Cynthia Gill

Dean of Natural Science, Cognitive Science and Critical Social Inquiry and Associate Professor of Physiology
Cynthia Gill
Contact Cynthia

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Cynthia Gill
Cole Science Center 312

Cynthia Gill, dean of Natural Science, Cognitive Science, and Critical Social Inquiry and associate professor of physiology, received her B.S. in biology from the University of North Carolina and her Ph.D. in neuroendocrinology from the University of Virginia.

Professor Gill did postdoctoral research at the University of Texas examining the development of brain steroid receptor regulation in parthenogenetic and gender-reversed lizards. She also studies neural regulation and connectivity in response to hormonally-mediated environmental cues. Her interests span the areas of human and comparative physiology, neuroscience, endocrinology, herpetology, conservation biology, and behavioral biology. She's also a triathlete and adventure racer with an interest in exercise physiology.

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • Stress is a daily part of our lives that has become an intense subject of interest among scientists and the medical community. The body's responses to stress are linked to multiple health problems, but stress can also be overused as an explanation. In this course, we will examine the scientific evidence for the links between stress and human health issues such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. This will include readings of primary scientific research papers and coverage of basic physiological mechanisms in humans and other animals. Students will learn techniques to measure stress and stress hormones. KEYWORDS: Biology, psychology, health, medicine, neuroscience

  • This course is an introduction to the principles and practice of epidemiology, the core science of public health and the primary tool for measuring health disparities. The course covers the major concepts usually found in a graduate-level introductory course in epidemiology: outbreak investigations, study design, measures of effect, internal and external validity, reliability, and causal inference. Assigned readings are drawn from a standard textbook and the primary literature. In addition, students read case studies and work step-by-step through major epidemiologic investigations of the 20th century, including the first studies linking smoking and lung cancer; the controversies regarding HIV screening in the early years of the AIDS epidemic; and the emergence of a mysterious syndrome eventually linked to a health supplement. Students also form small groups to design and conduct a small epidemiologic study on campus. The major assignments for the course are four case studies; regular response papers/ worksheets on the readings; a poster presentation of the small group study; and a proposal for an epidemiologic study of the student's choosing.

  • Students in this course will learn about the biological function of selected human organs and systems through the study of actual medical cases. Not all human systems will be covered, but students will gain a good understanding of how diseases affect the body and how they are diagnosed. Students will develop diagnoses for medical cases through review of descriptions of patient histories, physical exams, and laboratory findings. A human biology text, medical texts on reserve, and Internet resources will help students track down information they need to solve these medical mysteries. Students will also learn to find and read scientific research articles on topics of their choosing and will learn to write analytical reviews of these articles. These reviews will form the basis of final papers in which students choose particular diseases or treatments to investigate in detail and present their findings to the class. Keywords: biology, health, disease, physiology, medicine

  • No description available

  • The social, nutritional and sensory environment of an organism can dramatically affect the expression of specific hormones. Those hormones, in turn, can determine the development, degree of plasticity and output of the nervous system. Thus, the behavior an organism can have is sometimes determined by the endocrine constraints on the nervous system. This course examines how the endocrine system interacts with the nervous system to influence behavior in a range of organisms. We'll start with the foundations of nervous and endocrine system physiology and anatomy with consideration of common methods and techniques in neuroendocrine and behavioral research. Then we will focus on some specific behaviors such as parental behavior, reproductive behavior, feeding, affiliation, aggression, learning, and memory. In addition, we'll consider the range of normal to "abnormal" behaviors and the neuroendocrine factors that could influence these behaviors. Keywords: neuroscience, behavior, animal, endocrinology, biology