Studying cell-mediated innate immune responses in invertebrates is not something every student gets to experience, but biology students at Cabrini College do have that opportunity, thanks to Sheryl Fuller-Espie, Ph.D., DIC, who is conducting groundbreaking research in the subject.
Her research focuses on invertebrate cellular defense mechanisms of earthworms (annelids).
Her lab uses flow cytometric methods to investigate the effects of pathogen-associated molecular patterns, oxidative stress, environmental pollutants, and heavy metals on cellular responses including natural killer-like and phagocytic activities, reactive oxygen species production, and mitochondrial membrane depolarization.
She also studies the cellular events associated with apoptosis (a form of cell death) in invertebrates.
With Cabrini students as collaborators, research in Fuller-Espie’s lab has been published in scholarly journals and presented at state, national, and international conferences, including the eighth and ninth International Symposia on Earthworm Ecology, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society, and the Undergraduate Arts, Research, and Scholarship Symposium at Cabrini College.
The National Science Foundation, and the Department of Community and Economic Development of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have provided funding for Fuller-Espie’s research. She also has received federal grants from the Department of Education, and faculty development summer grants from Cabrini College.
Additionally, since 2006 she has served as supervisor for 11 student grants from the Pennsylvania Academy of Science and five student grants from the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society.
“I was interested in Cabrini because the campus culture fosters an environment where teaching is a primary focus,” says Fuller-Espie, who joined Cabrini’s faculty in 1997.
“I also knew I would have the opportunity to get involved with the design and construction of a new science facility (the Antoinette Iadarola Center for Science, Education, and Technology – opened in 2005) that would promote undergraduate research in the sciences.”
Fuller-Espie focuses her curriculum on experiential learning opportunities through laboratory experiments and the implementation of research projects. “I introduce my students to methodologies used in scientific research in both lecture and laboratory to help make conceptually challenging material applicable to interesting processes,” Fuller-Espie says.
She designs courses that allow students to connect content learned in other classes to help them see the 'big picture' and bridge the gap between fields of study. She teaches a variety of courses in the Science Department, including Theory & Practice in Biotechnology, Immunology, Microbiology, Virology, Genetics, Nutrition, Animal Behavior, and Senior Seminar.
After earning a doctoral degree in biotechnology and a Diploma of Imperial College (DIC) from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of London, Fuller-Espie completed two fellowships at the Imperial College of Medicine, London (formerly the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital) and the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia.
She earned two bachelor of science degrees in cell and molecular biology, and microbiology and immunology from the University of Washington, Seattle, and an associate degree in pre-med from North Dakota State College of Science.
She has presented research at the British Society for Immunology, the seventh and eighth International Congresses of Immunology, the European Federation of Immunological Societies, the University of Pennsylvania Graduate Group in Immunology, the American Society for Microbiology Infection and Immunity Forum, the eighth and ninth International Symposia on Earthworm Ecology, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Science. She recently was invited to deliver the Clark Lecture at York College of Pennsylvania.
She has published research papers in:
She has written book chapters for:
She is also a contributor to immunology, microbiology, and genetics textbooks, writing end-of-chapter questions and answers and instructor testbanks for The Immune System (second and third editions), Microbiology: A Clinical Approach, and Introductory Genetics: A Molecular Approach.
Fuller-Espie is a board member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, serving as corresponding secretary and membership chair.
She is also a member of the Biotechnology Advisory Board of Montgomery County Community College, and serves on the editorial board for the Undergraduate Arts, Research, & Scholarship Journal of Cabrini College.
Fuller-Espie’s husband, David Espie, is a chemical engineer at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. in Allentown, Pa. They have two children, Daniel (Piano Performance & Pedagogy/Temple University) and Stephanie (Music Education/University of Delaware), and reside in Lansdale, Pa.
Contact Information: Sheryl Fuller-Espie, Ph.D., DIC Professor, Biology Iadarola Center, Room 222 610-902-8369 firstname.lastname@example.org