Faculty Profile

Mary Niblock

Associate Professor of Biology (2007)

Contact Information


James Hall - Rector Complex Room 1221


  • B.A., University of Richmond, 1992
  • Ph.D., Wake Forest University, 1998

2016-2017 Academic Year

Fall 2016

BIOL 327 Developmental Neurobiology
This course explores the development of the nervous system, from the early patterning of the neural plate, through the differentiation of embryonic cells into diverse neuronal subtypes, and culminating with the integration of multiple neuronal subtypes into the complex wiring circuits that underlie our sensory, motor, and cognitive abilities. We will study the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neural specification, the formation of neuronal connections, neural patterning by programmed cell death, and experience-dependent modulation of neural circuits. We also will examine the ways that neural development can go awry. In the laboratory we will explore topics such as neural induction, cell lineage and fate determination, neuronal migration, axon guidance, activity-dependent development and critical periods, and the development of behavior. The focus of the course will be on the development of the mammalian nervous system, but the contributions of simpler animal models to our understanding of the human brain will be a secondary emphasis. Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129, OR, BIOL 124 and PSYC 125, and NRSC 200 OR permission of the instructor.

BIOL 412 Seminar
Through detailed study of the primary biological literature, students acquire an understanding of the methodology and philosophy of scientific research. Includes study of the formulation of hypotheses, the design of experiments or observations to test these hypotheses, and the interpretation of results. This course will normally require a major research-based presentation and/or paper and may also involve the conduct of research by students. This course satisfies the requirement for a research experience for the biology major. Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129, and one upper-level biology course.

NRSC 560 Stu/Faculty Collaborative Rsch

Spring 2017

BIOL 313 Cell Biology w/Lab
An introduction to the structure and function of cells, with emphasis on the molecular mechanisms of cellular processes. The course will involve discussion-oriented lectures and readings from the current literature. The laboratory will stress the discovery approach in applying state of the art techniques to cell biological experiments. Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129. For Neuroscience majors only, prerequisite is 124 and PSYC 125and NRSC 200.