Katherine Cullen

  • Lecturer/Lab Instructor

Areas of Study


  • BS, Michigan State University, 1990
  • PhD, Vanderbilt University, 1995


I have been involved with teaching and research in the cell and molecular life sciences for more than two decades. Like many Oberlin science students, my first exposure to scientific research was as an undergraduate. I worked in the potato breeding and genetics laboratory at Michigan State University.

My mentor, Dr. David Douches, introduced me to many common techniques such as electrophoresis and tissue culture and showed me how laboratory research complemented greenhouse and field work to improve crop yield and quality. After receiving my Bachelor of Ccience in Microbiology and Public Health, I entered graduate school at Vanderbilt University. My doctoral dissertation research, performed in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Seyfred, focused on how packaging of the prolactin gene into chromatin affected the regulation of its expression.

As a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Kevin Sarge’s laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry at Chandler Medical Center at the University of Kentucky, I studied the regulation of the transcription of heat shock factors and their expression during spermatogenesis. After my postdoc, I joined the faculty in the biology program at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where I taught courses in microbiology, cell and molecular biology, genetics, molecular genetics, reproductive biology, and general biology.

I moved to northern Ohio when my husband’s company transferred him to the Cleveland area. Although I was involved in writing and editing scientific educational materials on a full-time basis, I missed teaching college-level biological science tremendously. After teaching part-time at Lorain County Community College for two years, I joined the Oberlin College community in fall 2007 and have enjoyed every moment since. I hope to share with you the chance to explore the secrets and intricacies of life at the molecular level this year!

Spring 2023

Human Genetics — BIOL 086
Genetics, Evolution, and Ecology — BIOL 200