Understanding the Cell

I am interested in how the cell targets and utilizes resources, in developing effective methods to teach the theories and techniques of Cell Biology and in promoting science literacy. Just as the cell uses different reactions and interactions to function correctly, I am involved in collaborative efforts in my research. Current projects involve collaboration with members of the Chemistry and Physics Departments and the Oral Communication Center.

Research Directions Include:

  • Using optical tweezers to study flagellar regeneration dynamics . (Biology/Physics) The flagella of the algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii are dynamic structures used as a model system to study processes of protein trafficking (IFT in particular), cytoskeletal dynamics and force generation. In collaboration with Dr. J. Yukich (Davidson Physics Department) we use a laser- based optical trap ('optical tweezers') to study the pattern of force generation during flagella regeneration and to determine the cellular mechanisms that affect it. (See McCord, Yukich and Bernd, 2005)
  • When Lungs Breathe: Studying the effects of ozone on alveolar cells. (Environmental Cell Biolology). Lung epithelial cells are our first line of defense against pollutants. We use a lung cell culture model to explore the relationship between cell function and exposure to environmentally relevant levels of ozone and cell . Projects include testing effects of ozone levels determined in a local monitoring project (collaboration with Dr. Cindy Hauser, Davidson Chemistry Department) , examining the protective role of surfactant and the effect of additional cellular stressors such as increased metabolism (to investigate exercise induced asthma) or alcohol (to investigate acute respiratory distress syndrome).

I have also advised a number of non-laboratory independent research projects that included topics in forensics, genetic counseling and bioethics.

You can see the titles of all past independent research projects on Dr. Bernd's C.V. or contact her by email

© Copyright 2007 Department of Biology, Davidson College, Davidson, NC 28035
Send comments, questions, and suggestions to: kabernd@davidson.edu