ABOUT ME

After completing her Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Biophysics at Oregon State University, Dr. Heather Masson-Forsythe joined the National Science Foundation as a American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Office of the Assistant Director. During her Ph.D., Heather used a variety of molecular biology and biophysical methods, particularly nuclear magnetic resonance, to answer biological questions related to cataracts and COVID-19. She also spent one year as a Ph.D. research and development intern in Hewlett-Packard’s microfluidics lab contributing to the company’s growing healthcare and life sciences product development. 

 

Heather’s greatest claim to fame to date is turning her Ph.D. work into a dance performance, winning the COVID-19 category in the 2021 Dance Your Ph.D. contest. Heather is passionate about effective science communication, and in an effort to make science available to increasingly more diverse members of the community, she has also used dance to create hundreds of TikTok videos discussing science & science culture. On the popular social media app, she quickly accumulated over fifty-thousand followers, earning her recognition in Forbes and International Business Times. Throughout her graduate work, she also worked on Inspiration Dissemination, a live radio show, podcast, and blog interviewing Oregon State University Graduate Students about their research and career paths. She is also a contributing writer for ASBMB Today, the member magazine for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

 

In her free time, Heather continues dancing, and is an ardent traveler, hiker, rock-climber, karaoke singer, and dog mom to her mini australian shepherd.

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EXPERIENCE

EDUCATION

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Oregon State University

Graduate Teaching Assistant 2016-2019 

Graduate Research Assistant 2020-2021

2016-2021

Ph.D. Biochemistry & Biophysics

- Oregon State University

Advisor: Dr. Elisar Barbar
Research interests: protein dynamics, protein structure and function relationships, intrinsically disordered proteins, RNA-protein binding interactions
Lab Experience: Bacterial protein expression and purification, 1D 2D & 3D nuclear magnetic resonance, cloning, plasmid prep, column chromatography, transformation, PCR, DNA extraction, ion exchange, SDS-PAGE, agarose gel electrophoresis, analytical ultracentrifugation, circular dichroism crystallography, isothermal titration calorimetry, linux and command line proficient, Python basics

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2012-2016

B.S. Biology - University of Central Arkansas

Honors Thesis

Advisor: Dr. Mindy Farris

“Effect of Hormone Precursor Availability on Lifespan & Stress Resistance of Long-lived C. elegans”

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2020

Ph.D. Research & Development Intern

Hewlett Packard

Microfluidics Futures Lab

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2012-2016

Minor Honors Interdisciplinary Studies  University of Central Arkansas' Norbert O. Schedler Honors College

Honors Thesis

Advisor: Dr. Ellen Stengel, Writing Department

“Harry Potter and the Ugly Passport Photo”

Study abroad program developed for university’s Writing, Childhood Education, Film & Biology programs following an independent study abroad in Ireland, the UK, and Portugal

2014-2016

Volunteer Undergraduate Research Assistant, Arkansas Children's Hospital

Advisor: Dr. Gulner Com

“Longitudinal Assessment of Fat Free Mass Index and its Impact on Clinical Outcome of Children with Cystic Fibrosis”

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2021-Present

ASBMB Today Contributing Writer

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2018-2020

Inspiration Dissemination Podcast/Blog Host

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2022-Present

National Science Foundation

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Office of the Assistant Director