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Washington State University Graduate School

Lisa Gloss, Ph.D.
Dean of the Graduate School


In October 2014, Dr. Lisa Gloss joined the Graduate School as associate dean. In that role, she provided leadership and guidance in the launching of the Professional Development Initiative, a joint venture between the Graduate School and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA). She also served as coordinator for the Individual Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program and oversaw the student services division of the Graduate School. In August 2017, Dr. Gloss became interim dean of the Graduate School, and in 2019 was named dean.


Dr. Lisa Gloss joined the WSU School of Molecular Biosciences faculty in 1998. Her research focused on protein folding and macromolecular assembly. How do proteins assemble from a spaghetti-like random coil into the proper, unique, functional three-dimensional shape? Correct folding and assembly is required for biological function, and misfolding contributes to many diseases, including amyloidogenic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Her primary model system is the eukaryotic histone heterodimers that form the core of the nucleosome. Her current research examines how these histone proteins package DNA into the nucleosome, the fundamental repeating unit of chromatin. In particular, she is interested in the dynamics of this assembly which allows DNA to be compacted and yet accessible in a regulated manner, for essential processes such as the transcription, replication and repair of DNA. When the regulation of chromatin dynamics go awry, many disease states can arise, including cancer. Dr. Gloss has published 34 peer-reviewed publications as well as four invited reviews and book chapters. Her research has been funded by a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation, as well as grants from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH), the American Cancer Society and the American Chemical Society.

Teaching and mentoring

Dr. Gloss has taught in the SMB biochemistry series for senior undergraduate biochemistry majors and graduate students from a broad range of disciplines (MBios 413/513 and 414/514) since 1999. She strives to bring innovative approaches into the classroom, including a flipped-classroom and active, team-based learning approaches. The student responses were initially mixed to these departures from the standard lecture format, but the responses have become overwhelmingly positive. Importantly, students have demonstrated significantly greater mastery of problem-solving skills and ability to make connections between complicated biochemical concepts.

In her research lab, Dr. Gloss has mentored five Ph.D. students, one M.S. student and 15 undergraduate students. She has served on over 75 graduate committees for students from multiple departments.

Dr. Gloss earned a B.S. degree in microbiology from Michigan State University, a M.Phil. biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, and Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. She did post-doctoral studies in biophysics at The Pennsylvania State University before joining the faculty at WSU.