Dr. Wendy Trzyna,
Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences




Ph.D. (Molecular Biology), University of Wyoming
B.S. (Biological Sciences), Illinois State University


Acanthamoeba. Under conditions of overwhelming environmental stress, this single celled eukaryotic microbe undergoes encystment, a cellular differentiation event that results in a dormant form of the amoeba encased in a highly resistant structure. Exactly how these changes are detected and the molecules and mechanisms involved in this process form the basis of Dr. Trzyna’s current research. In particular, the function of Type-I Metacaspases and its functional role in encystment are being investigated. Metacaspases are related to caspases, which are integral components of apoptosis (programmed cell death) in higher eukaryotes. Furthermore, as Acanthamoeba are able to survive over a wide range of environmental conditions, whole genome analysis of amoebae from diverse environments may reveal novel mechanisms promoting this flexibility. An understanding of these mechanisms may also help explain why some isolates of Acanthamoeba are opportunistic human pathogens causing a rare but serious eye infection, amoebic keratitis.


Dr. Trzyna is currently teaching Microbial Genetics at Marshall at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Prior to teaching at MU, Trzyna taught courses in Medical Microbiology and Immunology; PCR Methods; General Microbiology; Molecular Biology; Survey of Microbiology; Undergraduate Seminar; and University Seminar, all at Louisiana Tech University.


For the past four years, Dr. Trzyna was an Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Biology at Louisiana Tech University. While at LTU, she was very active in mentoring many undergraduate and graduate students research, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and also took an active role in enhancing upper division laboratory courses by obtaining, in collaboration with colleagues, funds for acquisition of molecular biology equipment and bioinformatics software for the biotechnology teaching laboratory. Service to the university included several years on the PreMedical/PreDental Advisory Committee, the Advisory Council for the Dean for the College of Applied and Natural Sciences (CANS), the research committee for CANS and the Graduate Council for CANS.


Dr. Trzyna is a member of the American Society for Microbiology.


Contact Info
telephone: (304) 696-6791
e-mail: trzyna@marshall.edu