Lee and Deb Gehrke have been named acting co-masters of Quincy House for the 2006-07 academic year, while Quincy co-masters Robert Kirshner and Jayne Loader are on sabbatical.
“We had a number of exceptional couples interested in the acting position in Quincy House, and I am grateful to all the in-House groups who met with them and advised us in this process,” said Benedict H. Gross, Leverett Professor of Mathematics and dean of Harvard College. “Deb and Lee made a wonderful impression; Dean Suzy Nelson and I look forward to working closely with them in the year ahead.”
Lee Gehrke is professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at Harvard Medical School and Hermann von Helmholtz Professor and associate director of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He has been affiliated with both Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1982, teaching courses in virology, cell biology, embryology, and gross anatomy. He has served as a freshman, medical and premedical student adviser, and has received numerous teaching and mentoring awards.
Gehrke’s research uses molecular biology, biochemistry, and structural biology to understand how cells sense viruses and respond to infection. His laboratory studies virus-host cell interactions and RNA-protein interactions that underlie diseases of humans and plants, focusing on RNA viruses such as dengue fever virus, West Nile virus, and alfalfa mosaic virus.
Since arriving in the Boston area more than 20 years ago, Deb Gehrke has directed a preschool program for the town of Framingham while raising two children and fundraising for local charities. Also an artist who has studied at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, Deb Gehrke’s watercolors and oil paintings have won awards in juried art shows. Her most recent works include wildlife photographs from Serengeti game drives shot during a safari in East Africa.
“Deb and I look forward, with greatest anticipation, to working with the incredibly talented students and staff at Quincy House,” Lee Gehrke said. “We wish Bob Kirshner and Jayne Loader the very best for an enjoyable sabbatical year, during which time we will be able to build on the strong programs and traditions that they have established.”
Kirshner and Loader have been co-masters of Quincy, Harvard’s largest undergraduate House, since 2001. They will spend the coming academic year at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where Kirshner will help run a program on exploding stars at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.