Natasha Dean
Natasha Dean, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology

Education: 

  • Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Loma Linda University 2004
  • M.S., Biology 2001
  • B.S., Biology 1994, Walla Walla University (formerly: Walla Walla College)
  • A.S., Biology, College of The Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas 1991

Principal Research Interests

Dr. Dean's research focuses primarily on microbial ecology with an emphasis on microbial diversity (prevalence and distribution) and microbial behavior. The lab currently investigates the role that enteric microbiota may play in the aging process, using osteoporosis as the model of aging. Research into the human microbiome suggest that intestinal microbes affect several body systems primarily through inflammation, leading to chronic diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Because osteoporosis can also be considered a chronic inflammatory disease, this model of aging is expected to elucidate the effects that enteric microbes may have on human systems distant from the digestive tract and add to the growing body of knowledge on this subject. The lab examines the effects of secreted bacterial proteins on an osteosarcoma cell line, looking specifically at bone deposition and mineralization. This research has far-reaching implications in the area of health care and health disparities for the elderly but also builds on the role microbes play in musculoskeletal diseases.


Research Area: 

  • Resistance to Bacteriophage Infection
  • Bacterial Evolution and Bacteriophage Resistance
  • Characterization of abortive infection proteins and their role in disease mechanisms

E-mail: ndean@lasierra.edu
Phone: 951-785-2127
Building: Price Science Complex, Rm. 223


AWARDS

  • WEBS (Women Evolving the Sciences) 2013; invited participant
  • Biology Teacher of the Year, 2006 and 2013; La Sierra University
  • ASM Student Travel Grant, American Society for Microbiology, Washington, D.C., 2003