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Adjunct Instructor

University of Central Oklahoma

Classes Taught

Mammalian Physiology I & II (BIO 3103, 3813) General Biology (BIO 1114) Cell Biology (BIO 2203) - on occasion

Education and Certifications

Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 2012 B.S., Biology, and B.A., Spanish, Oklahoma Baptist University, 2006

Research, Published Work, and Scholarly Activities

At UCO, I work with Drs. Robert Brennan and John Bowen on the design of microfluidic paper-based diagnostic devices. My graduate research explored the function of the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase protein of the human parainfluenza viruses. I also worked on characterization of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus. Publications: Amonsen M., D.F. Smith, R.D. Cummings, and G.M. Air. Human parainfluenza viruses hPIV1 and hPIV3 bind oligosaccharides with α2,3-linked sialic acids that are distinct from those bound by H5 avian influenza virus hemagglutinin. J. Virol. 2007, 81(15): 8341-8345 Song X., H. Yu, X. Chen, Y. Lasanajak, M.M. Tappert, G.M. Air, V.K. Tiwari, H. Cao, H.A. Chokhawala, H. Zheng, R.D. Cummings, and D.F. Smith. A sialylated glycan microarray reveals novel interactions of modified sialic acids with proteins and viruses. J. Biol. Chem. 2011, 286 (36): 31610- 31622 Tappert M., D. F. Smith, and G. M. Air. Fixation of oligosaccharides to a surface may increase the susceptibility to human parainfluenza virus 1, 2, or 3 hemagglutinin-neuraminidase. J. Virol. 2011, 85(23): 12146-12159 Heimburg-Molinaro J., M. Tappert, X. Song, Y. Lasanajak, G. Air, D.F. Smith, and R.D. Cummings. Probing virus-glycan interactions using glycan microarrays. Methods Mol. Biol. 2012, 808: 251-267 Tappert M., J. Z. Porterfield, P. Mehta-D’Souza, S. Gulati, and G. M. Air. Quantitative comparison of human parainfluenza virus hemagglutinin-neuraminidase receptor binding and receptor cleavage. J. Virol. 2013, 87(16): 8962-8970


Teaching has been my primary job since the fall of 2012. My usual course load is the Mammalian Physiology sequence (BIO 3803/3813) and General Biology (BIO 1114), but I have also taught Cell Biology (BIO 2203) and, at another institution, General Chemistry and Lab. Before coming to UCO, I participated in a professor training course at OU Health Sciences Center. As an upper-division undergraduate, I taught recitations for Organic Chemistry I and II.

Teaching Philosophy

I believe that science students should, when possible, think rather than memorize. I have teaching experience in both biology and chemistry, and I try to craft my classes to focus on integration of concepts and processes. I aim for understanding of the "why" and "how" of a biochemical process; once the basic concepts are established, a student can easily learn to identify how specific examples fit the pattern with minimal time spent on flash cards and other memorization tools.

The views expressed by UCO faculty and staff on their personal websites and social media pages do not necessarily reflect the positions of the University of Central Oklahoma. UCO faculty and staff are advised to follow the university’s social media guidelines and are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with policies outlined in UCO’s Employee Handbook and/or Faculty Handbook.