Faculty Profile

Missy Niblock

(she/her/hers)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

2023-2024 Academic Year

Fall 2023

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: One 200-level BIOL course. For Neuroscience majors, prerequisite is NRSC 200.

NRSC 500 Independent Study

Spring 2024

BIOL 132 Intro to Molecules/Genes/Cells
This introductory course approaches core biological themes from the molecular and cellular level, and is complementary to BIOL 131, Introduction to Organisms, Populations, and Ecosystems. Course content will be focused around a specific theme determined by the instructor, and will include biomolecule and cell structure and function; cell signaling and communication; chromosome and gene structure; DNA replication; transcription; and translation. The course will involve lecture, discussion, and readings from scientific literature. Laboratory exercises include both classic and modern approaches to cellular and molecular biology utilizing prokaryotic and/or eukaryotic organisms. The laboratory will stress the discovery approach in applying current techniques to biological experiments. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This is one of two courses required of all Biology majors before completing upper level coursework. It is complementary to BIOL 131 – Introduction to Organisms, Populations, and Ecosystems, and the courses may be taken in either order.

NRSC 500 Independent Study

NRSC 550 Independent Research