The Facility

The Facility is located in room 2-22, on the second floor of Building 119 on the VA campus  

The Facility houses a Beckman CEQ 8000 genetic analyzer, a Syngene G:box imager, an Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer, an Eppendorf epMotion 5070 robot, a Turner Biosystems Modulus Microplate reader, a BioRad iQ5 iCycler and Bio-Rad Cfx 96, and an Eppendorf Gradient Mastercycler along with a variety of other molecular biology equipment.

Dr. Michelle Duffourc

The Staff:

Dr. Michelle Duffourc, Director
Dr. Cherie Bond, Assistant Director
Rhesa Dykes, Coordinator


Oversight Committee:

  • Dr. Russ Hayman, Chairman
  • Dr. Don Hoover
  • Dr. Sharon Campbell

















Dr. Michelle Duffourc, Director

Dr. Michelle M. Duffourc is a neuroscience researcher and teacher. Her laboratory has two primary interests: 1) understanding the molecular basis of hereditary blinding disorders and 2) determining the factors that control gene expression in the retina. Her research efforts have earned her a National Research Service Award from the National Eye Institute and a Pediatric Ophthalmology Fellowship from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation. She is a member of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Sigma Xi, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

In addition to her research program, Dr. Duffourc is an experienced teacher of molecular biology techniques. Besides training undergraduate, medical and graduate students, she has taught classes in DNA sequencing and served as a faculty member in ETSU’s acclaimed Methods in Molecular Biology Workshop. Her teaching efforts have resulted in her being honored with the Genesis Award for Professor of the Year from the Biomedical Graduate Program, the James H. Quillen College of Medicine Dean's Distinguished Teaching Award in Basic Medical Sciences, and being named to Who's Who Among America's Teachers.

Dr. Duffourc received her doctoral degree in Basic Medical Sciences with a specialization in Pharmacology from the University of South Alabama School of Medicine and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from the same institution. In 1998 she joined the faculty at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University where she currently is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Adjunct Associate Professor of Pathology and Biological Sciences.


Dr. Cherie Bond, Assistant Director

Dr. Cherie Bond is a human geneticist and neuroscientist primarily interested in glial cell biology. Her
 specific research focuses on:   (1) alterations in the transcriptosome of neurons and glia in response to oxidative stress, (2) neuropeptide modulation of glial stress responses, and (3) the role of glial signalling cascades in the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the International Brain Research Organization and regularly reviews manuscripts for the Journal of Neurochemistry, The International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and Molecular Cell Research, among others.

In the laboratory, Dr. Bond has expertise in a wide variety of nucleic acid, proteomics, cell culture, and histochemical techniques and methodologies. In addition to proficiency with DNA sequencing, quantitative RT-PCR, biochemical assays and ELISAs, she has expertise in performing cellular assays of pharmacological activity at neurotransmitter receptors and their downstream effector systems. Moreover, she has considerable experience teaching students with diverse multicultural backgrounds, in a variety of formats, ranging from high school and undergraduate, to postgraduate, MD, and early career postdoctoral levels.

Dr. Bond received her doctoral degree in Medical & Molecular Genetics and Neurobiology from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis School of Medicine, with early research in diagnostics which led to the development of a patented molecular test for Huntington’s disease, as well as a definitive analysis of functionally significant polymorphisms in the human mu opioid receptor.  Subsequently, she engaged in postdoctoral research at The University of Bath, UK, studying vascular endothelial RNA isoform expression, and, as a senior postdoctoral scientist, at Oxford University, UK, investigating stress-induced astroglial upregulation of alternative splicing variants and neuropeptide effects on glial proliferation and cell death. Dr. Bond joined the faculty at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University in 2010 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences.


Rhesa Dykes, Coordinator

Rhesa Dykes is Coordinator of the Molecular Biology Core Facility. She has been on staff at James H. Quillen College of Medicine since 1983, where she has served in the departments of Biochemistry, Pediatrics, and Internal Medicine. Rhesa is a 2001 recipient of the Caduceus Club Staff Award, has served on the ETSU staff grievance committee, and has instructed undergraduate laboratory sessions in human cytogenetics. Her work experience has included clinical cytogenetics, as well as implementation of research projects and instruction of students. She is experienced in various aspects of experimentation, including many molecular biology techniques.