Dr. Jan Westpheling is a Professor of Genetics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia. In the lab, Jan is dedicated to her research on biofuels. Her lab works to engineer bacteria that help convert non-food crop plants like switchgrass into useful fuels like ethanol. Jan lives on eight acres of old-growth forest and loves gardening. She has been planting specific trees to attract birds and also putting out bird feeders. As a result, her property is like a bird sanctuary, with owls and migratory birds coming through each year. Jan loves spending her time outside enjoying nature and the wildlife around her. She received her B.S. degree in Microbiology from Purdue University. Jan worked as a Research Technician at Eli Lilly before going back to graduate school to earn her Ph.D. in Genetics from the John Innes Institute. She worked for a year for Biogen in Geneva, conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University, and served on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School before joining the faculty at the University of Georgia where she is today. Jan is a two-time recipient of the Creative Research Medal from the University of Georgia, and she served as a Member of the National Research Council Committee on the Development and Acquisition of Medical Countermeasures against Biological Warfare Agents in 2005. During our interview, Jan shares more about her life and science.
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