I obtained my BS in medical technology from California University of Pennsylvania in 1993. While working at various health care organizations specializing in pre-transfusion testing, I completed post-baccalaureate courses in chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2001 I transitioned to full time graduate studies at Pitt and obtained my PhD in organic chemistry in 2007.
One of my passions is exposing and inspiring young people to the wonder of science, and I have been involved for over five years in planning and presenting public outreach events related to chemistry and STEM (science technology engineering and math) fields. This involvement has led to my service on the board of directors for a non-profit organization, the Science Education Foundation of Indiana, and as treasurer for the Indiana Section of the American Chemical Society. But the work relted to outreach that I have the greatest pride in is the course, Chemistry in the Community, that I developed and teach at Butler University. This course brings students out into the community and exposes them to the joys and challenges of STEM outreach, potentially inspiring their continued interest in sharing science with others.
Starting in June of 2018, I was appointed to be one of the two pre-health professions advisors at Butler University. This position allows me to work both with students and colleagues to ensure Butler graduates are well prepared to attend graduate and professional programs in the health professions.
In 2015, I earned my Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology with a minor in Life Sciences from the Indiana University School of Medicine, where I was a graduate student in Dr. Margaret Bauer’s lab. My thesis research focused on how pathogenic bacteria were capable of evading the immune response by specifically studying the sexually transmitted infection Haemophilus ducreyi. We discovered and characterized multiple genes and mechanisms involved in this bacterium’s ability to escape destruction by the human innate immune system, which is ultimately ineffective in controlling this infection.
I completed my undergraduate education at Butler University in 2009 with a B.S. in Biology and a Chemistry minor. As a student at Butler, I was involved in a number of campus organizations and activities, including but not limited to the Student Government Association, the Butler University Student Foundation, Greek Life, the Dawg Pound, and the Biology Department as a Lab Assistant and Tutor. I was a member of the Butler University Football Team for a portion of my undergraduate years and continued participating in a number of intramural activities after. Lastly, I partook in several years of undergraduate research in Dr. Villani’s Lab, and I participated in the 2008 Butler Summer Institute.
Prior to my time at Butler, I grew up in the Cincinnati area and attended Archbishop McNicholas High School.
Courses Taught and University Service
As an instructor, I aim to provide a high quality of education by promoting an intellectually stimulating environment, developing a foundation of critical thinking, and demonstrating a personal interest in all students. The main courses I teach are Principles of Immunology (BI 323) in the fall and Principles of Pathogenic Microbiology (BI 325) in the spring. I also am heavily involved in the Biology Fundamentals series, specifically teaching Genetics (BI 210). I will also occasionally teach Biology and Society (NW 200-BI) and the senior Biology Capstone class (BI 480).
As a faculty member, I actively serve as a committee member or faculty advisor to a number of campus organizations. I currently serve as the Pre-Health Professions Advisor, and I am a member of the Faculty Development Advisory Committee, the Butler University Undergraduate Retention and Success Task Force, the LAS Essay Contest Committee, and chair of the Biology Website Renovation and Maintenance Committee to name a few. I currently serve as a faculty advisor for the Pre-Dental Club, the Butler University Club Hockey Team, the Sigma Nu Fraternity, and the Butler Cru Campus Ministry, and I participate every year at Bulldogs into the Streets.
I have previously served on the Butler Advance Faculty Steering Committee, Butler University Council for Independent Colleges Consortium for Instructional Excellence and Career Guidance, the LAS Teaching and Peer Review Guidelines Taskforces, the Top 100 Selection Committee, and I have informally served as a volunteer member on the Butler University Young Alumni Board.
Summative focus: Studying microbial resistance to antimicrobial agents, including components of the immune system, chemicals used to disinfectant, and antibiotics used for treatment
1.) Do we find potential pathogens on common surfaces we interact with on a daily basis, and what percentage of these microbes are antibiotic resistant? Are the disinfectants used to clean effective against these potential pathogens, and how long after disinfection do microbes recolonize the surface? These questions may tell us more about how common drug resistance may be on common surfaces as within the everyday microbes. Additionally, with so many products being advertised as effective against various microbes, it is important to actually put them to the test and see how effective they may be.
2.) Do we find potential fecal coliforms within water ways such as the canal and/or the White River, and is this influenced by different times of the year and different amounts of rain? Do these fecal coliforms harbor resistance to antibiotics? These questions may tell us more about the impact that the combined sewer system of Indianapolis as well as the impact of northern septic systems and agricultural livestock on is having on our water systems.
1.) We studied antimicrobial peptide resistance in two bacterial plant pathogens, Pseudomonas syringae and Erwinia amylovora. By examining their ability to evade both plant defenses and the human immune system, we have found the potential presence of mechanisms that appear to confer resistance to a wide range of host antimicrobial peptides. This suggests the presence of conserved virulence mechanisms found among inter-kingdom bacterial pathogens, which could potentially have large implications on antibiotic resistance and human health. Studies have shown that animal pathogens can transfer resistance genes to common human pathogens; by demonstrating the presence of these same or similar resistance genes in plant pathogens, we hope to further our understanding of the evolutionary development of antibiotic resistance as well as the possibility that how we treat our agricultural pathogens may have an impact on human bacterial pathogens.
2.) We examined the microbial flora found on the Butler University squirrel population. In collaboration with Dr. Carmen Salsbury, we live-trap squirrels and swab their ears, feet, and abdomen for microbes. We have seen not only the presence of a wide variety of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes, but there appears to be the presence of Staphylococcus aureus, commonly found as part of the human microbiota. Additionally, initial findings have shown that there is also the presence of drug-resistant S.aureus, indicating that squirrels could be a vector for human pathogens such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant S. aureus). It is well known that rodents such as rats can carry human diseases, and previous research has shown that small mammals such as dogs have been found to not only carry MRSA, but also potentially spread it to humans. Our research is further evidence that animals which commonly interact with human environments are capable of becoming vectors to human diseases, and even more troubling, may be contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistance microbes that have become a significant burden on human healthcare in the last 40 years.
3.) I also collaborated with Dr. Berthrong and some of his students in their efforts to examine the microbial recolonization and presence of MRSA on cellphones, determine the presence of bacterial contamination in various water sources, and study the microbial diversity among various environments found on Butler’s campus.
In addition to my time spent here at Butler, I very much cherish my role as a husband to my wife Amanda and as a father to my daughter Olivia. We love the Indianapolis Zoo, the Children’s Museum, going to the park,walking our 120 lb American Bulldog named Duke, and anything related to Disney! When I’m not spending time with my family, I enjoy many different fitness activities, reading a good book, and I am an avid, although not outstanding, golfer. I also find myself heavily involved with Butler Athletics, and you can probably find me at basketball or football games. Go Dawgs!
- Graduated with a BS in Pharmacy in 1979 and a PharmD 1981 from Purdue University.
- Currently a Full Professor in the Pharmacy Practice department, teaching in both the BSHS and pharmacy programs.
- Former Associate Dean for Academic and Administrative Affairs and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs for the College.
- Previously, worked as a Clinical Pharmacist for 18 years in a variety of settings around the Indianapolis area; primarily health-systems and as a consultant pharmacist for long-term care facilities.
- Dr. Brown is active with the American Associate of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) and is currently serving as Council of Sections Chair (2020-2021). She will serve on the AACP Board of Directors for 3 years (2019-2022). Locally, Dr. Brown has served in numerous elected positions with the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance, most notably as President of the Alliance in 2008. From 2014-2018 Dr. Brown served as the President of the Pharmacists Education Foundation (PEF) which oversees the McSoley Scholarship for students from the Colleges of Pharmacy in Indiana.