Lisa A Cuchara
Professor of Biomedical Sciences
NG4, Quinnipiac University; BS, SUNY College New Paltz; MS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; MS, PhD, Albany Medical College
School of Health Sciences
Integrative Capstone - Spring 2019
Vaccines and Vaccine-Preventable Diseases - Spring 2019
Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases - Fall 2018
Vaccines and Vaccine Preventable Diseases - Spring 2019
Public Health: Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases - Fall 2018
Infections of Leisure - Fall 2018
I am a Professor of Biomedical Sciences in the School of Health Sciences at Quinnipiac University. Undergraduate classes that I have taught include: Immunology, Clinical Immunology, Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, Infections of Leisure, The Power of Plagues, Vaccines, General Microbiology Lab, Immunology Lab, Pathogenic Microbiology, as well as the UC course The World of Microbes. Graduate classes include: Transplantation Immunology, Pathogenic Microbiology, Hematology, The Immunology of Infectious Diseases, Autoimmunity, Immunopharmacology, AntiMicrobials, Biomedical Photography, and Vaccine Preventable Diseases.
I am involved in Sigma Xi and the American Society of Microbiology. I am on the QU Sigma Xi board, the CT-Valley ASM board and the National COMS board for ASM. I am also the advisor for the QU-ASM student chapter and the QU photography club.
My primary area of research is vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases. I also have several research projects going on in the areas of fomites, antibiotic resistance, commensals/opportunistic pathogens, antibiotic resistance genes in water and soil, MRSA, infectious diseases, nosocomial diseases.
I live nearby in Hamden with two-legged and four-legged family.
I have several research projects going on within the field of infectious diseases which can be broken down into two general areas: antibiotic resistant bacteria and vaccine preventable diseases. I have several graduate (MS thesis and independent study) and undergraduate students (BMS, BIO, HHS, honors, capstone, independent study, etc) working with me. The projects involving benchwork (antibiotic resistant bacteria) require a significant time commitment during normal working hours in order to yield fruitful results while the vaccine and vaccine preventable disease projects are much more flexible.
My interests in antibiotic resistant bacteria include: the presence of antibiotic resistance genes in water, soil and food; the existence of antibiotic resistant bacteria on fomites in both the public and healthcare venues; MRSA; the colonization of bacterial species in healthy individuals; nosocomial infections and new emerging diseases caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria. Techniques involves include: bacterial culturing via aseptic techniques, selective and differential biochemical testing, antibiotic resistance testing via Kirby Bauer methodologies, DNA extraction, PCR amplification, 16s rRNA bacterial genotyping, etc.
My interest in vaccine preventable diseases involves elucidation of the mechanisms behind the new public fear of vaccines as well as developing ways to dispel these myths and educate the public and health care personnel. Currently this project involves understanding vaccine preventable diseases and the fear of the disease versus the fear of the vaccine, creating and maintaining YouTube videos, discussion boards, forums, websites and other 'Web 2.0' methods aimed at providing facts and dispelling myths related to vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases, conducting surveys related to fact and myth beliefs within different types of demographics and determining where information is currently obtained (Google, Oprah, neighbors, doctors offices) and how this relates to currently held beliefs.
Photography, photoshop post-processing, pets, gardening, hiking, birding, blogging, Art, poetry
My teaching philosophy is "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire". This is reflected in everything that I do, from my lecture style, my exam style, my course objectives, my wiki assignments, and my research collaborations with undergraduate and graduate students. I believe that learning needs to be an active process involving not just attendance but an intellectual presence.
As stated above I believe that the love of learning and “the big picture” are more important than just filling a person's head with facts that are only retained until the exam takes place. I try to make science interesting and exciting and relevant to everyday life.
Ph.D. in Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics (1996) Albany Medical College (Albany, New York) 7/90 - 5/96.
M.S. in Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics (1994)
Ph.D. thesis work in Transplantation Immunology Laboratory under Dr. Brian Freed. Thesis entitled The Cigarette Tar Component p Benzoquinone Blocks T Lymphocyte Activation by Specifically Inhibiting IL-2 Production defended April 18, 1996. I was also responsible for setting up, maintaining and supervising HLA DNA (PCR-SSP) typing for Albany’s Transplant program.
M.S. in Biology (1990)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, New York).
Thesis: A Mercury Biosensor Based on Bacterial Luciferase: Linkage of the lux genes from Vibrio fischeri to the mer operon from Serratia marcescens.
9/96 to 6/99 Postdoctoral Fellow National Cancer Institute NCI-FCRDC (Frederick, MD) I worked in the laboratory in the Experimental Therapeutics Section (Dr. Robert Wiltrout and Dr. Kristin Komschlies). My research focused on characterizing the effects of Interleukin 7 administration on the immune system and elucidating the mechanism by which IL-7 enhances T cell function. The ability of IL-7 to enhance T cell function is important with respect to the reversal of altered immune responses seen in tumor bearing animals and the augmentation of T cell function and the development of anti-tumor vaccine therapies. I also performed DNA typing of our knockout mice and maintained our computers. I also actively mentored two high school students: Angela Boyer and Courtney Humphries. Both students worked with me fill time between junior and senior years, and then afternoons during their senior year. Courtney enjoyed working in the lab and stayed an extra summer working with me, resulting in her getting second authorship on a Journal of Immunology paper. She also came to Yale for a summer in college and worked in my lab.
-- August 2009 to June 2011 Faculty Senate, SHS Faculty representative
-- August 2011 to present Academic Integrity Committee
-- January 2009 to present Chair, IT committee, School of Health Sciences
-- January 2009 to present Senate IT committee
-- August 2006 to present: IT committee, School of Health Sciences
-- August 2009 to June 2011: Senate Library Committee, Faculty Senate representative
-- August 2009 to June 2011: Future Plans Committee, Faculty Senate representative
-- August 2011 to present: Future Plans Committee, SHS representative
-- August 2010 to June 2011: Future Plans Committee, Chair, Faculty Senate representative
-- 2009, 2010, 2011: SHS Faculty Research Proposal committee
-- January 14 2009: Presented “Please Back it Up!” at the Faculty Development Program, School of Health Sciences
-- 2008: Long Range Planning committee
-- Aug 2007 to May 2009: TLT committee,
-- Aug 2006 to present: BMS DEC committee, Quinnipiac University
-- Aug 2006 to present: IT committee, SHS, BMS, H&SS and pre-health advisor,
-- Fall 2011 to present SOM curriculum committee
-- 2010 Faculty Scholar
Selected Workshops & Presentations