Rae Anderson, PhD

Rae Anderson
Phone: (619) 260-8867
Fax: (619) 260-6874

Chair and Associate Professor, Physics

  • BS, Physics, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna cum Laude, Georgetown University (2003); supported by Clare Boothe Luce Undergraduate Scholarship.
  • PhD, Physics, University of California, San Diego, (2007); supported by National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, The Scripps Research Institute; supported by National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

Rae Anderson joined the Physics faculty at USD in 2009. Anderson’s research explores the molecular dynamics and interactions that give rise to the fascinating properties of biological soft materials. Specifically, Anderson uses both optical trapping and fluorescence microscopy to characterize intermolecular forces and molecular motion in complex systems of entangled DNA molecules and cytoskeleton proteins such as actin. Anderson’s research is funded by an Air Force Young Investigator Program Award and an NSF CAREER Award. Anderson was also recently named a Scialog Fellow by Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Areas of Interest

Anderson is passionate about undergraduate physics education, with a special interest in interdisciplinary and research-focused courses. Dr. Anderson is the program director for the Physics Department’s Biophysics Major, a highly interdisciplinary major that prepares students to apply physics skills and knowledge to answer biological questions. Anderson designed and teaches the 2 capstone courses for this major: Biological Physics and the Experimental Biophysics advanced lab. Beyond biophysics, Anderson enjoys teaching both lower and upper division courses and particularly enjoys teaching Statistical Mechanics and Frontiers of Physics as well as the introductory physics series for life science majors.