The Genetic Revolution, Swarthmore, and Me

On campus for her 50th reunion during Alumni Weekend 2011, bacterial molecular geneticist June Rothman Scott '61 shared her experience of the revolution in her field and how her Swarthmore training prepared her for her career. "If I've learned anything in these 50 years," she says, "it's that we're very poor at predicting the future - but Swarthmore somehow managed to prepare us for this future anyway." In her lab at Emory University, where she has taught since 1969, Scott, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, uses molecular biological and microbial genetic techniques to study virulence factors in bacterial pathogens. She and her team investigate the group A streptococcus, a serious human pathogen that causes "strep throat," rheumatic heart disease, toxic shock syndrome, and other serious invasive diseases. Scott is also Principal Investigator of an NIH training grant that funds pre- and post-doctoral trainees in molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis.