Marilee Benore, PhD - Professor of Biology and Biochemistry

Academic and Professional Background

Marilee Benore is a Professor of Biochemistry and Biology in the Natural Sciences Department at the University of Michigan Dearborn. Her BA in chemistry and AA in Psychology were awarded from Thomas More College (KY) in 1979, and she earned a PhD from the University of Delaware in 1986.

At the University of Michigan-Dearborn, she specializes in teaching biochemistry and incorporating research into the classroom, as well as teaching courses that intersect foundational areas. Courses include Introductory Biology and lab, Biochemistry and lab, Gender in Science and Engineering, and Diversity in Healthcare. She has also co-taught classes in Gender Studies, Nutrition, and Receptors. Recognized as a leader in biochemistry education reform, she works with the ASBMB on efforts to develop concepts that define student learning. She has served as the National Director of the ASBMB student chapters, a co-chair of the undergraduate poster session, the Editor of the newsletter, and has co-published a lab manual Fundamental Laboratory Approaches in Biochemistry and Biotechnology (FLABBe2) with Ninfa and Ballou. She is working with Biochemistry faculty to study the criteria used for promotion and tenure at Primarily undergraduate institutions.

Her lab research is in collaboration with Professors Sheila Smith, Simona Marincean and John Abramyan. Aided by numerous undergraduates, the lab investigates vitamin transport using Riboflavin Binding Protein (RBP) in the hen as a model. RBP’s structure/function, copper binding and gene regulation are being characterized. A natural mutant flock, unable to synthesize the protein, is part of the lab responsibility and housed at a local university. Outreach activities to K-12 students, using the eggs and vitamin transport experiments, is a fundamental part of the lab mission.

In addition to lab work, she is active in increasing the participation of women and minorities in STEM fields. Professor Benore is conducting research on the persistence of women in STEM. She has given workshops and created courses on Gender and STEM. She has won awards for mentoring, and is co-chair of the UMICH Academic Women’s Caucus Sarah Goddard Power Award Committee. She was Director of the UM-Dearborn Women in Learning and Leadership. As former Associate Dean at UM-Dearborn, she oversaw College-Wide programs, advising, IT, online learning, First Year Seminars, and program reviews.

1.) In your opinion, what are important qualities or characteristics you think many of your pre-health students lack but should have to be successful in their health profession? And does their pre-health education help them acquire these characteristics?

“I think of qualities and characteristics as very different than skills. I can think of a number of skills that would be required which are partially developed in pre-health education. For qualities and characteristics I think one would be the ability to understand how to solve a challenging novel situation. This requires an ability to step back and think about known situations and their solutions, As well as an ability to apply their knowledge and skills in a way that is innovative. To be able to make that mental leap and think creatively takes some courage.”

2.) What’s a significant challenge in healthcare today that you believe can be countered through pre-health education?

“Communication. I think one of the biggest challenges in healthcare today is actually a lack of patient education so perhaps pre-health education could help students learn how to help their patients understand the science and sociology of healthcare.”

3.) What advice would you offer your students pursuing a career in healthcare?

“Step out of your comfort zone and continue to learn especially in areas that are unfamiliar to you including art and music.. knowledge and practice.”