Associate Professor of Physiology
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.
With humans as our primary model system, we will cover cellular and general tissue physiology and the endocrine, nervous, cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, and renal organ systems. Primary emphasis is on functional processes in these systems and on cellular and molecular mechanisms common across systems. Students will engage in class problems, lectures, and reading of secondary science literature. Basic knowledge of and comfort with biology, chemistry, and math is necessary.
The function of the brain can hardly be examined without considering the influence of the endocrine system. 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 the endocrine system and how it interacts with the nervous system to influence behavior in a range of organisms, including humans. 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.
This course is an intensive laboratory experience to complement the physiology and health science/biology courses. Students explore fundamental physiological principles and laboratory techniques, through completion of multiple lab activities. Concepts may include metabolism, membrane transport, enzyme activity, electrophysiology, sensory physiology, and others. Students will also practice the research skills of hypothesis formation, experimental design, data analysis, and information presentation. Pre-requisite: Must have taken NS 220 (Human Physio) or NS 221 (Animal Physio) previously or be taking it concurrently.
Explore the function of the endocrine system and its role in behavior, specifically as examined in animal model systems. 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 of an organism is set in a background of endocrine influences. This course examines the endocrine system and how it 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, and aggression. Students will analyze the primary scientific literature, write short papers, and develop a major independent paper that they present to the class. This tutorial will be run as a Teaching and Learning Community. This means that one course meeting per week will be classroom based and the other will be an out of classroom activity, trip, gathering, or other informal learning experience related to the themes of the course or to advising.
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, stress hormones and glucose regulation. In addition, as community service outreach, students will develop projects to explore the effectiveness of stress relief options in the college community.
In this course students will examine the function of the nervous system with particular focus on mechanisms at work in the brain. The course will link current advances in cell, molecular and developmental physiology research in the context of neuronal functional mechanisms. Topics may include neurotransmitter function and regulation, brain area function, integrative intracellular signaling pathways, neuroendocrine control. Advanced topics may include the correlation of ion channel properties and synaptic transmission with physiological functions such as learning and memory, circuits involved in behavior, and the organizational principles for the development of functional neural networks at synaptic and cellular levels. Along with regular discussion, participation and problem solving, students will prepare papers and lead discussions on their own chosen topics. This course is particularly appropriate for students interested in behavioral mechanisms, neurophysiology, psychology, and neuroendocrinology. This is a course in the Culture, Brain and Development Program.
This course will cover physiology of organ systems within animal phyla with special emphasis on physiological adaptations of organisms to their environment. Topics will include osmoregulation, temperature regulation and neural, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, digestive and endocrine function. One focus will be on cellular and molecular mechanisms common across systems and phyla. We'll also examine unique adaptations to extreme environments. Knowledge of basic biology and chemistry is not required but is recommended. Students will engage in class problems, lectures, and reading of text and primary scientific literature.