Each year, the President’s Faculty Research Award, sponsored by the President and the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, is awarded to outstanding faculty from across UA Colleges and Schools. We are thrilled to share that Dr. Laura Reed, Associate Professor in Biological Sciences, received this award in the “Mid-career Physical & Biological Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering” category this year.
Dr. Reed’s research unites evolutionary genetics with analysis of the multi-layer physiological mechanisms that determine population level variation in metabolic traits like obesity and type-2 diabetes. She uses fruit flies as a model system to explore how the complex interactions between genetic factors and environment drive differences in disease risk among individuals. Specifically, she studies the impacts of diet, exercise, gut microbiome, and transgenerational environment on metabolic traits. She and her team perform elegant experiments and employ cutting-edge genomic, metabolomic, and computational approaches to understand how these factors interact.
Dr. Reed is a prolific scholar who has authored more than 35 peer-reviewed publications and publishes her work in top journals including Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Genetics, Metabolomics and others. Her research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health, and she has been awarded more than $6.6 million dollars in grant funding since joining UA.
Dr. Reed incorporates aspects of her research and cutting-edge research in her field into her teaching through UA courses such as Integrated Genomics and Evolution. In 2017, she became the Director for the Genomics Education Partnership, a national collaboration involving over 100 colleges and universities that provides authentic course-based research experiences to undergraduate biology students. She has since secured grant funding to double the number of institutions served by the partnership, especially focusing on minority-serving institutions and community colleges.
Dr. Reed is a valued member of the Department of Biological Sciences who, despite her active research program, has worked diligently to ensure that graduate student workloads are fair and balanced and, as of this semester, she serves as the chair of the newly formed departmental committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Learn more about her interesting and important research by visiting Dr. Reed’s website at http://flygxe.ua.edu/.