Carolyn W.T. Lee-Parsons is an Associate Professor jointly appointed in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A). Her team of graduate and undergraduate students investigates how plants coordinate and control the production of defense-related specialized metabolites. Specifically, her team studies the transcriptional regulation of alkaloid biosynthesis in the Madgascar periwinkle or Catharanthus roseus plant and develops tools and strategies for re-programming their regulation (www.northeastern.edu/lee-parsons). Growing up in the midst of wheat fields in Kansas, she pursued Chemical Engineering at the University of Kansas. For her doctoral research in Chemical Engineering, she investigated bioprocess strategies for increasing specialized metabolism in plant cell cultures at Cornell University. Prior to joining Northeastern, she taught for several years at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology before embarking on a career of both teaching and research. Carolyn seeks to engage majors across disciplines in understanding the fundamentals underlying life in living organisms and translating this understanding to developing solutions to society’s grand challenges. For her teaching and research mentoring, she was awarded the Martin Essigmann Outstanding Teaching Award and the University Excellence in Teaching Award at Northeastern University.