Bao became an HHMI postdoctoral teaching fellow on May 1, 2012.
Bao conducted her graduate studies with Michael A. Farrar while earning her Ph.D in Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology (MICaB) from the University of Minnesota. She stayed at the University following graduate school, researching T-cell development as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology.
While working as a postdoc, Bao realized she missed teaching and interacting with undergraduates. In graduate school, she was a teaching assistant for an undergraduate microbiology class, which she thoroughly enjoyed. She thought the HHMI postdoctoral position would be a great opportunity to start teaching undergraduates again.
Bao collaborated with Anna Strain on an oral microflora lab module for BIOL 1010 Human Biology. In this lab, students grow colonies of bacteria swabbed from their own mouth and isolate and sequence the bacteria's DNA. The goal is to get students to think critically about the microorganisms in their oral cavity while learning labs techniques for microbiologists.
Bao is conducting research with Lisa Schimmenti to study how alcohol affects the development of eye muscles in Zebrafish. They hope this research may someday help treat infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. Bao would like to bring this research into undergraduate biology labs. Her idea is to use a green fluorescent protein (GFP) to allow students to track the immune response in zebrafish.
Bao is also working as a postdoc in the Science Education Integrated Scientific Education Outreach (inSciEd Out) program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. This program partners K-8 students with researchers, university faculty, and teachers to promote science education. After her HHMI work, she would love to become the coordinator for a new InScied Out hub in the Twin Cities.
Teaching Mentor: Jane Phillips
Research Mentor: Lisa Schimmenti