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Amy Cheng Vollmer

Professor of Biology

Amy Cheng Vollmer, Professor of Biology
Amy Cheng Vollmer, Professor of Biology

An authority on microbiology and biotechnology, Professor Vollmer focuses her research on the bacterial stress response, particularly in prokaryotes such as E. coli.

Her investigations focus on the regulation of the response of bacteria to environmental stress. Her published work is in both basic bacterial genetics and physiology as well as applied and environmental microbiology. Additional projects include studies of the microbial ecology of soil and birds. According to Professor Vollmer, bacterial stress response is an area of expanding interest because it spans problems in infectious disease, environmental remediation, ecological consortia, biofilm establishment, and long-term evolutionary selection.

In addition to her teaching and research at Swarthmore, Vollmer is president of the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology and chair of the Student Membership Committee and chair-elect of the General Microbiology Division of the American Society for Microbiology. She also is a nationally-consulted expert on microbiology education, having served as the editor-in-chief for the first four years of the peer-reviewed journal Microbiology Education, now named the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education.

Professor Vollmer teaches courses in cellular and molecular biology, microbiology, microbial pathogenesis and the immune response and microbial processes and biotechnology. She received her B.A. from Rice University and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Division of Immunology at Stanford University Medical School's Department of Medicine.


Listen to astronomer Eric Jensen and biologist Amy Cheng Vollmer give a joint lecture entitled, "Astrobiology... Are We Alone?"
Eric Jensen and Amy Cheng Vollmer


Listen to Amy Vollmer's lecture, "Dancing with the Bugs: Delicate Choreography for Humans and their Microbial Partners." She will give an overview of the intertwined worlds of humans and microbes and examples of how microbiology is an ideal vehicle for promoting science literacy throughout the Swarthmore curriculum.


Listen to Amy Vollmer discuss efforts to relate research and discovery in microbiology to society at large in hopes of increasing scientific literacy.

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