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Joanne M. Willey

Professor, Chair, Sci Ed SOM of Science Education


PHD, 1988, Mass Institute Technology; BA, 1981, University of Pennsylvania


Dr. Willey earned a B.A. magna cum laude in biology at the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in biological oceanography (marine microbiology) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Joint Program in Oceanography. She was a postdoctoral fellow from 1988-1992 at Harvard University in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, where her research interests were refocused to the study of the filamentous soil bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor.

Dr. Willey's research continues to explore on the streptomyctes, which have a complex, fungal-like life cycle and produce most of the antibiotics currently used in human and veterinary medicine. Her work led to the identification of a family of conserved biosurfactants produced by these microbes that are required for cellular differentiation. Her lab has received funds from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, American Society for Microbiology (ASM), and several pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Willey taught microbiology to allied health students, biology majors, and at the graduate level for 20 years in the Biology Department. She is the lead author of two textbooks, Prescott, Harley and Klein's Microbiology (7th -9th editions) and Prescott's Principles of Microbiology; both texts are published by McGraw-Hill Higher Education. She joined the medical school with a joint appointment in 2009 and in 2013 she moved to the medical school as a full time faculty member.

Photo of Joanne Willey

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