The following are among the new faculty members at Washington University in St. Louis. Others will be introduced periodically.
Jan Bieschke, PhD, joins the Department of Biomedical Engineering as assistant professor. After earning a doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Gottingen, Germany, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and a research group leader at the Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany. Bieschke’s research focuses on protein folding and misfolding and how these processes can lead to age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Bieschke aims to dissect and influence protein self-assembly using biophysical tools such as single molecule fluorescence, atomic force microscopy and sub-diffraction microscopy in order to develop new strategies to counteract protein misfolding diseases.
John Cunningham, PhD, joins the Department of Biomedical Engineering as assistant professor. After earning a doctorate at Stanford University, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in machine learning at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Cunningham designs algorithms for analysis of neural data, primarily in the motor cortex, both to advance scientific understanding of the neural basis of movement and with the goal of engineering neural prosthetic systems, also called brain-machine interfaces.
Kristen Naegle, PhD, joins the Department of Biomedical Engineering as assistant professor. After earning a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she was a postdoctoral associate at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Department of Biological Engineering at M.I.T. She combines computational mining and modeling techniques with experimental molecular biology approaches to understand the function of post-translational modifications of RNA in the regulatory networks of the cell, particularly those regulatory events that are involved in diseases such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders.
Kedron Thomas, PhD, joins the Department of Anthropology in Arts & Sciences as assistant professor. Her research interests include international law, fashion and branding and indigenous entrepreneurship in Guatemala. She is co-editor of Securing the City: Neoliberalism, Space, and Insecurity in Postwar Guatemala (Duke University Press, 2011). She earned a doctorate from Harvard University in 2012. Previously, she was awarded the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for her dissertation, titled “The Ethics of Piracy: Intellectual Property Rights in Post-Conflict Guatemala.”