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Department of


Rae M. Anderson, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Anderson is the newest Assistant Professor of Physics at USD.  She begins her appointment in the fall of 2009. Her undergraduate work was done at Georgetown University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in Physics in 2003, and she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She is held in high regard by students and faculty at UCSD for her teaching of UCSD’s Physics 1A introductory physics course, which she taught while doing post-doctoral studies at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. Her doctoral research at UCSD focused experimentally on the biophysics of DNA, using both microscopy and laser techniques.  Her post-doctoral studies were also devoted to single molecule biophysics, focusing on the molecule Rev, a regulatory protein of importance in HIV-1 studies.


Ph.D. (’07) Physics, University of California, San Diego, M.S. (’05) Physics, University of California, San Diego, B.S. (’03) Physics, Magna cum Laude, Georgetown University. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 2003. During her undergraduate years she was supported by a Clare Boothe Luce Undergraduate Scholarship.


Scholarly and Creative Work

Dr. Anderson’s doctoral research focused on Single-Molecule Biophysics, using DNA molecules. She investigated fundamental questions in polymer physics with the aid of epi-fluorescence microscopy and the use of optical tweezers. She was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship during her graduate work.

Dr. Anderson continued to pursue work in single-molecule biophysics in her post-doctoral studies at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, studying the regulatory protein Rev, which plays an essential role in HIV-1 replication, and she is looking forward to sharing her excitement about her research work with undergraduates at USD as she continues her experiments in the biophysics of DNA.

Teaching Interests

Dr. Anderson taught the introductory physics course for scientists and engineers at UCSD during the summer of 2008, and has been tutoring undergraduates in physics continuously since 2001. She is excited about sharing her passion for teaching with students in both tracks of the introductory physics courses (for the physical scientists and the life sciences) in the fall of 2009