Middlebury

 

Catherine Combelles

Associate Professor of Biology

Email: 
Phone: work802.443.5251
Office Hours: Fall 2014: Monday, 1:30-3:00 pm; Friday, 9:00-10:30 am
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The health of adults, neonates, and fetuses all depend upon normal development of the embryos and oocytes from which they arise. My laboratory is interested in (1) understanding what makes up a good quality oocyte as well as (2) identifying determinants of oocyte quality.

Using a clinically relevant animal model, our current assessment centers on the oxidative stress status of bovine oocytes. Towards this goal, we investigate the oxidative stress systems that prevail in all of the compartments making up the ovarian follicle, thereby defining the milieu within which an oocyte is about to embark on the penultimate developmental process of oocyte maturation. My laboratory also focuses on designing novel culture conditions in order to support the development of optimal quality oocytes in vitro. Long-term application of our work includes the improvement of not only treatment strategies for human infertility but also reproductive efficiency in domestic species.

Collaborative projects involve the diagnostic evaluation of human oocytes that fail to mature normally, the cryopreservation of human immature oocytes, and the monitoring of antioxidants secreted by human embryos of different developmental competencies.

 

Courses

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

BIOL 0145 - Cell Biology and Genetics      

Cell Biology and Genetics
In this introduction to modern cellular, genetic, and molecular biology we will explore life science concepts with an emphasis on their integral nature and evolutionary relationships. Topics covered will include cell membrane structure and function, metabolism, cell motility and division, genome structure and replication, the regulation of gene expression and protein production, genotype to phenotype relationship, and basic principles of inheritance. Major concepts will be illustrated using a broad range of examples from plants, animals, and microorganisms. Current topics in biology will be integrated into the course as they arise. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab

DED SCI

Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013

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BIOL 0305 - Developmental Biology      

Developmental Biology
Have you ever wondered how an embryo develops from a simple fertilized egg to a complex adult? This course explores this question, examining the preparation and initiation of development (gametogenesis, fertilization, cleavages, and gastrulation), the formation of embryonic structure (morphogenesis), the creation of embryonic pattern (pattern formation), and the control of gene expression during embryogenesis. In lab, students will design and carry out experiments at the cutting edge of developmental biology, incorporating modern cellular, molecular, and genetic techniques with classical embryological approaches. Fundamental mysteries of development will be investigated in model organisms that best illustrate each process. (BIOL 0140 and BIOL 0145) 3 hrs. lect./4 hrs. lab

SCI

Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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BIOL 0450 - Topics Reproductive Medicine      

Topics in Reproductive Medicine
In this course we will examine the fundamentals of human reproduction and modern reproductive intervention strategies. Rapid discoveries in medical technologies have allowed us to push the limits of the human body, and we will explore the scientific and medical challenges that surround the control of fertility and infertility, fetal life, birth, and the neonatal period. Through critical review of the primary literature, writing, and informed dialogues, students will gain an understanding of key topics in reproductive medicine. (BIOL 0140, BIOL 0145, and one other 0200 or 0300-level biology course, or by waiver) 3 hrs. sem.

SCI

Fall 2010, Winter 2013, Spring 2014

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BIOL 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
In this course students complete individual projects involving laboratory and/or field research or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and a faculty advisor. Prior to registering for BIOL 0500, a student must have discussed and agreed upon a project topic with a member of the Biology Department faculty. Additional requirements include participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in BIOL 0700, Senior Independent Study. (Approval required) 3 hrs. disc.

Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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BIOL 0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
In this course students complete individual projects involving laboratory and/or field research or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and a faculty advisor. Prior to registering for BIOL 0700, a student must have discussed and agreed upon a project topic with a member of the Biology Department faculty. Additional requirements include participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. (Approval required; open only to seniors) 3 hrs. disc.

Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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BIOL 0701 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
Seniors majoring in Biology who have completed one or more semesters of BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 and who plan to complete a thesis should register for BIOL 0701. In this course students will produce a written thesis, deliver a public presentation of the research on which it is based, and present an oral defense of the thesis before a committee of at least three faculty members. Additional requirements include participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. Open to Biology and joint Biology/Environmental Studies majors. (BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 or waiver; instructor approval required for all students) 3 hrs. disc

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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FYSE 1232 / INTD 1043 / WAGS 1043 - Making Babies Brave New World      

Making Babies in a Brave New World
In this seminar we will examine the fundamentals of human reproduction and modern reproductive intervention strategies. As rapid discoveries in medical technologies have allowed us to push the limits of the human body, questions remain as to whether we should pursue, permit, or regulate such advances. We will explore scientific, societal, ethical, and individual issues surrounding the control of fertility and infertility, fetal life, birth, and the neonatal period. Through critical review of the literature, writing, and informed dialogues, students will gain an understanding of key topics in reproductive medicine. 3 hrs. sem.

CW SCI

Winter 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

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MBBC 0700 - Senior Research      

Senior Thesis
Seniors conducting independent study in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry should register for MBBC 0700 unless they are completing a thesis project in which case they should register for MBBC 0701. (Approval required).

Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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MBBC 0701 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
Students conducting independent thesis research in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry must register for MBBC 0701 while completing research projects initiated in BIOL 0500, MBBC 0700, or CHEM 0400. Students will organize and lead regular discussions of their research and research methods, and attend weekly meetings with their designated laboratory group to foster understanding of their special area, and practice the stylistic and technical aspects of scientific writing needed to write their thesis. (CHEM 0400 or BIOL 0500 or MBBC 0700) (Approval required).

Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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NSCI 0500 - Independent Research      

Independent Research
Students enrolled in NSCI 0500 complete individual research projects involving laboratory or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and approved in advance by a NSCI faculty advisor. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in NSCI 0700. (Approval required)

Winter 2011, Spring 2011

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NSCI 0700 - Senior Research      

Senior Research
This course is for senior NSCI majors who plan to conduct one or more semesters of independent research, or who plan to complete preparatory work toward a senior thesis, such as researching and writing a thesis proposal as well as, if appropriate, collecting data that will form the basis for a senior thesis. Senior NSCI majors who plan to complete a senior thesis should register initially for NSCI 0700. Additional requirements may include participation in weekly meetings with advisors and/or lab groups and attending neuroscience seminars. (Approval required, open to seniors only)

Winter 2011, Spring 2011

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