Amy Wilstermann

Amy Wilstermann


  • BS in Biochemistry, Oakland University, 1995
  • PhD in Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University, 2002

Professional experience

Prior to joining the faculty at Calvin, Dr. Wilstermann taught at a Christian university in Nashville, TN where she also served as the coordinator of the science and mathematics department. She joined the faculty of Calvin in 2007 and currently teaches Cell Biology and Genetics, Cell Physiology, General Biology and Human Biology.


Dr. Wilstermann is associate director of the Calvin Honors Program. She is also the advisor for Calvin's Pre-Occupational Health program and Pre-Physician Assistant program.

Dr. Wilstermann enjoys doing research at Calvin because it provides her with the opportunity to work closely with very talented and curious students.  Her students often ask wonderful, thought-provoking questions that prompt the exploration of new research avenues.

Outside of Calvin, Amy enjoys spending time with family. They can often be found outdoors - at a local park or at the beach. She also enjoys baking, ice skating, reading, and spending time with extended family and friends.

Academic interests

Research and Professional Interests

  • DNA topoisomerases
  • Interactions between chemotherapeutic agents and their cellular targets
  • DNA-enzyme interactions
  • Active-learning pedagogies

Research and scholarship

  • Dr. Amy Wilstermann is developing materials to improve children's understanding of cancer. She and her research student, Sara Conrad, found a lack of teaching materials about cancer targeted to children. They focused on developing a curriculum focusing on four sections: introducing children to the basic scientific concepts of cancer, teaching about the most common cancers for children under age 9, leukemia and lymphoma, presenting information about cancer treatments, and lastly helping children find ways to care for others with cancer. 
  • Dr. Wilstermann has also investigated the role of bacteria in the Premature Rupture of Fetal Membranes. She focused on studying the shift from a healthy vaginal environment to bacterial vaginosis conditions, which causes negative effects in reproduction, pregnancy. and contracting STD's.


  • Baker, R.A., Priestley, J.R.C., Wilstermann, A.M., Reese, K.J., Mark, P.M. (2018) Clinical Spectrum of BCS1L Mitopathies and their Underlying Structural Relationships. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A. 1-8.
  • Wilstermann, A.M., Bender, Godfrey,R., Choi, S., Anklin, C., M., Berkowitz, D. B., Osheroff, N., and Graves, D. E. (2007) Topoisomerase II-Drug Interaction Domains: Identification of Substituents on Etoposide that Interact with the Enzyme. Biochemistry 46, 8217-8225.
  • Wilstermann, A.M., Osheroff, N. (2003) Stabilization of Eukaryotic Topoisomerase II-DNA Cleavage Complexes. Curr. Top. Med. Chem. 3, 321-328.
  • Wilstermann, A.M., Osheroff, N. (2001) Positioning the 3’-DNA Terminus for Topoisomerase II-mediated Religation. J. Biol. Chem. 276, 17727-17731.
  • Wilstermann, A.M., Osheroff, N. (2001) Base Excision Repair Intermediates as Topoisomerase II Poisons. J. Biol. Chem. 276, 46290-46296.


In the news

Partnering to create cancer education curriculum for kids

Biology professor Amy Wilstermann, her students and local health professionals have teamed up to develop a curriculum that helps explain cancer to kids.

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