Sandra Hilliker, PhD
Instructor, Biochemistry and Microbiology
School of Medicine
University Faculty Profile

Research Interests

Dr. Hilliker's teaching interests are in scientific communication, grantsmanship, management, and career development for women and minorities in the biomedical sciences. She has taught in the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity program at LLU since its inception and is an enthusiastic member of the Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine teaching staff. Her research career was made possible by state and federal government programs that supported the training of women and minorities underrepresented in math and science during the 1960s and 1970s.

After receiving her PhD from MIT in 1974, Dr. Hilliker completed postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH). She then established her own NIH-funded research laboratory investigating gene expression with undergraduate and graduate students at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. However, opportunities to use this knowledge of gene expression to produce human therapeutic proteins in yeast and bacteria soon attracted her to the pursuit of applied research in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the 1980s.

During her only sabbatical from biomedical research, Dr. Hilliker completed an MBA at the University of California, before joining Loma Linda University's new Center for Molecular Biology and Gene Therapy in 1994. Since then, she has focused on supporting the School of Medicine's mission through research development activities and student workshops and seminars.

Selected Publications

1. Arakawa, T., Chong, D.K.X., Slattery, C.W., Hilliker, S., and Langridge, W.H.R. (1998) Food plant-derived human milk proteins for improved nutrition. AgBiotech News and Information 10: 103N-110N.

2. Green, L.M., Lazarus, J.P., Song, X., Stagg, R.B., LaBue, M., and Hilliker, S. (1997) Elevation of protein kinase C in thyrocytes isolated from a Lewis rat model of autoimmune thyroiditis prevents assembly of connexin43 gap junctions and reduces intercellular communication. Thyroid 7: 913-921.

3. Hilliker, S., Wergedal, J., Gruber, H.E., Bettica, P., and Baylink, D.J. (1996) Truncation of the amino terminus of PTH alters its anabolic activity on bone in vivo. Bone 19: 469-77.

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