Rachael Baker

Rachael Baker


  • B.S., Calvin University (College), 2008
  • Ph.D., Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013


Rachael’s research is in the area of mitochondrial rare diseases and what they can teach us about mitochondrial dynamics and regulation. Her interest in Rare Disease research has also led her to connect with and begin to advocate for the Rare Disease community. She is a co-founder of the Rare Disease Network, a collaborative organization that seeks to provide support and education to the Rare Disease community in Michigan. Rachael’s work in the highly interdisciplinary Rare Disease field has also led to her interest in how to prepare students to be effective scientists and collaborators. Rachael is passionate about how faith shapes our approach to doing science and can be a resource for improving the way we do science. In collaboration with other faculty at Calvin, she is developing a training curriculum and associated faculty workshop for using Christian practices to improve outcomes in collaborative science projects.

Professional experience

  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Calvin University, 2014-present
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, UNC Chapel Hill, 2013-2014

Academic interests

  • Rare Diseases
  • Mitochondrial Structure and Function
  • Virtues in the Sciences
  • Vocation


Research and scholarship


Undergraduate student names appear in bold. 

Julie Yonker, Hannah Hooley, Rachael Baker, & Amy Wilstermann. "Building a Thriving Research Team". Vocation Matters. https://vocationmatters.org/2021/03/23/building-a-thriving-research-team/  23 March. 2021.

Rachel Chee, Naomi Cohen, Sadie Laughlin, Danny Lo, Daniel Sculley, and Emilee The. Edited by Rachael Baker and Amy Wilstermann. "Better Together: Rare Calvin" an imprint of The Calvin Press. ISBN: 978-1-937555-43-6. 2020.

Rachael A. Baker, Jessica R.C. Priestley, Amy M. Wilstermann, Kalina J. Reese, Paul R. Mark. "Clinical Spectrum of BCS1L Mitopathies and their Underlying Structural Relationships." American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A. 1-8. 2018.

Mason Swartz, Philip Tubergen, Chad Tatko, and Rachael A. Baker. "Experimental Determination of pKa Values and Metal Binding for Biomolecular Compounds Using 31P NMR Spectroscopy". Journal of Chemical Education. 95 (1), 182-185. 2018.

Gauri Dixit*, Rachael Baker*, Carly M. Sacks, Matthew Torres, and Henrik G. Dohlman. "Guanine Nucleotide-Binding Protein (Gα) Endocytosis by a Cascade of Ubiquitin Binding Domain Proteins is Required for Sustained Morphogenesis and Proper Mating in Yeast." Journal of Biological Chemistry289 (21): 15052-15063. 2014
*These authors contributed equally to this work

Rachael Baker, Emily M. Wilkerson, Kazutaka Sumita, Daniel G. Isom, Atsuo Sasaki, Henrik G. Dohlman, and Sharon L. Campbell. "Differences in the Regulation of K-Ras and H-Ras Isoforms by Monoubiquitination." Journal of Biological Chemistry. 288 (52): 36856-36862. 2013. 

Daniel G. Isom, Vish Sridharan, Rachael Baker, Sarah T. Clement, David M. Smalley, and Henrik G. Dohlman. "Protons as Second Messenger Regulators of G Protein Signaling." Molecular Cell51 (4): 531-538. 2013. 

Rachael Baker, Steven M. Lewis, Emily M. Wilkerson, Atsuo T. Sasaki, Lewis C. Cantley, Brian Kuhlman, Henrik G. Dohlman, and Sharon L. Campbell. "Site-Specific Monoubiquitination Activates Ras by Impeding GTPase Activating Protein Function."  Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.  20 (1): 46-52. 2013. *
*Highlighted in Nature Reviews Molecular and Cell Biology: Katharine Wrighton (2013) Cell Signaling: How Monoubiquitination Keeps RAS Active. 14, 66-67. 


  • Community-Based Teaching Award, Calvin University - 2021
  • National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (National Institutes of Health)NCATS Rare Diseases Are Not Rare! Challenge- Honorable Mention - 2020
  • The Mitochondrial Medicine SocietyKelsey Wright Award for Excellence in Mitochondrial Medicine - 2018

In the news

Show your stripes at Calvin University's Rare Disease Symposium

Calvin University Rare Disease Research & Support will host a Rare Disease Symposium on Rare Disease Day, February 29th, 2020 at the Prince Conference Center.

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Learn more about Calvin's excellent faculty and learning environment by scheduling a campus visit.

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