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Student and professor talking in a lab

Melinda Harrison, PhD

Chair and Associate Professor, Chemistry

Melinda Harrison, PhD, believes that to teach effectively in the sciences, you need to have close, personal faculty attention. Her philosophy of teaching helps bring real-world experience into the classroom, as Harrison aims to instill in her students the concept that science is an essential part of life.

In 2008, Cabrini was one of only 12 colleges and universities in the U.S. accepted into the 2009 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Science Education Alliance (SEA). The SEA provides resources and support for Harrison to teach a research-based virus discovery course.

Harrison teaches the “phage” course built around a national experiment in bacteriophage genomics. (A bacteriophage, or phage, is a virus that infects bacteria.) Within this course, students discover, isolate, name and image novel bacteriophages.  Her students present their research at the annual HHMI phage symposium as well as other local; regional and national conferences.

Her current research centers on bacteriophages and focuses on protein studies within the phage genomes. Her secondary research interests include wine chemistry and heavy metal metabolism.

Harrison teaches undergraduate and graduate biochemistry courses as well as general and analytical chemistry courses.

Harrison currently serves as a co-director for the Science for Social Justice Scholars (SSSJ) learning community and enjoys collaborating on service learning projects with her students in this group.

Harrison currently has funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is a member of the HHMI SEA Phages group.

Areas of Expertise

Biochemistry; protein chemistry; protein purification;  bacteriophages; research in the classroom


  • Julia Lee-Soety, Shantanu Bhatt, Tamarah Adair, J Bonilla, Karen Klyczek, Melinda Harrison, Rebecca Garlena, Charles Bowman, Daniel Russell, Welkin Pope, Deborah Jacobs-Sera, Steven Cresawn, and Graham Hatfull “Genome sequences of twelve newly isolated Cluster AN Arthrobacter phages" Genome Announcement 2017 Nov 5 (45): e01092-17
  • Tamarah L. Adair, J. Alfred Bonilla, Karen K. Klyczek, Julia Y. Lee-Soety, German Rosas-Acosta, Melinda Harrison, Charles A. Bowman, Steven G. Cresawn, Rebecca A. Garlena, Daniel A. Russell, Welkin H. Pope, Deborah Jacobs-Sera, and Graham F. Hatfull “Complete Genome Sequences of Arthrobacter Phages Beans, Franzy, Jordan, Piccoletto, Shade, and Timinator” Genome Announcement 2017 Nov: November; 5(44): e01094-17.
  • Tamarah Adair, Emily Stowe, Marie Pizzorno, Greg Krukonis, Melinda Harrison,  Steven Cresawn, Rebecca Garlena, Daniel Russell, Welkin Pope, Deborah Jacobs-Sera, and Graham Hatfull; “Genome Sequences of Three Cluster AU Arthrobacter phages: Caterpillar, Nightmare, and Teacup" Genome Announcement 2017 Nov: 5 (45): e01121-17
  • Karen K. Klyczek1+, J. Alfred Bonilla1+, Deborah Jacobs-Sera2, Travis N. Mavrich2, Victoria M. Schneider2, In Young Lee2, Patrick A. Rimple2, Carlos A. Guerrero Bustamante2, Jonathan S. Lapin2, Tammy Adair3, Lee E. Hughes4, David Dunbar5, Melinda  Harrison5, Rodney A. King6, Claire A. Rinehart6, Emily Stowe7, Marie, C. Pizzorno7, Vassie C. Ware8, A. Javier Lopez9, Julia Y. Lee-Soety10, Trevor Cross*, Dylan Chudoff*,  Daniel A. Russell2, Welkin H. Pope2,Graham F. Hatfull2* “Tales of diversity:  Genomic and morphological characteristics of 46 Arthrobacter phages”  PLoS One 2017 Jul 17;12(7):e0180517
  • Courtney Clyburn*, Dylan Chudoff*, Jennifer Farina* Robert Schmidt, David Dunbar and Melinda Harrison “Proteogenomic refinement of the Cluster O mycobacteriophage Catdawg suggests the abundance of non-canonical novel genes” (In preparation)
  • Tamara Todorovic Meister* and Melinda Harrison “Structural Analysis of Type III Collagen Using Two Dimensional Nuclear Magnetic Resonance” Journal of Biotech Research, 2016, vol 7, pgs 30-41.
  • “Whole genome comparison of a large collection of mycobacteriophages reveals a continuum of phage genetic diversity.”Pope WH, Bowman CA, Russell DA, Jacobs-Sera D, Asai DJ, Cresawn SG, Jacobs WR, Hendrix RW, Lawrence JG, Hatfull GF; Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science; Phage Hunters Integrating Research and Education; Mycobacterial Genetics Course. Elife. 2015 Apr 28;4:e06416.
  • Farina,J., Richards,K., Hiller,J., Gannon,D., Reifsnyder,R.,Vogel,A., Ganski,A., Massaley,M., Carzo,S., Brower,C., Semler,R.,Smith,V., Friel,S., Flynn,L., Moran,D.J., Wodarski,D.M.,Harrison,M.A., Dunbar,D.A., Wang,X., Crowell,R., Bostrom,M.A.,Burke,M., Wright,G.M., Gregory,S.G., Colman,S.D., Bradley,K.W.,Khaja,R., Lewis,M.F., Barker,L.P., Asai,D.J., Bowman,C.A.,Russell,D.A., Pope,W.H., Jacobs-Sera,D., Hendrix,R.W. and Hatfull,G.F. “Mycobacterium phage Catdawg, complete genome” NCBI Reference Sequence: NC_022057.1 , 2013.
  • Harrison, M.A; D. Dunbar and D. Lopatto.“Using Pamphlets To Teach Biochemistry: A Service-Learning Project,” Journal of Chemical Education, 2013, 90 (2), pp 210–214.
  • Harrison Krick, M. and Dameron, Charles “Copper I transfer between Enterococcus hirae CopA, CopZ and CopY invitro”Journal of Biotech Research [ISSN: 1944-3285] 2013; 5:1-8.
  • Trevor Cross*, Deborah Moran*, Donna Wodarski*, Melinda Harrison, and David Dunbar “Course-Based Research as a Catalyst for Undergraduates’ Interest in Scientific Investigation: Benefits of the SEA-PHAGES Program” Council for Undergraduate Research Quarterly Spring 2013, Vol. 33 No. 3
  • Catherine Mageeney*, Christopher Catagnus*, Amy Cimo*, Catherine Beckowski, Lisa Ratmansky, Dr. Melinda Harrison, and Dr. David Dunbar, “The Rewards and Challenges of Undergraduate Peer Mentoring in Course-based Research: Student Perspectives from a Liberal Arts Institution”, Perspectives on Undergraduate Research and Mentoring, 2012, Vol. 1, No. 2, pgs: 1-9. 
  • Ambreen A. Alladin* and Melinda Harrison“Preeclampsia: Systemic Endothelial Damage Leading to Increased Activation of The Blood Coagulation Cascade”, Journal of Biotech Research, 2012 4: 26-43.
  • Catherine Mageeney*; Welkin Pope; Melinda Harrison; Deborah Moran*; Trevor Cross*; Deborah Jacobs-Sera; Roger W. Hendrix; David Dunbar; and Graham F. Hatfull “Mycobacteriophage Marvin: a New Singleton Phage with an Unusual Genome Organization”, Journal of Virology, 2012,Vol: 86 No. 9, pgs: 4762-4775
  • Graham F. Hatfull, the Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science Program*,the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV Mycobacterial Genetics Course Students,and the Phage Hunters Integrating Research and Education Program“Complete Genome Sequences of 138 Mycobacteriophages”, Journal of Virology, 2012, Vol. 86, No. 4, pp.2382-2384
  • Mageeney,C.M.*, Harrison,M.A., Dunbar,D.A., Bruno,G., Cusmiani,M., Daywood,M., Forrester,S.J., Doyle,M., Hutson,M., Jeon,J.-i.,Juring,R.J., Norris,J., Norton,C., Phillips,M.C., Radacosky,B.,Zhang,X., Meincke,L.J., Goodwin,L.A., Detter,J.C., Han,S.,Green,L.D., Bradley,K.W., Khaja,R., Lewis,M.F., Barker,L.P.,Jordan,T.C., Russell,D.A., Leuba,K.D., Fritz,M.J., Bowman,C.A.,Pope,W.H., Jacobs-Sera,D., Hendrix,R.W. and Hatfull,G.F. “Mycobacterium phage Marvin, complete sequence” GenBank: JF704100.1, 2012.
  • Mageeney,C.M.*, Harrison,M.A., Dunbar,D.A., Forrester,S.J.,Serrano,M.G., Lee,V., Hendricks,S.L., Sheth,N.U., Buck,G.A.,Bradley,K.W., Khaja,R., Lewis,M.F., Barker,L.P., Jordan,T.C.,Russell,D.A., Leuba,K.D., Fritz,M.J., Bowman,C.A., Pope,W.H.,Jacobs-Sera,D., Hendrix,R.W. and Hatfull,G.F “Mycobacterium phage Ghost, complete sequence”GenBank: JF704096.1, 2012.
  • Cimo,A.*, Mageeney,C.*, Cross,T*., Derby,A*., Doherty,K*., Fleck,A*.,Gilmartin,E*., Jeon,J*., Kelly,J.*, LaCour,L*., Leng,J*., McCartney,R*., Mizelle,N.*, Moran,D*., Potesta,J*., Wodarski,D*., Dunbar,D.,Harrison,M., Lee,V., Hendricks,S.L., Voegtly,L.J., Wang,Y.,Glascock,A.L., Anderson,J., Williamson,S.M., Walstead,R.N.,Carvalho,M.R., Johnson,A., Buck,G.A., Bradley,K.W., Khaja,R.,Lewis,M.F., Barker,L.P., Jordan,T.C., Russell,D.A., Pope,W.H.,Jacobs-Sera,D., Hendrix,R.W. and Hatfull,G.F. “Mycobacterium phage Toto, complete genome” GenBank: JN006061.1, 2012.
  • Shenk, D.M.*; Harrison, M.A. “Wine Chemistry: Measuring the Effects of Oak Tree Elevation in Ellagitannin Alcohol Absorption”, Cabrini University Journal of Undergraduate Research, 4thEdition 2011
  • Harrison, Melinda; Boyd, Kim; Dunbar, David and Lopatto, David,“Classroom-based Science Research at the Introductory Level: Changes in Career Choices and Attitude”, CBE-Life Sciences Education 10, 1-8, 2011.
  • Williams, E.A*; Harrison, M.A. “Selenium from Health to the Biological Food Chain”, Journal of Biotech Research, 2010, Vol:2, pgs 112-120.
  • Melinda Harrison, David Dunbar, Catherine Mageeney*& David Lopatto, “Peer Mentoring in an Introductory Biology Laboratory”, CUR Quarterly, 31(2), 9-14, 2010.
  • DeVasto R.E.*; Evanseck J.D. and Harrison M.A. “Modeling Tetra Coordinate Cu(I) Binding Proteins,” Cabrini University Journal of Undergraduate Research, 3rd Edition  2010

*Denotes Undergraduate Student

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