Donna Fontana grew up in Illinois as the fourth of eight children. She is a product of the Big Ten. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Illinois in Urbana in Biology, her graduate level work at Michigan State University in Biophysics, and then temporarily left the Big Ten to do postdoctoral studies in Biochemistry at John Hopkins Medical School. She was on the faculty at the University of Minnesota for a couple of years before entering medical school at the University of Minnesota. This was followed by an internal medicine residency at Hennepin County Medical Center and a rheumatology fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Much to the relief of her family and friends, she then stopped going to school. Currently she is happily practicing all aspects of rheumatology.
Now that her youngest child has left the nest, she is starting to rediscover those hobbies that were set aside many years ago. Recently she has been growing a lot of plants for the bunnies to eat.