I came to UGA in 1996 after completing postdoctoral training in mouse developmental genetics at the NCI-FCRDC in Frederick, MD. Until 2008 I ran a research lab that focused on Kit ligand, the ligand for Kit, a receptor tyrosine kinase. Both Kitl and Kit are highly conserved in mammals and together make up an intercellular signaling pathway that is required for the development of germ cells, erythroid cells, mast cells and melanocytes. In the mouse, Kitl is encoded by the Steel (Sl) locus, a locus that was first identified through classical genetic techniques. We characterized the molecular and phenotypic defects in a large allelic series of KitlSl mutants and used these mutants to further dissect Kitl function during germ cell development. The molecular defects in the KitlSl allelic series include mutants that lack entire domains of Kitl, mutants that have missense substitutions in Kitl, and mutants that have defects in Kitl mRNA expression
Until 2008, my teaching was as co-instructor in a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, including Genetics (GENE 3200), Molecular Genetics Lab (GENE4210L), Advanced Molecular Genetics (GENE8930), and Metazoan Genetics (GENE8970).
In 2008, I shut down my research laboratory and have since focused on teaching. My major teaching responsibilities are in GENE3200, which is a large lecture course and required of every major in the Biological Sciences Division. I also teach Human Genetics (GENE4500), a course that I developed in 2010. In contrast to exclusive use of a textbook in GENE3200, the required reading material for GENE4500 is primarily from research papers. In GENE4500, I do only a small amount of lecturing and most of class time consists of discussions that I lead with active participation from all students.
My main goals in teaching are (1) to create an environment where the students want to learn, (2) to give the students the tools needed to meet the challenges I give them, and (3) to promote long-term interest in learning. One of the main strategies I use in the classroom is to present the material with as much enthusiasm as possible. I believe that if a teacher gives the impression of being bored with the material, the students will also be bored and will have little or no desire to learn. I want students to leave my class wanting to apply their new knowledge and wanting to learn even more. Fortunately, I truly love genetics and continuously add information about new research findings to my courses.
My teaching themes are summarized best in my instructor evaluation from a GENE3200 student. “Her positive attitude and passion for genetics are infectious. I appreciate that she values application over regurgitation. I admire her most as a professor because she genuinely wants her students to succeed and goes to great lengths to help us. She makes us want to learn.”
I have received several teaching awards at UGA including being named a Senior Teaching Fellow, Center for Teaching and Learning (2012-2013), membership in the UGA Teaching Academy (2012-present), recipient of the Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award, (2014), and named a Fellow for Innovative Teaching, Center for Teaching and Learning (2016)
In addition to teaching, I have done substantial service to the Genetics Department and to the university. This service includes being on the Graduate Affairs Committee, Genetics Department (2004-2008), Graduate Coordinator, Genetics Department (2005-2008), Undergraduate Affairs Committee, Genetics Department (1997-2004, 2009-present), Undergraduate Coordinator, Genetics Department (2010-2016), Curriculum Committee, Biological Sciences Division (2009-2016), Curriculum Committee, Franklin Senate (2014-2016), Chair of Curriculum Committee, Franklin Senate (2015-2016), President-elect, Franklin Senate (2016-2017).
- Guenther, C.A., B. Tasic, L. Luo, M. A. Bedell, and D. M. Kingsley (2014). A molecular basis for classic blond hair color in Europeans. Nature Genetics 46: 748 – 752.
- Mahakali Zama, A., F.P. Hudson, III and M.A. Bedell. 2005. Analysis of hypomorphic KitlSl mutants suggests different requirements for KITL in proliferation and migration of mouse primordial germ cells. Biol. Repro. 73: 639-647.
- Justice, M. and M. Bedell (eds.) 2004. Mutagenesis of the Mouse Genome. Georgia Genetics Review. Vol 2. Kluwer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
- Bedell, M.A. and A. Mahakali-Zama. 2004. Genetic analysis of Kit ligand functions during mouse spermatogenesis. J. Androl. 25: 188-199.
- Rajaraman, S., W.S. Davis, A. Mahakali-Zama, H.K. Evans, L.B. Russell and M.A. Bedell. 2002. An allelic series of mutations in the Kit ligand (Kitl) gene of mice. I. Identification of point mutations in seven ENU-induced KitlSteel alleles. Genetics 162: 331-340.
- Rajaraman, S., W.S. Davis, A. Mahakali-Zama, H.K. Evans, L.B. Russell and M.A. Bedell. 2002. An allelic series of mutations in the Kit ligand (Kitl) gene of mice. II. Effects of point mutations on survival and peripheral blood cells of KitlSteel mice. Genetics 162: 341-353.
- Bedell, M.A., N.A. Jenkins and N.G. Copeland. 1997. Mouse models of human disease: Part I: Techniques and resources for genetic analysis in mice. Genes & Dev. 11: 1-10.
- Bedell, M.A., D.A. Largaespada, N.A. Jenkins and N.G. Copeland. 1997. Mouse models of human disease. Part II: recent progress and future directions. Genes & Dev. 11: 11-43.
- Bedell, M.A., N.A. Jenkins, and N.G. Copeland. 1996. Good genes in bad neighborhoods. Nature Genetics 12: 229-232.
- Bedell, M.A., C.I. Brannan, E.P. Evans, N.G. Copeland, N.A. Jenkins and P.J. Donovan. 1995. DNA rearrangements located over 100 kb 5' of the Steel (Sl) coding region in Steel-panda and Steel-contrasted mice deregulate Sl expression and cause female sterility by disrupting ovarian follicle development. Genes & Dev. 9: 455-470.