Aerial photograph of the Immaculate Conception Chapel

Get to know Dr. Karolyn Hansen

Karolyn HansenDr. Karolyn Hansen, assistant professor in the Department of Biology, started her career at the University of Dayton working for UDRI. Prior to UD, Karolyn lived in Tennessee and worked at Oak Ridge National Lab. Her husband took a job at UDRI, which moved them to Dayton. Karolyn began working with her husband at the research institute. However, there was not much work in the area of biology when Karolyn started at UDRI. So, Karolyn started interacting with the Department of Biology. Soon after, the Department was looking to hire someone with a biosensor background. Karolyn applied and got the job.

Karolyn studied marine biology while in college and earned her Ph.D. in this area. However, she switched her research interests when she got a job conducting naval research. She had to start researching sensors. Karolyn says it was challenging but interesting and provided her with the opportunity to learn more skills in different areas.

Now, Karolyn's research focuses on biosensing; looking at how organisms respond to chemicals. Karolyn has been specifically looking at how flies can detect odors. Flies can detect odors automatically and do not have to be trained. By studying flies, Karolyn can understand how the detection works and see what proteins the flies produce in order to detect odors. The goal is to incorporate what is learned from studying the flies and try to create artificial sensors.

More about Dr. Karolyn Hansen

If Karolyn did not have to work anymore, she would retire and move to the Florida Keys so she could live on the beach. However, she says she was born a scientist and she would never be able to stay away from researching.

One thing Karolyn thinks most people wouldn't know about her is that one of her goals is to play Rhapsody in Blue on the piano. She used to play piano in high school but it became hard to keep playing when she started college. She would like to go back to playing.

Karolyn says there are too many aspects of her job that she enjoys, she couldn't pick just one. She likes interacting with students, faculty and staff. She also enjoys the intellectual stimulation that comes from UD's environment.

Gardening is one of Karolyn's hobbies. She says it is an awarding activity for many reasons. She says it is a relaxing and nurturing hobby.

Karolyn says that every day for her is exciting. She is always learning and discovering something new.