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Kate O'TooleAssociate Teaching Professor


  • B.S., Northern Kentucky University, 2005
  • Ph.D., Emory University, 2011

Teaching Philosophy

The biological world is amazing and learning about it should be interesting, and fun, and accessible to everyone. As an undergraduate biology lecturer, I strive to establish a student-centered learning environment in order to reach people with different learning preferences and different kinds of minds. To serve this goal I am constantly developing creative lessons using case studies based on current research and inquiry driven activities to guide students through their discovery of new content. Assessments are designed to engage students in critical thinking and foster the written and verbal scientific communication skills that are essential in a successful citizen scientist.
My own research training has focused on understanding the role of transmembrane proteins in cellular functions, in particular, how ion channels mediate neurotransmission in normal and disease states of the adult nervous system.  But my ultimate passion has always been science education. After completing my Ph.D., I pursued a nontraditional postdoctoral fellowship at Tufts University in Boston, MA that allowed me to develop my skills as a researcher, a mentor, and an educator.
Science doesn’t just happen in the classroom or in the laboratory. I want my students to be able to transfer the knowledge and skills that are learned to the rest of their daily lives and future careers. My strong research background facilitates my teaching style which uses authentic inquiry to focus on skills along with an understanding of biological processes.