About Blake

As a scientist at a small university, my time is formally split between research and teaching. However, I try to tie them together as much as possible. One way, I found to be effective, is creating new classes and new classroom methods a branch of my own research.

The courses I’ve developed are all focused on broadening students’ exposure to the fundamentals of biochemistry. With this in mind, I have course titles such as “Beer, Wine, and Spirits”, “Non-western Origins of Science”, and “Chemistry of the Kitchen”. Not only do these classes have exciting names, They are designed give students practice with the physical and cognitive tools of science.

In my research lab, we study protein structure/function, folding, and stability. We ask questions such as: ‘What interactions are key to holding proteins together?’, ‘Do these interactions drive protein folding?’ and ‘How does ligand binding affect these processes?’ Students’ projects take them from basic molecular biology and protein engineering, to biophysical characterization of biological molecules using tools like NMR and fluorescence spectroscopy.

My lab is run by and for undergraduates. I believe that doing science is how they become scientists. We emphasize the observation-hypothesis-experiment cycle, and troubleshooting is how we explore that parameter space. This leaves my students well-prepared for a life of inquiry, regardless of the specific path they follow.