Angel Kaur, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience

Contact Information

  • akaur@unca.edu
  • 828-232-5154
  • 211 Zeis Hall

Bio

I am originally from New Delhi, India, where I lived until I was 18. I came to the US to attend Bryn Mawr College, just outside of Philadelphia, PA. Here, I earned my Bachelor’s degree, majoring in Biology at Haverford College, and minoring in Film Studies at Bryn Mawr. This first experience in a liberal arts environment shaped my worldview, and continues to influence how I conduct my teaching, scholarship, and advising.

After completing my bachelors, I reluctantly left the Hogwartsian Bryn Mawr campus to arrive in sunny San Diego. Here, I completed my Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Stowers. During my graduate work, I investigated the role of major urinary proteins in pheromone based signaling between male mice. I found evidence that mice are able to recognize each other and undertake complex territory marking behavior based on these proteins. Analysis of their reception pattern revealed that, unlike most pheromones, these proteins activated sensory neurons in a combinatorial pattern, a mechanism typically employed by odor molecules. This finding changed the way we understand pheromone based signaling and what role experience can play in instinctual behaviors, and led to a Cell publication.

I began my tenure track position as the first official Neuroscience professor at UNC Asheville in the fall of 2016, and held the position of Program Director for the Neuroscience minor between 2016-2019. Through the years, I have developed special topics courses in neurobiology and neuropharmacology, taught core classes in the Neuroscience program, and have been working to support and expand the Neuroscience minor. In addition, I have been able to return to my love of film studies through STEAM course offerings that explore formal, social, historical, and scientific analyses of Neuroscience themed films. My favorite films to teach include Donovan’s Brain, Limitless, and Get Out. 

Education

  • Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla (Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience)
  • A.B., Bryn Mawr College (Biology at Haverford College)

Research Interests

I'm engaged in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning with a focus on high-impact practices in undergraduate STEM education in a liberal arts environment. I am particularly interested in pedagogical innovation to increase student engagement and learning, and the use of multidisciplinary materials in STEM courses to promote deep learning. In addition, I am investigating best practices to engage students in effective science communication across a range of audiences. As a frequent first-year seminar instructor, I also seek to understand the best ways to support student success at this crucial transition.

Classes Taught

Neuroscience Courses

  • NEUR/PSYC216: Fundamentals of Neuroscience
  • NEUR410: Neuropharmacology
  • NEUR410: Molecular Neurobiology 
  • NEUR410: Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • NEUR480: Seminar in Neuroscience

Liberal Arts Courses

  • FYS178: Science Communication
  • NEUR178: NeuroScience Fiction in Film
  • Honors Special Topics: NeuroScience Fiction
  • ARTS310: Neuroscience in Film

Biology Courses (2013-2016)

  • BIOL126: Current Topics in Biology Lab
  • BIOL136: Principles of Cell and Molecular Biology
  • BIOL136L: Principles of Cell and Molecular Biology Lab
  • BIOL423: Molecular Biology
  • BIOL498: Undergraduate Research in Biology

Publications

Visit www.clubkaur.com to see a list of recent publications.