Assistant Professor of Biology
Areas of Expertise: Cell biology, neuroscience, developmental biology, virology, and biology education for non-majors
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee: Chair
Mary Morrison came to Lycoming College in 2004 from the Scripps Research Institute. Her research group studies the development of the cerebellum, a brain region responsible for balance and coordination of motion. She has supervised numerous students doing independent studies and honors projects involving projects relating to brain development.
She teaches Introductory Biology, Neurobiology, Cell Biology, Immunology, Virology, and Cells, Genes, and Society, an introductory course for non-biology majors. Morrison introduced a Cell and Molecular Biology Research Methods course in which students develop their own research projects, including primary literature research, grant proposal writing and peer review, wet lab work, and preparation of journal-style articles and research conference-style poster presentations. She has also helped establish state-of-the-art microscopic imaging and cell culture facilities at Lycoming.
Morrison has mentored undergraduate students who have gone on to graduate and medical studies at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Brown, University of Pennsylvania, Temple and Hershey Medical Center to name a few. She advises students through the Health Professions Advisory Committee, and is co-coordinator of the new interdisciplinary neuroscience minor at Lycoming.
Morrison received the Lycoming College Junior Faculty Teaching Award in 2014, and the Carol Ann Paul Educator of the Year Award from the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience organization in 2015. The national FUN award recognizes a member of the organization for notable efforts to promote the effective teaching of neuroscience at the undergraduate level.
Morrison has served on the board of the Lycoming County Audubon Society, and has experience handling and training raptors (birds of prey: hawks, falcons, eagles, and owls). She has also studied the endangered desert bighorn sheep populations in the Anza-Borrego desert east of San Diego. To complement her lifelong passion for biology, she is an avid amateur naturalist, animal tracker, backpacker, kayak enthusiast, skier, ice skater, and volleyball player.
Morrison has recently been featured in a few videos regarding neuroscience research, including:
- Cell biology of the brain: Granule neuron regulation of Purkinje cell development
- Molecular biology of the brain: Gene expression changes and signaling events during development of the cerebellum
- Mammalian genetics: effects of mutations on mouse brain development