Spicer Joins Master's in Biotechnology Program
Olivia Spicer is the new faculty program coordinator for the master’s in Biotechnology program, a degree offered by the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences Advanced Academic Programs. The Biotechnology program offers a comprehensive exploration of basic science, applied science and lab science, with an industry focus.
Spicer grew up on a bayou in South Louisiana, sparking an interest in marine biology. She received her bachelor’s degree in marine biology from Nicholls State University, and her master’s degree in marine and environmental biology from the same school. She moved to Maryland to do her Ph.D., which she completed last year at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Spicer focused on environmental molecular biotechnology.
“I looked at hormones in the brain that regulate reproduction in zebrafish,” Spicer said. “My lab focused on aquaculture and biomedical science. It was a good blend of the two.” Spicer said the principles of reproduction in zebrafish can be applied to other aquaculture species; the zebrafish, she said, is a great model for genetics and has a similar endocrine system to humans.
At JHU, Spicer will enhance and modernize the curriculum for the advanced recombinant DNA lab. This spring, she will teach senior citizens in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute about polymerase chain reactions and sequencing as part of the Genomics and You: What is Personalized Medicine seminar.
Spicer expects to teach graduate-level courses later in the year and is advising students in the biotechnology master’s program.
“I’ve found biotechnology and molecular biotechnology very interesting because you can directly see how it benefits the health industry and other areas,” Spicer said. “There’s a lot of direct application.”