Laura Westrate


Laura Westrate's staff photo

Education

  • B.S. Biology, B.A. Chemistry- Hope College, 2008
  • Ph.D. Cell and Molecular Genetics- Van Andel Institute Graduate School, 2013
  • Postdoctoral Studies- University of Colorado, Boulder, 2018

Biography

Professor Westrate grew up in West Michigan and earned her B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Chemistry from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Having always been interested in science, Hope College provided her first introduction to scientific research and she became fascinated by the inner complexities of the cell. The disconnect between textbooks, which at first glance can paint a story that we know everything there is to know about the cell, was in sharp contrast to the narrative in the laboratory settings that highlighted just how much we still did not understand. The ability to design experiments and use the results to begin unpacking the world around us was an immediate hook for her and laid the foundation for the educational choices Professor Westrate made after graduation. In 2008, Professor Westrate joined the Van Andel Research Institute as a graduate student studying the structure and dynamics of mitochondria in cells. In 2012, she graduated with her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics and moved to the University of Colorado-Boulder for her post-doctoral fellowship where she began studying the structure and dynamics of another organelle in the cell, the endoplasmic reticulum (or ER for short). Having always wanted to have the opportunity to introduce the next generation of scientists to the world of research, Professor Westrate jumped at the opportunity to join the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department in the fall of 2018 and has been teaching courses in general chemistry and biochemistry while also maintaining a small lab of 2-5 students. When she is not in the classroom or the lab, Professor Westrate enjoys traveling, hiking and playing board games with friends and family.

Professional experience

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry- Calvin University, 2018- present
  • Postdoctoral fellow- University of Colorado, Boulder, 2013- 2018

Academic interests

Research/Academic Interests

  • Protein trafficking and export from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)
  • Organelle structure and function
  • Fluorescent microscopy
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