Shannen Cravens, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry

I earned my undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of San Diego in my home state of California. I traveled to the East Coast to earn my doctorate in molecular biophysics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and then spent...

Studio photo of Dr. Cravens

Contact Information

  • Spring 2019
    Mondays: 10:10-11:10 a.m.
    Tuesdays: 1-2 p.m.
    Thursdays: 3:50-5:00 p.m.

Education & Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
B.A., University of San Diego

Courses Taught

CHEM 101/101L: General Chemistry
CHEM 245: Biochemistry

I earned my undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of San Diego in my home state of California. I traveled to the East Coast to earn my doctorate in molecular biophysics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and then spent time at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine as a postdoctoral research associate. While living Pennsylvania, I split my time between doing research and teaching General Chemistry at Lincoln University. My experimental training spans multiple disciplines, but is heavily rooted in biochemistry and biophysics and is inspired by my own undergraduate research experience. My passion in teaching, though, has always been chemistry. I especially love teaching lower division courses. I enjoy introducing students to the fundamental intricacies of chemistry and helping them potentially uncover their own passion for the subject.
 
The recognition of DNA by sequence-specific binding proteins is a fundamental and ubiquitous process that drives a multitude of essential cellular functions. These processes occur through a protein’s ability to rapidly and efficiently “read” a DNA sequence in order to locate its target site within a vast sea of non-cognate DNA. Errors made can often be attributed to the onset of numerous diseases. The primary objectives of my research program are to determine the structure-function relationship for a variety of gene regulating proteins known as transcription factors (TFs) and to probe the impact of disease-causing mutations in both the protein and specific DNA target. Experiments will be performed in solutions that closely mimic the cellular environment to address how a crowded cell impacts these complex machines. Students in my lab will employ molecular biology, biochemistry, and structural biology techniques to develop a clear picture of how critical, DNA-targeting proteins normally function and the consequences of known disease-related mutations.