions, of different types of cells, which contribute to the vast variety of functions that must be performed in the body.  However, each of these cells is genetically identical, having arisen from one single cell.  As I once asked years ago, “If every cell in a person has the same genetic information, then how do we get all these different body parts?”  The simple answer is regulation of gene expression, but there are many ways to do so.  I am particularly interested in how gene regulation is encoded into the genome itself.  Specifically, what are the genomic sequences that contribute to cell-type specific transcription, and how are these sequences “read” by proteins?  I am currently focused on teasing apart the regulation of several key genes in mouse embryonic stem cells.

What kind of hobbies or special activities do you enjoy outside of work?

According to my friends, I am always finding ways to bring science into every aspect of my life.  I am a fan of science fiction and comic books – science in my reading and entertainment.  I love to cook and bake (especially dessert!) – science with delicious results.  I also knit and crochet – it’s more mathematical than you might think!

What were your childhood goals/aspirations?

I always thought I would be a doctor, like my parents (and despite the fact that I was always volunteering to teach).  I guess I still became a doctor, just not of medicine.

What are you listening to in your car right now?

I’m still figuring out the radio stations in Portland, but music has always been a part of my life, so I listen to a wide range of genres, but mainly classical, rock and pop.

What was your favorite childhood story?

This is a hard one, since I can think of many favorite stories I loved as a child.  If I’m pressed to pick just one, it might be “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

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