Melissa McElligott

Melissa McElligottAssistant Academic Specialist
Neurobiology, Vertebrate Locomotion, Pedagogy

Department of Biology
Northeastern University
112 Mugar Life Sciences
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115 

Academic Education

  • Ph.D. in Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
  • B.S. in Marine Biology, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC

Research Interests

I am interested in how neural networks in the brainstem mediate locomotion in vertebrates. I am also interested in pedagogical techniques and curriculum design.

Teaching Activities

I have always been thrilled to teach introductory level courses for Biology majors and non-majors. My hope is to illustrate the diversity of topics in biology and simultaneously demonstrate the interconnectedness of these topics. Students best learn when they are self-motivated and enthusiastic about the subject material. Therefore, my ‘Foundations in Biology’ and ‘Inquiries’ courses are designed to reflect students evolving interests in science. We discuss a range of topics including: evolutionary biology, conservation biology, DNA technology, drug development, biomimetics, bioethics, cancer and stem cells. Learning is often an active and collaborative process. To address this, my classes contain a variety of active learning components including minute papers, team-based learning elements, concept mapping, debates, case-studies and student-lead presentations. Finally, I aim to demonstrate the dynamic nature of science. Every day, new advancements are being made, drugs are developed, and long-held assumptions are revisited. I design my courses to incorporate new literature as it becomes available and use it as a platform on which to teach fundamental biological concepts.