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Rebecca Rashid Achterman, PhD

School of Natural Health Arts & Sciences
Department of Basic Sciences

Current Roles

Dr. Achterman is a core faculty member in the Department of Basic Sciences.


  • BS in Microbiology from Indiana University
  • PhD in Microbiology from the University of Washington

Past Experience

Dr. Achterman conducted post-doctoral research in prokaryotic development at the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) and then returned to Seattle to work on fungal pathogenesis with Ted White, PhD, at Seattle BioMed. She spent three years teaching at Western Washington University before joining the faculty at Bastyr University in 2013.

Classes Taught

Microbiology, Infectious Diseases, Integrated Biochemistry and Cell/Molecular Biology


Dr. Achterman’s overarching research interest is to develop a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying dermatophyte pathogenesis. Dermatophytes are the causative agent of cutaneous mycoses such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and scalp infections (tinea capitis). Although they infect nearly 1 in 5 individuals, little is known about how dermatophytes cause disease. A deeper understanding of this process will allow for better prevention and therapeutics. Current projects include developing a non-mammalian model system to mimic host-pathogen interactions during dermatophyte disease, and identifying antimicrobial compounds from natural sources, including those active against dermatophytes or bacterial pathogens.

Dr. Achterman’s teaching interests include identifying and addressing common misconceptions about microbiology and developing genuine research experiences for undergraduate students.


Dr. Achterman’s goal is to provide students with rigorous scientific training that develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills useful beyond the classroom. 


Portrait of Rebecca Achterman, PhD
Rebecca Achterman, PhD