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Janet Kirkley

Professor of Biochemistry

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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East entry to Ford Center for the Fine Arts.

Janet Kirkley

At Knox Since: 1992

Professor and Chair of Biochemistry

Kirkley's students have presented their research at the annual meeting of the American Association of Immunologists.

Janet Kirkley in a biochemistry lab with a student.

Describe your current research.

I study factors that regulate the response of macrophages, a type of white blood cell that's involved in inflammation. While people tend to think of inflammation as bad, it's actually an important component of a successful immune defense against an infectious agent. However, if it's not properly regulated, it can cause serious injury.

How do your students impact your research?

They work alongside me at the bench, generating the data. I've published with student co-authors, and students from my lab have presented their work at the annual meeting of the American Association of Immunologists.

What drew you to Knox?

They ran an ad in Science looking for a biochemist to help start a new major in biochemistry at Knox, and I thought it was very progressive of a small, liberal arts college to offer biochemistry as a formal major at the undergraduate level. As an undergraduate, once I learned what biochemistry was, I wanted to major in it but didn't have that opportunity at my college.

What is your most memorable moment at Knox?

Too many to pick one -- I've been here more than 20 years! As a rule, they entail a significant student accomplishment, like acceptance in a prestigious M.D.-Ph.D. program or winning a competitive award.

If you weren't a professor, you would be a ...?

Full-time biomedical researcher developing vaccines.

How would you describe academic life at Knox?

Challenging, lively, and rewarding.

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Printed on Saturday, June 22, 2024