Professor of Biology, Genetics
Office Location: 208 Science Connector Building
Heidi Sleister earned an undergraduate degree from Central College with majors in biology and education and minors in chemistry and Spanish. She earned a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Iowa in 1995. She was a post-doctoral associate in Protein Biochemistry at Pioneer Hi-Bred and then worked for ~6 years in Pioneer’s Protein Engineering group as a senior research associate. Dr. Sleister joined Drake’s Biology Department in 2002 and was promoted to Associate Professor of Biology in 2008. She currently serves as Associate Chair of the Biology Department.
Dr. Sleister regularly teaches introductory biology (BIO 012), genetics (BIO 105), Human Genetics (BIO 185), Molecular Cell Biology Laboratory (BIO 187L), and Undergraduate Research (BIO 197L). She has also offered upper-level elective courses on topics ranging from cancer genetics to science ethics & diversity.
Dr. Sleister’s area of expertise is genetics. Her current research projects are related to host-viral interactions and chromosome transmission. In collaboration with Drake Biology faculty Dr. Busch and Dr. Dao, Dr. Sleister participates in Drake’s NASA-ISGC Base Program which aims to understand the effects of gravity on the interaction of influenza A virus and the innate immune response. Specifically, undergraduate research students in her lab are implementing the yeast two-hybrid system to identify human host proteins that interact with influenza A viral proteins. In addition to “bench” science, Dr. Sleister is active in the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has presented her work at regional and national conferences and has published her work in journals such as Genetics, Journal of Immunological Methods, and Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities. Her work has been funded by NASA (ISGC), the Iowa Science Foundation, and the Carver Foundation.