Lathiena Manning, Ph.D.



    University of Maryland Baltimore County


    Mark Peifer, Ph.D.


My personal experiences in and out of the classroom have influenced my desire to become both a researcher and teacher. These experiences have, and will continue to be, the greatest factor that enables my success and determination and therefore fuels my desire to play a role in the development of the next generation of scientist.  After the completion of my bachelor’s degree, I spent year teaching high school biology at a small private school in Wilmington, Delaware.  As this was my first experience teaching, I realized very quickly the challenges that result from trying to keep students engaged.  Since my experience teaching high school, I have learned that it is important for students to feel empowered to reach their personal educational goals.  I now know that my role as a teacher is to foster an environment in which students feel comfortable conveying their educational needs and desires.  Throughout my teaching experience, I have learned many lessons, with the most important being that each student is unique in their needs and the optimal biology course design should include diverse activities to engage many different learning styles.  

The training I received during my graduate school career has fostered a passion for morphology and cell differentiation.  My main career goal is to enter academia with a tenure track research faculty position, which requires excellence in teaching and research.  I would like to conduct research at a primarily undergraduate institution.  I believe that advancing the field of science starts by promoting students interests in research.  Fostering the scientific skills of students at the undergraduate level will broaden the community’s knowledge of the importance of science. 

 Under the guidance of Dr. Mark Piefer, my postdoctoral training will be focused on broadening my research expertise, attaining grant writing experience, and publishing in leading journals. All of these skills will be vital in preparation for my role as an principal investigator. Specifically my postdoctoral research will be aimed at determining the role of Wnt signaling induced chemical mediators, such as cytoskeletal proteins and adhesion molecules, in shaping epithelial tissue architecture during embryogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster. This work will be at the interface of cell, development and molecular biology fields to understand changes that occur at both a molecular cellular level. By using this cross discipline or integrated approach, we will have a better understanding of molecular mechanisms that control cellular changes that occur during Drosophila embryogenesis, tissue organization in general, and more importantly this work could lead to determine putative targets that contribute to the epithelial tissue morphogenetic activities during wound healing.


  • Spring 2017
    • Principles of Biology - Molecules and Cells, North Carolina Central University