BIO 208 Genetics
A study of the mechanisms of inheritance involving Mendelian and molecular principles and of genetic change during evolution involving population genetic principles.
This major is a convergence of many scientific fields, including modern biological chemistry, cellular and molecular biology, chemistry, botany and biology. It covers most of the requirements for the Medical College Admission Test. Your experience is defined not only by the quality of research facilities (ours are new, clean and well-equipped) but also by your relationships with peers and faculty. Labs are capped at 14 students, allowing for maximum interaction, instruction and sharing of ideas. Small classes mean you also gain experience with oral presentations and scientific writing in a research-oriented atmosphere. By the time you graduate, you will be proficient in the use of computers to model chemical systems and control lab instruments.
You spend a lot of time working with professors on innovative research in their fields. We view teaching and research with students as a single unified activity. You might spend your summers working with faculty through the Keck Foundation program or a fellowship funded by the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health. Many students co-author articles in scientific journals with professors and present their work at major research seminars in the United States and abroad. Some go overseas to continue their research, participating in an ongoing collaboration with scientists at the University of Bologna.
Study abroad for a semester or participate in one of the College's own Study Away Teach Away (SATA) programs. Through SATA, you travel to destinations like South Africa or Italy and take classes with a Connecticut College professor and faculty at local universities.
Phillip Barnes is interested in the genetics and evolution of complex quantitative traits, such as flight in insects. Such traits involve multiple morphological and physiological components of the organism. He is particularly interested in the interaction between genotype and environment in determining the individual's adaptation to the environment in which it is reared, its ability to acclimate to new environments and the evolutionary consequences of such genotype-by-environment interaction for a population.
The overall goal of Anne Bernhard's research is to understand the relationships among changes in environmental conditions, microbial communities, and nutrient cycling in coastal ecosystems, particularly salt marshes and estuaries.
Deborah Eastman is interested in the conversations that cells have during the process of development. In her research, Eastman uses molecular and genetic techniques to study how different cell types are determined. She is currently interested in the gene regulatory mechanisms that are involved in specifying particular cell types of the sensory organs in Drosophila.
Vicki Fontneau teaches and coordinates general chemistry and biochemistry labs. She has developed and implemented experiments in both these areas. She has been instrumental in improving laboratory safety throughout the chemistry department.
Martha J. Grossel was selected in 2006 as a “Woman of Innovation” in the field of research by the Committee of the Connecticut Technology Council. After her doctoral dissertation at Tufts Medical School, Professor Grossel was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School where she studied cancer and the cell cycle.
A former provost and dean of the faculty, Loomis believes that cryobiology, especially natural freezing tolerance, is a perfect topic for research at an undergraduate institution. He includes students in research projects ranging from the ecology of freeze tolerance to molecular biology and biochemistry.
Timo Ovaska centers his research on organic synthesis, a process that allows chemists to prepare complex materials in a rational fashion from simple precursors. In 2011, Pfizer scientist and '99 alumnus Jamie Tuttle and his colleague won a "Green Chemistry Award," and chose to donate the monetary portion of the award to Ovaska, who planned to use it to fund undergraduate student stipends for research in his lab.
Noted for his mastery of a tremendous range of material, including the most current literature in both plant and animal cell biology and instrumental technology, Page Owen encourages proficiency in both scientific writing and laboratory research skills.
Maureen Ronau has taught a wide array of courses, including lectures and labs for Analytical Chemistry and Advanced General Chemistry. She continues to teach general chemistry and organic chemistry labs, coordinates the organic chemistry lab and the analytical chemistry lab, and has developed labs for these courses.
Tanya Schneider's research interests broadly include the biosynthesis and molecular recognition of natural products, with a current focus on antibiotics and bacterial quorum sensing molecules. Her undergraduate research group uses techniques from chemistry, molecular biology and biochemistry to consider new routes to mitigate the problem of antibiotic resistance.
Rachel Spicer is interested in how woody plants adapt, evolve and survive in different environments. Research in her lab is focused on the biology of trees, shrubs and lianas – anything with a large woody stem – and includes projects on how woody stems develop, age and transport water to the leaves.
Jacob Stewart's research will be focused on better understanding the chemistry of Earth’s atmosphere. He is interested in using the tools of laser spectroscopy to measure the amount and the properties of important atmospheric molecules — in particular, biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs), which are naturally occurring molecules emitted by plants into the atmosphere. Even though these species are only present in small amounts in the atmosphere, they have a significant impact on atmospheric processes which affect climate change and air pollution.
Marc Zimmer teaches general chemistry, molecular science and environmental chemistry. He has tried to make these courses relevant and interesting by introducing the most recent developments in general, medicinal and environmental chemistry in his classes.
Biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology
A: The feel of the campus definitely contributed to my decision, but it was also based on how the sciences blend with liberal arts here. I loved that I could combine my passion for photography and science without having to pick one or major in both.
A: The chemistry and biology departments are so personal. All the professors make an effort to get to know you, even if you aren’t in their classes. The classes are challenging and rewarding and leave you with a sense of accomplishment. The ability to participate in research as undergraduates is rare for such a small school. Even if you don’t participate in formal independent research, the techniques you learn in the lab are extremely valuable down the road.
A: My CELS counselor gave me a contact at Smilow Cancer Hospital who directed me to the head of The Breast Center there. I now have an internship at Yale Medical School working with immunodeficient mice as models for breast cancer and diabetes. Without CELS and the funding it offers, it would have been nearly impossible to design this kind of internship.