Lizabeth A. Allison is the Hamilton Professor of Biology and Department Chair at the College of William & Mary, where she has taught for 12 years. Before coming to William & Mary, she spent eight years as a faculty member at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she received the Best Science Faculty Lecturer of the Year Award. At William & Mary she has received the Grace J. Blank Teaching Award in Biology, the Alumni Fellowship Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2009 SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award.
She is an internationally-recognized leader and scholar in the field of traffic control in cells. She is best known for her work on mechanisms regulating intracellular trafficking of the thyroid hormone receptor. The receptor is a regulatory protein that turns target genes on or off in response to thyroid hormone. Her work has consistently challenged current understanding in this field, overturning old ideas about the role of receptors in the cell and the mechanisms of gene regulation by thyroid hormone. Importantly, she has shown that disrupted traffic control in cells may contribute to the development of cancer. She has received over $2 million in research grants, has published her significant research findings in major scientific journals with undergraduates and graduate students as coauthors, and has made presentations on her research to audiences worldwide. Fundamental Molecular Biology, the college textbook she wrote, is widely used worldwide.
Her teaching portfolio includes courses such as “Molecular Genetics,” “Molecular Genetics Laboratory,” “Nuclear Structure and Gene Activity,” “Principles of Biology: Molecules, Cells, and Development,” and she contributes to the departmental “Introduction to Graduate Studies” course. In addition, she has launched an impressive number of undergraduate and graduate researchers into successful scientific careers.