Dr. Gregory Wemhoff

(from Young Frankenstein 1974)

Dr. Frankenstein: I wouldn’t think an intelligent fellow like you would fall for all this superstitious rot.

Inspector Kemp: It is not superstition that worries me, Herr Doctor, but genes und chromosomes.

Greetings! I am Greg Wemhoff, an assistant professor with the Department of Biology. I can imagine from the opening above you might guess that science has a tendency to play a role in every aspect of my life, to include my entertainment, and perhaps more apparent, that I don’t think 1974 was all that long ago – both are true. Briefly, I would like to provide an outline of the classes I impact directly, my approach to teaching and the experiences I bring to the classroom and lab.

I have the privilege of coordinating the Genetics and Molecular Biology courses. We all encounter the science and information contained within these classes every day. I’m confident that each of us has heard a phrase similar to “…he has his mother’s eyes…”, or “…she must have gotten her hair color from her father…”. Genes and chromosomes – they are a huge part of what make us what we are, of what make every organism what they are. With such a pivotal role, time spent studying them provides a valuable and useful return. My primary role is to bring to you the information of genetics and molecular biology in a format that is understandable, useful and even enjoyable. We will learn more about ourselves, our colleagues and the world around us. We will look at life from the macro scale (why can’t I dunk a basketball like Michael Jordan?) and on a molecular scale (does substituting a guanine for a cytosine at that position in the DNA really make a difference?). We begin with establishing a foundation, making sure we all speak the same language. Then we build, with examples and real-life scenarios. We understand together that what we are learning has actual applications and helps us to better understand how other tools work such as antibiotics, cancer therapeutics, gene therapy, genetically-modified organisms, and more.

That introduction provides you with some insight regarding part of my teaching philosophy – establishing solid foundations. Courses begin with our making sure we all have the same set of scientific tools and we all understand and speak the same language. Therefore, we spend time getting up-to-speed before we start expecting ourselves to apply the information. I also believe we all have to be willing to embrace one fundamental principle:  we have to be willing to make a mistake and say I don’t yet understand. It is this innate fear of making a mistake that keeps us from actively sharing more of our responses to questions, to expressing a position, and to simply saying I don’t yet get it. I know there will be nobody in the class that will already know all the material (I’m going to include me with that mix as I DO know I will have questions you will help answer). If we all begin by admitting we don’t know, then we begin by admitting we are going to make mistakes. Therefore, let the questions fly, let the exchange of information flow and let the learning process progress – together. I can say with all honesty that I have on many occasions learned more from a question or response from a classmate, than I did from the whole hour-long presentation of the instructor. We need to help each other be successful.

Another aspect of my teaching philosophy includes an important role as a facilitator – it’s not as dry as it sounds.  Let me share this with you. Like many of us, I enjoy video games (believe it or not). I also enjoy football.  So it may not be so surprising that I would acquire Madden Football. It comes with a very detailed manual, page after page of everything you need to know to utilize every aspect of the game. I read the manual. However, when I sat down to play my son the first time (an experienced Madden fan), I turned to him to ask “how do you pass?” – he was my facilitator. With his insight I was an active participant much faster than I would have been if left to myself. I want to play that role for my students.  We will have a text and numerous sources of information for each class. We will also prepare for each class by reading and reviewing the information prior to coming together. In the classroom what I can share with you is the fact that I’ve already played the game, I know the rules and I can get you participating faster than if you had to do it alone. And, I do not want my role as a facilitator in science to end in the classroom. I have the experience of life after undergraduate studies. As a facilitator and mentor, I will help you build the strongest undergraduate experience possible to best support your future goals. I’ve worked pursuing basic research as well as worked in industry and in medical settings. I want to share with you my insights that will help you become active participants, faster and more efficiently.

In addition to formal classes, I also look forward to establishing research projects that complement the interests I’ve been pursuing. Briefly, my most recent research has focused on the potential treatments following stroke, or more specifically looking at the cellular profile of the affected areas in the brain following stroke. I also have a strong interest investigating immune responses to cancer – looking at the generation of cytotoxic T cell responses. Finally, a third area if investigation has involved the investigation of breast cancer using genetically-modified near-normal mammary cell lines. Each of these lines of investigation provide excellent opportunities for student involvement to engage in the research process.

If you would like more details about where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing, you are welcome to use the link below to my curriculum vitae. In closing, I would like you to know that I have enjoyed and look forward to enjoying every opportunity to work with my past, current and you, my future colleagues. In the spirit of full disclosure, you should know that I really like this science stuff. I will get lost in it and at times become very excited about it. And, when given even the smallest opportunity, I admit it is my full intention to get you excited about it as well. It will, at times, be challenging. But, no worries.  Just remember:

Dr. Frankenstein: What a filthy job.

Igor: Oh, I don’t know, could be worse…..could be rainin…

Ph.D. in Immunology.  University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. The Cellular Basis of T15 Dominance; topic: an investigation of the cellular basis for the expression of a dominant idiotype.

B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. Honors in Biology.  Leukemia in AKR Mice – Cell surface-associated and soluble suppressor factors utilized by leukemic cells.

Teaching Experience

  • Visiting Faculty, Indiana University Medical School at Ft. Wayne. Instructor for first and second year medical students. Classes included: Cancer Pharmacology, Disorders of White Blood Cells, Infectious Disease & Treatment and Mycology & Parasitology.  I also conducted research with the laboratory of Dr. F. Chang focused on the early cellular events following stroke.  Research included performing microsurgery with rats, tissue preparation and microscopic inspection, flow cytometry, and various in vitro methods.
  • Adjunct Professor, Ivy Tech Community College, Wabash Campus. Instructor for upper level human anatomy and physiology (IvyTech course: APHY201), lecture and a laboratory section.
  • Adjunct professor, University of Missouri, St. Louis. Developed and taught a laboratory course in immunological techniques addressing industrial/biotechnological and research applications.
  • University of Chicago, developed and taught laboratory course in cellular immunology for upper level undergraduate students.
  • Substitute instructor, North Adams Community School system, more than 200 hours of class time which included teaching chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics.

Professional Experience

Indiana University Medical School at Ft. Wayne – current

Visiting faculty with the IU Med School. Cellular events following stroke.Research includes performing small animal microsurgery, tissue preparation and microscopy, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, and various in vitro methods.

Sigma/Aldrich, St. Louis, MO.

Principal Research Scientist and Supervisor with the Molecular Biology & Engineered Cell Line Group . Conducted numerous gene modification, silencing and knock-in studies, and developed a novel cytotoxic T cell (CTL) assay. Skills included: protein purification, conjugation chemistry, immunochemistry and immunochemical assays, molecular biological assays, DNA isolation and amplification, bioreactor for monoclonal antibody development, growth factor assays, cell culture, In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) product development, flow cytometry, Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assays (ELISA), methods validation, droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) and small animal work.

The Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering, Naval ResearchLaboratory, Washington, D.C.

Program Manager and Project Leader. Directed and performed research on the development of bio-based sensors.  Co-authored proposals with funding of over $2.3 million.  Co-authored three patents. Skills included: antibody-antigen kinetics, assay development, fluorescence spectroscopy and detection methodologies, wet chemistry, fiber optics.

Edgewood Arsenal, Edgewood, MD.

Directed operation of a mobile analytical laboratory tasked with surveying toxic chemical agents at sites throughout the United States.  As an analytical chemist, developed the analytical methods and established the standard operating procedures (SOP’s); designed and maintained the quality control (QC) program.  Skills included:  atomic absorption (AA), infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy, gas-liquid chromatography (GC, GLC), Karl-Fischer water titration, freezing point purity determinations and numerous wet chemistry techniques.


  • Ligand-Labeled Conjugates which Contain Polyoxyanions of Sulfur orPhosphorous. Patent No. 5,106,762.
  • Flow Immunosensor Method and Apparatus. Patent No. 5,183,740.
  • Flow Immunosensor Apparatus. Patent No. 6,245,296.

Publications since 1991

Meslin, F., Hamaï, A., Mlecnik, B., Rosselli, F., Richon, C., Jalil, A., Wemhoff, G., Thiery, J., Galon, J.,Chouaib, S.,  2011.  hSMG-1 is a granzyme B-associated stress-responsive protein kinase. J. Molec. Med. 89(4): 411-421.

Wemhoff, G., Zenser, N., Malkov, D., Corman, C., Daley, L., Hibbs, S., Pegg, G., Spencer, A., Zakeri, H., Zhangn, Z., and Davis, G.  2011.  Using Zinc Finger Nuclease Technology to Investigate Breast Cancer Ontogeny.  BioScience Technology35(6): 18.  Accession #61762890

Whelan, J.P., A.W. Kusterbeck, G.A. Wemhoff, R. Bredehorst, and F.S. Ligler.  1993.  Continuous-flow immunosensor for detection of explosives.  Analytical Chemistry, 65; 3561 – 3565.

Wemhoff, G.A., S.Y. Rabbany, A.W. Kusterbeck, R.A. Ogert, R. Bredehorst, and F.S. Ligler. 1992.  Kinetics of antibody binding at solid-liquid interfaces in flow.  J. Immunol. Meth., 156; 223 – 230.

Ligler, F.S., A.W. Kusterbeck, R.A. Ogert, and G.A. Wemhoff.  1992. Drug detection using the flow immunosensor. In: Biosensor Designand Application.  Mathewson, P.R. and Finley, J.W., Eds., American Chemical Society.

Bredehorst, R., G.A. Wemhoff, A.W. Kusterbeck, P.T. Charles, R. Thompson, F.S. Ligler, and C.-W. Vogel.  1991.  Novel trifunctional carrier molecule for the fluorescent labeling of haptens.  Anal. Biochem., 193; 272 – 279.

Abstracts (most recent)

Wemhoff, G.A., Topalov, S., Hong-Goka, B., Sweazey, R., and Chang, F.L.  2015.  An investigation of the early cellular responses associated with an ischemic event: cortical and hippocampal profile of cellular markers EGFR, CD133, NeuN, and Nestin.  Society for Neuroscience.

Robertson, F.M., Hibbs, S., Boley, K.M., Khoi Chu, K., Ye, Z., Wright, M.C., Liu, H.,  Luo, A.Z., Cristofanilli, M., Wemhoff, G. 2012.   Zinc Finger Nuclease Genome Engineering Reveal Multiple Functions of Secretory Leukocyte Peptidase Inhibitor in Regulating Pleuripotency of Cancer Stem Cells in Inflammatory Breast Cancer.  CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium Abstract Number: 851629.

Zhang, Z., Corman, C., Daley, L., Hibbs, S., Pegg, G., Zakeri, H., Davis, G., and Wemhoff, G.  2012.  Investigation of Genetic Modified MCF10A Breast Epithelial Cell Lines Generated by ZFN Technology.  Molec. Med TriCon.  San Francisco, CA