Dr. Erika Whitney

Title: 
Lecturer of Biology
Office Location: 
Key Hall G57
Phone: 
(443) 885-3714
Email: 
Erika.Whitney@morgan.edu
Education:

Ph.D. Bioengineering, University of California San Francisco, 2001
Ph.D. Bioengineering, University of California Berkeley,  2001

Education:

Ph.D. Bioengineering, University of California San Francisco, 2001
Ph.D. Bioengineering, University of California Berkeley,  2001

Research Interests:

  • Unfolded protein response and calcium homeostasis in neurons
  • Evaluating the efficacy of the most current scientific teaching practices

Current Research:

The Endoplasmic Reticulum is the largest membrane bound organelle. It is involved in signaling, protein folding, secretory proteins traffic, and Ca2+ homeostasis. It has recently been implicated in making autophagosomes. Cells try to recover from ER-stress by slowing down translation and increasing production of their protein folding machinery. The specific molecular responses to stress include inositol-requiring enyzme1, activating transcription factor 6, and PKR-like ER kinase. When demand is severe, the unfolded protein response (UPR) triggers apoptosis. The UPR has been characterized well in yeast and pancreatic cells. It has not been characterized well in neurons. Neurodegenerative diseases are caused by genetic conditions leading to the mis-folded proteins. Excitotoxicity occurs when high amounts of glutamate result in Ca2+-dependent cell death. Calcium signaling depends on the type of neuron. The effects of Calcium homeostasis and the UPR will be studied. The cross talk between the mitochondria and the ER will also be evaluated.

Courses Taught:

  • BIOL 105 - Introductory Biology for Majors I
  • BIOL 106 - Introductory Biology for Majors II
  • BIOL 111 - Honors Introductory Biology I
  • BIOL 112 - Honors Introductory Biology II
  • BIOL 310 - Cell and Molecular Biology

Publications:

  • J.D. Holtzclaw, A. Eisen, E.M. Whitney, M. Penumetcha, J. Hoey, & K. S. Kimbro, (March 2006). "Incorporating a new Bioinformatics component into Genetics at a historically black college: Outcomes and Lessons". (Cell Biology Education).
  • Erika M. Whitney, Xinming Chen, and Vincent W. Yang, (March 2006). "Transcriptional Profiling of the Cell cycle Checkpoint Gene Krüppel-like Factor 4 Reveals a Global Inhibitory Function In Macromolecular Synthesis". (Gene Expression).
  • Xingming Chen, Erika M. Whitney, Shu Gao, Vincent W. Yang, (2003 Feb 21). "Transcriptional profiling of Krüppel-Like factor 4 reveals a function in cell cycle regulation and epithelial differentiation.". J Mol Biol. 326(3):665-77.
  • J. Hopmeyer, E. Whitney, D.A. Papp, M. S. Navathe, R. A. Levine, Y.H. Kim, A. P. Yoganathan. (1996 Sep-Oct). "Computational simulations of mitral regurgitation quantification using the flow convergence method: comparison of hemispheric and hemielliptic formulae.". Annals of Biomedical Engineering. 24(5):561-72.