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Biography

This is who Amazon thinks I am, for what that is worth:

Holly Phaneuf Erskine is a college chemistry professor and writer. She has a PhD in medicinal chemistry as well as bachelor of science degrees in both biology and chemistry, all from the University of Utah. Erskine lives in Door County, Wisconsin, with her inventor husband and a large, fluctuating number of locally harvested cats.

In 2005, (under Holly Phaneuf) she wrote Herbs Demystified in order to clarify for herself and others the molecular mechanisms natural product molecules popularly consumed in herbal supplements might exert in the body to create both therapeutic and side effects. She says her goal was, above all, to create a book about molecular, cause-and-effect mechanisms featuring natural products, with non-technical language that anyone might understand. It has since been republished in Italian and Mandarin.

Erskine says that almost all science books older than ten years require updating because of inevitable new and often contradictory information gleaned from intervening studies. She includes Herbs Demystified in this group, noting that while some of her book's information has held up, there remains much that requires clarification and even retraction, which she considers a normal, necessary, and positive consequence of scientific research. She would love to update and enlarge Herbs Demystified. In the meantime she blogs on natural product mechanisms at
http://drholly.typepad.com/question_and_answer_forum/
and gives medicinal plant hikes for the Door County Land Trust.

Erskine also blogs about her synesthesia, a neurological condition, with the hope of helping other synesthetes learn to make the best use of this involuntary sensory cross-wiring that is always "on".
http://drholly.typepad.com/miscellaneous_babblings/
Like most synesthetes, she does not think of it as a disorder, but a gift. Also, like other synesthetes, Erskine finds her synesthetic associations aid her memory and facilitate the orderly categorization of concepts which she involuntarily and automatically color-codes. Erskine says one downside to having synesthesia is dealing with frequent sensory overstimulation, and blogs about simple techniques to deal with these sensory issues, such as using mindfulness, meditation, and earplugs. She is a participant in research studies on the biological and genetic basis of synesthesia with the Max Planck Institute.

She blogs about brain research, mindfulness, and meditation, at
http://www.theemissarymovie.com/mindfulness

Besides writing and teaching, Erskine plays a Celtic lever harp, tames many feral cats, and practices amateur astronomy. Using a fourteen-inch telescope and digital camera, she accidentally discovered an ordinary, yet previously undiscovered, asteroid in the asteroid belt. With the aid of Brian Marsden at the Smithsonian-based Minor Planet Center, this was named after her husband, Timerskine, as a surprise wedding gift. The Erskines often participate in local star gazing events and encourage the reduction of light pollution as active members of the International Dark Sky Association.

The Erskines currently run four home businesses in Door County, Wisconsin. Erskine's husband Tim is a mechanical engineer with over seventy patents, mostly in medical devices, but he has recently branched out into with patents for space stations, space elevators, and reducing unwanted advertising.

They license Tim's inventions through Erskine Medical, sell his design software through Code Zebra, promote their creative works through Night Sky Ventures, and are developing claims on Tim's Maffle (My Ad Free Life) patent. Tim's Maffle system bypasses advertising companies and prevents people from seeing advertising unless they are paid by the content provider.
https://www.maffle.com/

In 2010, the Erskines began filming a full-length, science fiction comedy mindfulness-themed movie, The Emissary, almost entirely filmed in Door County with the exception of some scenes from the Mount Palomar Observatory. During the five years of filming and editing The Emissary, they constructed a five-channel sound mixing studio to edit the movie for theatrical release, as an addition onto their home, Night Sky Ventures Studio.

Erskine is currently novelizing the Emissary Movie plot. It is her first experience writing fiction, which she reports has been a steep learning curve and harder than writing nonfiction, but she says she is absolutely loving it.

Almost every day, Erskine finds time to meditate, do yoga, and go for a run.