Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Professor of MCDB
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Proteins synthesized in the cytoplasm must be targeted to their proper subcellular location and transported across the appropriate organellar membrane boundaries. Dr. Olsen's research focused on the assembly of peroxisomes, which are small organelles present in all eukaryotes. A combination of cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology are used to investigate the mechanisms of protein transport into peroxisomes. In addition to being an intrinsically interesting basic biological problem, an understanding of protein trafficking in cells is critical as scientists design strategies to genetically engineer crop plants. It also provides an experimental vehicle to investigate the mistargeting of peroxisomal proteins, which is the cause of many severe neurological disorders in humans.
Dr. Olsen earned her Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Davis. She was awarded the Class of 1923 Memorial Teaching Award in 1996, the Amoco Foundation Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2000, and is now an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor.