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Rachel Bleich, Ph.D.

Microbiology & Immunology


UNC Chapel Hill – Pharmaceutical Sciences


Janelle Arthur, Ph.D.


My passion for science education began during my undergraduate experience at Western Carolina University. The rapport I fostered with my professors and the interest they took in my education, created a desire to be able to help other students in the same manner. Being a student at Western Carolina University gave me a unique opportunity to do impactful research and mentor and teach laboratory techniques to other students.

As a graduate student at UNC, I studied natural product biosynthesis in the lab of Dr. Albert Bowers. I developed tools to access peptide natural products produced by members of genus Bacillus to accelerate antibiotic development, and studied the role of these compounds in interspecies interactions. My work was greatly enhanced through collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Shank in the Department of Biology at UNC, where I examined these peptides for their signaling roles.

During graduate school, I sought further opportunities to grow my teaching and mentorship abilities. I mentored undergraduates and pharmacy students in my graduate lab over three years. Additionally, as a Royster Society Fellow, I had the opportunity to participate in the Royster Advanced Mentoring Program for three years, and had the opportunity to be a Royster Peer mentor where I was also to mentor undergraduates and incoming Royster Fellows.

As a postdoctoral SPIRE scholar, I am excited for the opportunity to continue developing my teaching and research skills.   In Janelle Arthur’s lab, I am expanding my bacterial interactions skills to study host-microbe interactions.  Specifically, examining the role of inflammation in shaping the carcinogenic capabilities of E. coli in the human gut.  I am looking forward to bringing my research experience into the classroom, and expanding my training in science education.


Spring 2019

Principles of Biology – UNC Pembroke

Fall 2019

Microbial Communities and Microbiome – UNC Pembroke