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Elana Ehrlich appointed ninth Fisher College Endowed Chair

Elana EhrlichElana Ehrlich, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Towson University, has been appointed the ninth Jess and Mildred Fisher Endowed Professor in the Biological and Physical Sciences.

During her three-year term, her objective will be to incorporate high quality research opportunities into students’ undergraduate learning experiences in the physical and biological sciences. Ehrlich will receive a monetary award of $15,000 every year for three years that may be used for a summer faculty stipend, professional travel, research equipment and supplies, and undergraduate student research support.

“The Jess and Mildred Fisher endowed chair program allows us to support three junior faculty members at a time who show outstanding promise as teachers and undergraduate research mentors,” explains David Vanko, dean of the Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics, who appoints the Fisher Professors.

“Our experience has been that these funds provide a real boost for junior faculty members at a critical time in their professional careers.”

Ehrlich joined the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences in August 2011, and currently teaches cell biology and molecular biology. Her two-pronged research focuses on understanding the activity of certain viral proteins and how individual genetic factors relate to the effectiveness of chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Her objective to work with undergraduate student researchers should come very easily to Ehrlich, who already finds it rewarding to work with students. To date, she has mentored nine undergraduate students and four master’s students, and she actively encourages women, in particular women of color – a reflection of a deep commitment to increasing diversity in the sciences.

Before coming to Towson, Ehrlich earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, where she was a McNair Scholar, and her Ph.D. from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. She then served postdoctoral fellowships at both the Bloomberg School and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The Jess and Mildred Fisher Endowed Chair in the Biological and Physical Sciences was established in 2005 as part of a $10.2 million gift to the College of Science and Mathematics from the Robert M. Fisher Foundation. Its purpose is to honor the memory of the Fisher family by incorporating research opportunities into the undergraduate learning experience through the support of the scholarly growth of highly promising faculty researchers in the physical and biological sciences who are in the early stages of their careers at Towson.


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