Dr. Bjornsti received her Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Minnesota, followed by a Fogarty Fellowship at the Biozentrum in Switzerland, and postdoctoral training at Harvard University. Her first faculty appointment as Assistant, then Associate Professor was at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. After 10 years at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as Associate, then Full member, she was recruited to the positions of Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and the Newman H. Waters Chair of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Bjornsti is the also Associate Director for Translational Research in the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, and a member of the Executive Committee for the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance.
Dr. Bjornsti’s long-standing research interests are in the mechanisms of anti-cancer drug action. She has developed novel model systems to study the mechanisms underlying cancer with the goal to develop new chemotherapeutics. Her network of collaborations is extensive, including state-of-the-art chemistry and small molecule screening platforms at Southern Research, a partner with UAB in the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance.