Bridgewater resident, and current Pingry School science teacher, Morgan Thompson recently had an article she wrote published in the scientific journal, “Nature Structural & Molecular Biology,” one of the most prestigious in the field of biology.
“When the paper was accepted, I was extremely excited,” she said. “It was an honor to have my work published by the Nature Publishing Group, knowing that my work would receive a great deal of exposure in the scientific community.”
The article was published in the December 2012 issue of the journal.
The article Thompson wrote stemmed from a question of how cells move around inside the body. Her work focused on examining the structure of two proteins and how they interact at an atomic level.
By solving the structure of these proteins, Thompson was able to develop two molecular models to illustrate the interaction. In her article, she determined that understanding the models could help scientists gain a better knowledge of a wide range of diseases, from muscle disease to cancer.
“This paper represents four years of work and took the majority of my graduate school career,” she said, adding that this is her first published article. “Rather than publishing several smaller papers, we waited to put enough data together to publish our workings in a higher impact journal.”
“This paper was the culmination of my graduate work,” she added.
A Bridgewater resident only since August, Thompson said she came to the area after accepting a job teaching biology at The Pingry School, which she started in September.
Thompson said she teaches Biology I and Biology II to freshmen and sophomores, as well as a molecular biology techniques course called Introduction to Scientific Research.
“In the research class, I teach common molecular biology techniques that are used on a regular basis in most research laboratories in the biomedical sciences,” she said.
Thompson grew up in New Hampshire and said she attended Boston University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical engineering. After college, she said, she worked for a year as a technician in a structural biology research laboratory at Dartmouth College, which she later joined for her graduate work.
In October 2012, Thompson said, she defended her doctoral thesis at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth’s Molecular and Cellular Biology program and received her Ph.D. in biochemistry.
As for the research that led to her published paper, Thompson has been presenting the work at conferences for about five years, and it served as a chapter of her thesis.
And now, Thompson is bringing her knowledge to The Pingry School.
“I came to Pingry because of the advanced level of its research program and science curriculum compared to other high schools,” she said. “I have been really impressed with what Pingry offers its students.”