Mary joined the faculty of the University of Vermont in the School of Engineering in July of 2010. She was a postdoc at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab) where she worked on improving microbial biofuel production. Her graduate studies were done at the California Institute of Technology where she studied dynamic gene regulation in single-celled microorganisms.
She received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech and her Bachelors degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University. Among other things, Dr. Dunlop has led the Caltech Project for Effective Teaching and worked with numerous undergraduate researchers.
One of the reasons Mary was interested in UVM was because of her love for the outdoors, having previously hiked the Long Trail. She grew up around technology; her parents, now retired and living in Lake George, New York originally worked at Bell Labs. Her mother worked as an applied mathematician and her father as an electrical engineer. Her brother, David, works as a computer scientist in project management. Her husband, Asa Hopkins, is an energy policy analyst.
Her research interests center on control theory and synthetic biology. Her lab will study how feedback control systems are implemented in molecular biology. She is particularly interested in processes that are dynamic and use fluorescent proteins and time-lapse microscopy to image single cells over the course of many hours. Applications include problems in bioenergy and medicine.
"We are interested in both engineering novel control systems in cells and studying how robust, predictable behavior is achieved with naturally occurring feedback loops," says Dr. Dunlop.
Dr. Dunlop will begin teaching ME 111 Systems Dynamics this Fall with approximately 35 students.
"I look forward to teaching students about how engineering philosophy can be applied to study many types of problems, including mechanical, electrical, and biological systems," says Dunlop.