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J. William Straus

Associate Professor of Biology
  • PhD 1981 Cellular and Developmental Biology, Washington University
  • AB 1975 Biology, Earlham College

Research Interests

Phagocytosis is a process by which cells engulf bacteria, protists, and other particulate materials. This process plays a critical role in both innate and adaptive immune responses as well as cellular nutrition. Internalized materials are normally oxidized and digested. My laboratory has been focused on the role of proteolytic enzymes in phagocytosis. Recent efforts utilized widefield fluorescent and confocal microscopy to visualize protease activity in living phagosomes of the protist Tetrahymena thermophila. Current work includes synthesis of novel fluorescent reagents for detecting and quantifying proteases in live cells, and developing reagents to trace how and when different proteases are delivered to maturing phagosomes.

I welcome the involvement of students in all of my research activities.

Teaching Interests

My recent teaching includes introductory BIOL 105 Parasitism, Immunity, and Human Biology, ENST 151 The Environmental Imagination, BIOL 232 Developmental Biology, BIOL 272 Biochemistry and NEUR 301 Neuroscience and Behavior Senior Seminar. I have advised independent research and senior theses for Environmental Studies, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biology majors.