Laura Salem, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology, Department Chair of Biology, Co-director of Biochemistry Program Biochemistry


Office: St. Ignatius Science Center 220D

General Biology I, Biology for the Contemporary Scene and Biotechnology

Research Interests:

My background and primary training is in baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. As a graduate student and postdoc I studied chromosome behavior and transposable elements. During my time at Rockhurst, I have collaborated with several laboratories and included undergraduates in those collaborations. 


Spring 2013-present

  1. Collaboration with Dr. Scott Hawley’s laboratory at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research
  2. Students are working on the Rockhurst campus to map female sterile mutations in Drosophila melanogaster to specific chromosomal locations
  3. Project involves basic fly husbandry, genetic analysis, and bioinformatics
  4. Goals for this project include student-designed posters and publications at local, regional and national meetings

 Summers 2003, 2004 and 2005 and spring 2013

  1. Collaboration with Dr. Michael Plamann’s laboratory at UMKC
  2. Several students received summer undergraduate research fellowships from Rockhurst to work at UMKC over the summer
  3. Students worked full time over the summer on cytoplasmic dynein mutations in Neurospora crassa, using genetic reversion analysis and cytology to analyze their results
  4. Dr. Ryan Elsenpeter in the biology department is continuing on with this research

Selected posters publications (BOLD indicates undergraduate student):

  1. Reversion analysis of cytoplasmic dynein heavy chain in Neurospora crassa: Laura Salem, Kelly Hagan, Robert Schnittker, and Mike Plamann. Poster presented at the Festival of Student Achievement, Rockhurst University, Spring 2009.
  2. Developing a Genetic Interaction Map of Cytoplasmic Dynein in Neurospora crassa: Laura Salem, Sarah Lamb, Robert Schnittker, and Mike Plamann.  Poster presented at the Association of College and University Biology Educators National Meeting, 2007; Dubuque, IA.
  3. Relationship between RNA lariat debranching and Ty1 element retrotransposition LA Salem, CL Boucher, TM Menees - Journal of virology, 2003 - Am Soc Microbiol
  4. Suppressor analysis of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene REC104 reveals a genetic interaction with REC102 L Salem, N Walter, R Malone - Genetics, 1999 - Genetics Soc America