Meet Rebecca Landsberg
- B.A. Biochemistry, Wellesley College
- Ph.D. Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- I grew up in upstate New York, which is very much like downstate Illinois. My father is an engineer and loved doing experiments around the house, but for a long time I didn’t want anything to do with science. I was convinced I was going to be a theater major. I started taking Biology and Chemistry courses in college and I became hooked.
- I have two daughters and I think it’s exciting to watch them explore and learn about the world around them. Children are little scientists, they’re always testing everything to see how things work or what they’re supposed to do.
- One of the things I loved best about Biology was how it related to everything around me. In teaching I try to relate what we’re talking about to our every day lives or to tie it to disease to give it a more human perspective. In the lab I have the students work in groups as science is never conducted in isolation. You always are working with others in science and I think the ability to work within a team is an important skill.
- Developmental biology- I’m investigating how parts of the brain form during development. I’m also interested in how this development is altered after exposure to developmental mutagens known as teratogens.
Major project underway:
- I have two main areas that I’m investigating. The first is trying to understand how certain regions of the brainstem, which are involved in balance and movement, form during development. I am also trying to understand how maternal exposure to alcohol or retinoic acid (a common component in acne medicine) alters the normal development of these structures.
Advice to prospective students:
- Use this time to figure out what excites you. There is no other time in your life when you can easily learn about something completely new just because you find it interesting.
Best thing about UIS:
- The teachers really do know who you are and become invested in the students doing well. The classes are smaller and that gives people much more individualized attention than in larger schools where a professor has over a hundred in each class.