Bridgewater College will send associate professor of biology Robyn Puffenbarger to the George Mason University's Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) as a visiting consortium scholar.
“As a molecular biologist, I have wanted to do more with ecological issues,” Puffenbarger said, “This spring, with the Smithsonian researchers and their class, I am going to learn eDNA techniques." (The "e" in eDNA means that the researchers will be looking into the environment's DNA.)
Over the years, Bridgewater College has had nine students attend the semester program of the SMSC, of which the school is a member. However, Bridgewater has never before sent a visiting scholar, making Puffenbarger's selection an exciting one for the college.
At Bridgewater College, Puffenbarger teaches genetics, biochemistry, immunology and ornithology. She is also interested in how pedagogical practices can influence the students' experience.
Puffenbarger completed her Ph.D. degree in molecular genetics and immunology at the Medical College of Virginia.
Puffenbarger is also a certified master gardener, and hopes to create a partnership between colleagues at Smithsonian concerning eDNA within the Shenandoah Valley.
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