Michelle Fry

Michelle Fry

Department Chair and Associate Professor

    Olin Hall 201A
    (309) 677-3744


Ph. D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Virginia Commonwealth University
B.S., Chemistry, Shippensburg University, PA


Dr. Fry earned a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Shippensburg University were she conducted organic synthesis research under the guidance of James A. Beres and received the Southeastern Pennsylvania section of the American Chemical Society Outstanding Senior Chemistry Student Award in 1987. She then pursued graduate studies in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. There she joined the laboratory of Dr. Richard Franson to study the role of phospholipase A2, a membrane-modifying enzyme, in the membrane fusion events of fertilization. As a graduate student, she was recognized with the John C. Forbes Research Paper Award for best research proposal and licensed a monoclonal anti-human sperm phospholipase A2 antibody with her faculty advisor. Upon earning her Ph.D., Dr. Fry joined the laboratory of Dr. Vytas Bankaitis in the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a National Institutes of Health post-doctoral fellow. During her post-doctoral training, she examined structure-function relationships for SEC14p, a yeast phospholipid transfer protein involved in the late stages of the secretory pathway.

Since 1995, Dr. Fry has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and enjoyed a one-year Visiting Assistant Professor appointment in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Florida from 2003 to 2004 as a sabbatical leave. During this time, she worked with Dr. William A. Dunn, Jr. on the structure-function relationship of Vac8p, a vacuolar protein involved in the membrane altering steps of regulated autophagy in yeast. In research, she has mentored over 50 undergraduate students, 5 graduate students, and 6 high school students.

Dr. Fry has been recognized with a BU Parent's Association Award of Excellence-Certificate of Merit and named in the 6th edition of Who’s Who In American Education. She has served as the Interim Associate Chairperson of the department between 2008 and 2010 when the chair was asked to serve as the interim Dean of the Graduate School and as the Associate Chairperson since 2013.


Dr. Fry strives to instill an enthusiasm for learning in students and a confidence in their own capabilities. She teaches introductory chemistry courses as well as introductory and advanced biochemistry courses.

Courses taught include:

  • Fundamentals of General Chemistry (undergraduate)
  • Fundamentals of Organic and Biochemistry and associated laboratory (undergraduate)
  • General Chemistry I and associated laboratory (undergraduate)
  • Engineering Chemistry (undergraduate)
  • Biochemistry (undergraduate)
  • Biochemistry Laboratory (undergraduate)          
  • Intermediary Metabolism (undergraduate and graduate)   
  • Lipid Metabolism biochemistry special topics course (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Biochemical Control Processes biochemistry special topics course (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Women in Science honors seminar course (undergraduate)


Understanding the structure-function relationships for membrane-associated proteins involved in protein-trafficking events is Dr. Fry’s primary research interest. Her recent research efforts developed out of a collaboration with Dr. William A. Dunn and focus on the role of the Vac8 protein in a cellular recycling process known as autophagy using the yeast Pichia pastoris as the model system. Specifically, her lab group has been identifying structural motifs in the Vac8 protein that are important for membrane association, protein-protein interactions, and vesicle fusion events occurring during the autophagy of peroxisomes in response to glucose adaptation.

Additionally, Dr. Fry has established two collaborative projects with colleagues in the department. The first involves studying the effect of the bacteriostatic delta-lactone derivatives synthesized by Dr. Andersh’s research group on bacterial quorum sensing processes. The second involves engineering the expression of recombinant GFP-tagged human keratin proteins in Pichia pastoris to provide a genetically modifiable source of the biopolymer for use in the preparation of functional composites carried out by Dr. Haverhals’ research group.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS (*undergraduate student, **graduate student):

Hughes, S.R., Cox, E.J.**, Bang, S.S., Pinkelman, R. J., López-Núñez J.C., Saha, B.C., Qureshi, N., Gibbons, W.R., Fry, M.R., Moser, B.R., Bischoff, K.M., Liu, S., Sterner, D. E., Butt, T.R., Riedmuller, SB, Jones M.A., Riaño-Herrera N.M. (2015) Process for assembly and transformation into Saccharomyces cerevisiae of a synthetic yeast artificial chromosome containing a multigene cassette to express enzymes that enhance xylose utilization designed for an automatic platform. Journal of Laboratory Automation pii: 2211068215573188.

Fry, M.R., Thomson, J.M., Tomasini, A.J.*, and Dunn, Jr., W.A. (2006) Early and Late Molecular Events of Glucose-Induced Pexophagy in Pichia pastoris Require Vac8. Autophagy, 2: 280-288.

Nolen, L.*, Asbury, A.*, Douglass, H.*, Butcher, J.*, and Fry, M. (2002) Effects of Side-Stream Cigarette Smoke on Murine Cytochrome P-450 1A1 Activity. Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Sciences, 95:285-293.

Nolen, L.*, Flacke, G.*, Ferries-Rowe, E.*, Weissenbacher, A.*, and Fry, M. (2002) A Pumpkin Cultivar Selected For Early Harvest Exhibits Decreased Pectin Hydrolase Activity. Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Sciences, 95:153-161.      

Bankaitis, V.A., Fry, M.R., Cartee, R. T.**, and Kagiwada, S. (1996) Phospholipid Transfer Proteins: Emerging Roles in Vesicle Trafficking, Signal Transduction, and Metabolic Regulation, Molecular Biology Intelligence Unit, R.G. Landes Co., Austin, Texas.

Skinner, H.B.**, McGee, T.P.**, McMaster, C., Fry, M.R., Bell, R.M., and Bankaitis, V.A. (1995) The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Phosphatidylinositol Transport Protein Effects a Ligand-dependent Inhibition of Choline-phosphate Cytidyltransferase Activity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., U.S.A. 92: 112-116.

Off-campus research presentations and posters (2010-2017; presenter underlined; *undergraduate and **graduate student co-author)

Bellmore, J.*, Morales, J.*, Patel, S.*, Tobin, N.*, Vandrevala, M.*, Boehmer, B.* and Fry, M.R. (2017) Characterization of Macromolecular Interactions that Influence Pichia pastoris Vac8p Function in Microautophagy. American Society of Biochemitry and Molecular Biology annual meeting, Chicago, IL.

Ward, M.*, Schoepke, A.**, Haverhals, L., and Fry, M.R. (2017) Expression of Keratin in Pichia pastoris for Biopolymer Applications. American Society of Biochemitry and Molecular Biology annual meeting, Chicago, IL.

Ewald, D.*, Champion, A.**, and Fry, M.R. (2017) δ-lactone Derivatives Induce Quorum Sensing Activity in Agrobacterium tumefaciens. American Society of Biochemitry and Molecular Biology annual meeting, Chicago, IL.

Champion, A.**, Fry, M. R. (2015) Analysis of Quorum Sensing Activity of dLactone Derivatives on Agrobacterium tumefaciens by UV-vis Absorbance. Illinois Heartland Section of the American Chemical Society Awards Banquet, Peoria, IL.

Schoepke, A.**, Haverhals, L.M., Fry, M. R. (2015) Expression of Keratin, a Fibrous Protein, in Pichia pastoris for Biopolymer Applications. Illinois Heartland Section of the American Chemical Society Awards Banquet, Peoria, IL.

Fry, M.R., Boehmer, B.*, Vandrevala, M.*, Patel, S.*, and Hoeferlin, K.* (2014) Structure-Function Analysis of Pichia pastoris Vac8 Protein, a Protein Involved in Vacuolar Membrane Fusion Events. Chemistry and Biology seminar series, Goshen College, Goshen, IN (Invited)

Bonner, A.*, Fry, M. R., (2012) Development of a Fluorescence-Based Assay to Detect Cyclooxygenase Inhibitory Activity Of δ-Lactone Derivatives. 22nd Annual Argonne Symposium for Undergraduates, Central States Incorporated, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL

Fry, M. R. (2011) Opening Remarks as CSUI President. 21st Annual Argonne Symposium for Undergraduates, Central States Incorporated, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL (Invited)

Hollandsworth, L.*, Andersh, B. J., Fry, M. R. (2010) Synthesis and Structure-Activity Relationship of 3-oxo-delta-lactones as Potential Inhibitors of Cyclooxygenase Enzymes. 20th Annual Argonne Symposium for Undergraduates, Central States Incorporated, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL

Edgcomb, M. R., Fry, M. R., Hammar, M. K.**, Bissahoyo, A. (2010) Girls CAN! Encouraging Underrepresented Girls to Enter the STEM Fields through Informal Education Opportunities. National Conference of the National Science Teachers Association, Society for College Science Teachers, Philadelphia, PA


Since coming to Bradley, Dr. Fry has served on numerous University, College, and Departmental committees and has been an academic advisor to Biochemistry and Medical Laboratory Science majors. She has served as the coordinator the Medical Laboratory Science program since 2001. Between 2008 and 2010, Dr. Fry served as the interim Associate Chairperson and currently serves as the Associate Chairperson of the Mund-Lagowski Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She also currently serves as a member of the University Resource Committee, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum and Regulations Committee, and the Women’s Studies Committee.

Dr. Fry is a member and previous chair of the Chemistry Division of the Illinois State Academy of Sciences. She also previously served as the Bradley representative to the board of Central States Universities, Incorporated and as the President of the organization. Dr. Fry maintains professional memberships in the national and Illinois Heartland section of the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Council on Undergraduate Research, and the American Association of University Professors. She has been active in outreach with local elementary and middle schools, taking science activities and demonstrations to several schools. She participates in the athletic booster organizations at her sons’ schools and serves as a teacher in the youth religious education program at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Peoria.