With her mother a nurse and father a doctor, science and medicine were regular topics at the dinner table when Kirsten Hokeness was growing up. Today, she teaches courses in biology, biotechnology, and ecology, and her areas of interest extend to cancer biology, microbiology, and viral immunology. Her passion for these subjects is contagious.
Classes include lively discussions about topics such as cloning, immunology, and stem cell research. “It’s my job to give students the facts and encourage them to think critically,” she says. “I try to make the classroom a conversational learning environment, a place where they can voice opinions and ask questions.”
Choosing to study science at Bryant “gives students the distinctive experience of very small classes and one-on-one-opportunities to do research with faculty,” she adds. “Faculty members know all their students by name, understand their individual needs and interests, and work with them to tailor their programs. This is unique to Bryant, compared to other universities offering similar programs.”
And in addition to the rigorous scientific curriculum, “the complimentary business minor gives students a well rounded education, allowing them to be very successful in terms of their goals and careers in the scientific field.”
Hokeness, who holds a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from Brown University, joined Bryant in 2007. A recipient of a Merit Award and funding from Rhode Island’s INBRE program, she currently is investigating mechanisms of immune suppression following exposure to microbial volatile organic compounds and determining the role of cytokines and chemokines during infection with Clostridium difficile. She’s also exploring how students perceive health information and make choices regarding their health.
● Human health and disease
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