Tricia Serio ’91, a cell biologist who studies the consequences of protein misfolding, has been named dean of the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst beginning this August.
Serio, who holds a B.S. in molecular biology from Lehigh, currently heads the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Arizona.
In her research, Serio seeks to understand the mechanisms by which protein conformations can self-replicate. She studies their links with human diseases, especially age-related neurodegenerative diseases, and how these processes can be reversed.
In 2016, Serio received the 2016 Mid-Career Award for Excellence in Research from the American Society for Cell Biology for her work on the dynamics and functional consequences of protein misfolding, with a focus on prion proteins. Serio has also received the National Cancer Institute’s Howard Temin Award, and a Pew Scholarship in the Biomedical Sciences.
She has written articles for the Huffington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education, U.S. News & World Report and Nature about the unintended consequences of seeking tenure, mentorship, work-life balance, increasing college graduation rates, subtle sexism in science, the role of basic research in finding cures for human diseases and her son’s experience in a charter school.