Assistant Professor of Biology
Office: Parente 325
Phone: Ext 8094
B.S. Microbiology, Colorado State University, 1997
M.S. Veterinary Science (emphasis in immunology), University of Nebraska, 2004
Ph.D Genetics, The Pennsylvania State University, 2012
Courses Taught (Catalog number; name)
BIOL213; Cell and molecular biology
BIOL213L; Cell and molecular biology lab
BIOL314L; Microbiology lab
BIOL326L; Immunology lab
Dr. Justice-Bitner’s research has two main areas of focus: G-protein coupled receptor signaling (protein-protein interactions) and resistance of bacteria to natural antimicrobials.
To investigate the role that protein-protein interactions may have in the process of addiction, Dr. Justice-Bitner uses the yeast two-hybrid technique. Dr. Justice-Bitner’s previous research used this technique to discover 3 new proteins that interact with the mu-opioid receptor. She is currently using this same technique to try to uncover more binding partners for the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1 or CB1). This receptor is involved in a variety of physiological processes including metabolism, pain, appetite, and addiction.
To investigate the ability of bacteria to become resistant to natural products, Dr. Justice-Bitner uses a modified Kirby-Bauer method. She has begun testing different essential oils with known antimicrobial activity to see if various species of bacteria can become resistant to the antimicrobial effects of these oils.
Recent Conference Presentations
Student Presentations at Pennsylvania Academy of Science:
Sarah Almony – Detection of novel protein-interactions with the human cannabinoid-1 receptor
Taylor Philips – Using the Kirby-Bauer Method to examine bacterial resistance to tea tree oil
Andrew Vera – Detection of novel protein-interactions with the second intracellular loop of the human cannabinoid-1 receptor
MOR Is Not Enough: Identification of Novel mu-Opioid Receptor Interacting proteins Using Traditional and Modified Membrane Yeast Two-Hybrid Screens. (with J Petko, J Jin, V Wong, S Kittanakom, T Ferraro, I Staglijar, and R Levenson) PLOS ONE 2013.
Identifying novel members of the Wntless interactome through genetic and candidate gene approaches. (with J Petko, T Tranchina, G Patel, and R Levenson) Brain Research Bulletin 2017.