Dr. Melissa Totten joined Salem College in 2021 as an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She teaches general chemistry, quantitative analysis, biochemistry, and nutrition. In collaboration with faculty from chemistry and exercise science, she has proposed adding a new nutrition minor at Salem College. To support this new health-focused minor, Dr. Totten will teach courses such as diet and disease, food science, international nutrition and cultural foods, and sports nutrition.
Before arriving at Salem College, Dr. Totten worked as a formulation chemist and project supervisor at National Starch and Chemical (now Henkel Adhesives) in New Jersey and as a product development chemist at Syngenta in North Carolina. While working in the chemical industry, Dr. Totten was awarded several US and worldwide patents for innovative developments in food-packaging adhesives. She taught chemistry for 11 years at Rockingham Community College and Davidson County Community College, where she was granted the Excellence in Teaching Award at both colleges. She has also taught as an adjunct instructor at NC A&T University and UNC Greensboro. Dr. Totten returned to school in 2016 to earn a doctoral degree in nutrition, where she studied the impact of a high fat diet on the brain. She has published several research articles on this topic and plans to continue research in the fields of nutrition and biochemistry at Salem College.
Dr. Totten has enjoyed the small class environment at Salem College and is excited about the college’s new focus on health-based careers. She enjoys giving career advice to students and watching them succeed as they pursue their dreams.
Marie Curie, Linus Pauling, & Amy Farrah Fowler
Cooking, walking her dog, traveling, spending time with family
Totten, M. S., Wallace, C. W., Pierce, D. M., Fordahl, S. C., & Erikson, K. M. (2021). The impact of a high-fat diet on physical activity and dopamine neurochemistry in the striatum is sex and strain dependent in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice. Nutritional neuroscience, 1–15. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/1028415X.2021.1992082
Wilcox, J. M., Pfalzer, A. C., Tienda, A. A., Debbiche, I. F., Cox, E. C., Totten, M. S., Erikson, K. M., Harrison, F. E., & Bowman, A. B. (2021). YAC128 mouse model of Huntington disease is protected against subtle chronic manganese (Mn)-induced behavioral and neuropathological changes. Neurotoxicology, 87, 94–105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuro.2021.09.002
Totten M., Pierce M., Erikson K. (2021). The Influence of Sex and Strain on Trace Element Dysregulation in the Brain Due to Diet-Induced Obesity. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 63, 126661. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtemb.2020.126661
Totten M., Pierce M., Erikson K. (2020). Diet-Induced Obesity Disrupts Trace Element Homeostasis and Gene Expression in the Olfactory Bulb. Nutrients, 12, 3909. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123909
Pfalzer, A., Wilcox J., Codreanu S., Totten M., et al. (2020). Huntington’s Disease Genotype Suppresses Global Manganese-Responsive Processes in Pre-Manifest and Manifest YAC128 Mice. Metallomics. 12(7), 1118-1130. https://doi.org/10.1039/d0mt00081g
Chen P., Totten M., Zhang Z., Bucinca H., Erikson K., Santamaria A., Bowman A., Aschner M. (2019). Iron and Manganese-Related CNS Toxicity: Mechanisms, Diagnosis and Treatment. Expert Rev Neurother, 19, 243–260. https://doi.org/10.1080/14737175.2019.1581608