Personality profile: Biology professor, Dr. Erica Lasek-Neselquist


Erica Lasek-Nesselquist, Ph.D., or Dr. Erica for short, is in her first year of teaching at The University. Her welcomed addition to the biology faculty has been instrumental in the expansion of the biology program. New courses and research opportunities are on the horizon thanks to her extensive postdoctoral studies.
“I would like to offer more microbiology courses like molecular information and bioinformatics. I’m also interested in starting complements to general biology, like eukaryotic microbiology or even a general microbial course, since microbes are so important in human health and for global biogeochemical cycling,” Lasek-Nesselquist said.
Lasek-Nesselquist has a wealth of knowledge that she gained at multiple institutions. After completing an undergraduate degree at Smith College, Lasek-Nesselquist became a research assistant for two years at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts. Graduate studies followed at Brown University/MBL, along with two postdoctoral studies focusing on both population genetics of rotifers and horizontal gene transfer in bacteria. Her current research focuses on eukaryotic microbiology in evolution.
After completing her second postdoctoral study, Lasek-Nesselquist came to The University because of the students and the environment.
“It seemed like the students were friendly and nice — they’re also very bright. The unparalleled atmosphere created by the combination of faculty and students make me want to work here. It is very welcoming and all-inclusive. I find I’m very supported by the department in my transition. Overall, people have gone out of their way to help me with my adjustment, both students and faculty.
“I like the fact that it’s a small institution, too. Coming from a small town, I find that in places like [The University] you get to know people on a more one-on-one basis,” Lasek-Nesselquist said.
Teaching two general biology classes in addition to a microbiology lab, Lasek-Nesselquist adopts an understanding approach to teaching, especially with first-year students.
“I want students to understand concepts, and I recognize the possibility that maybe biology isn’t for them. Some people will like one subject and not another, and that is fine — as long as they are enthusiastic and willing to learn.” Lasek-Nesselquist said.
She says that her transition so far has gone rather well — albeit very busy. Her favorite part about Scranton? The train horn that goes by every morning.
“I pretend it’s the fog horn from back when I lived at Cape Cod – it reminds me of home,” Lasek-Nesselquist said.

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