Candace Whitmer Collmer

Professor Emerita of Biology

Candace Whitmer Collmer

"What I like best about Wells are the small classes, and, as a result, the opportunity to work closely with students in this most formative time of their lives. I enjoy having a job where I feel that what I do can really matter – supporting students in their quest for finding their place in the world. As a faculty member, I treasure the focus on the liberal arts and the everyday interactions with faculty members in disciplines outside of the sciences, which constantly enrich my intellectual life and my understanding of the world around us."

A broad interest in biology leads Professor Collmer to learn and teach about a variety of specialties – genetics, molecular biology, bioinformatics, and the ethics of the Human Genome Project. She has been involved in collaborative research with her Wells students since 1992, beginning with the examination of the interactions between a resistance gene in bean and different plant viruses . She has also worked with students studying courtship and mating behavior in fruit flies and parasitic wasps, and most recently has directed students working on the annotation of genes implicated in virulence of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato . Professor Collmer is widely published and has been active in guiding students in their research and presentations for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.


1970 B.S. Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia, Biology (with Honors)
1972 M.S. Cornell University, Human Development and Family Studies
1982 Ph.D. Cornell University, Plant Pathology (plant virology)

Select Publications

Giglio, M.G., Collmer, C.W., Lomax, J., Ireland, A. 2009. Applying the Gene Ontology in microbial annotation. Trends in Microbiology 17 (7):262-268.

Lindeberg, M., Biehl, B.S., Glasner, J.D., Perna, N.T., Collmer, A., Collmer, C.W. 2009. Gene Ontology annotation highlights shared and divergent pathogenic strategies of type III effector proteins deployed by the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000 and animal pathogenic Escherichia coli strains. BMC Microbiology 9(Suppl 1):S4 ( 19 February 2009 ) –

Brower, S., Verdonck, D., and Collmer, C.. 2008. Monitoring Drosophila melanogaster in freerun indicates that ethanol can affect the circadian period of locomotor rhythms. Abstracts of the 22nd National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Salisbury University , MD , April 10-12, 2008.

Yun, J.J., Wahl, C., Vawter, A.T., and Collmer, C.W. 2005. Role of vision in mating behavior of male Nasonia vitripennis. Abstracts of the 19th National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Lexington, VA, April 21-23, 2005.

Collmer, C.W., Martson, M.F., Taylor, J.C., and Jahn, M. 2000. "The / gene of bean: a dosage-dependent allele conferring extreme resistance, hypersensitive resistance, or spreading vascular necrosis in response to the potyvirus Bean common mosaic virus." Molec. Plant-Microbe Interact. 13: 1266-1270.

Courses Taught

  • Principles of Biology I: The Biology of Cells
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Introduction to Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Human Genetics and DNA Technology
  • WILLS 101– Are you your genes?
  • Ethics and the Human Genome Project (with Professor Laura Purdy)