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Catherine S Key

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Contact Information

Associate Professor
(919) 530-5365
(919) 530-7773
2246 Mary M. Townes Science Building


Faculty Senator for DBBS 2017-2018
Faculty Senate Nominations Committee 2017-2018
Faculty Senate Executive Committee 2018-2019
UNC-CH S.P.I.R.E Post-doctoral coordinator and mentor at NCCU
Duke P.F.F. Mentor at NCCU
DBBS Workload & Rewards Committee
DBBS Undergraduate Curriculum Committee member
Undergraduate and Graduate Adviser
Research Mentor:
- Undergraduates in DREAM-STEM, PARTNERS, BIOL4400
- Graduate Students in DBBS M.S. Program


Dr. Cathy Silver Key hails from the Mid-west: born and raised in St. Louis, MO. She received the Muriel E. Babcock Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Biological Sciences upon graduating magna cum laude with her B.S. in 1988 from the University of Missouri at St. Louis. She worked for 1 year as a research technician at Washington University in St. Louis on the Human Genome Project before moving to North Carolina to pursue her Ph.D. in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Upon completing her Ph.D. in 1997, she joined the Biochemistry Department at Duke University for a short post-doc. When twins came into her life she transferred to Elon University to teach as an adjunct for 2.5 years. In 2001, she returned to UNC-CH as a Post-doctoral fellow in the Seeding Post-doctoral Innovators in Research and Education (S.P.I.R.E.) program which gave her the opportunity to begin research on the Developmental Genetics of Drosophila melanogaster and teach at a variety of institutions including NCA&T State University. In 2005, she joined the faculty at NCCU where she continues her research on a gene important for DNA replication (former NIH/NIGMS funded research). Recently, she has shifted research focus to Behavioral Genetics: alcohol-induced behaviors.

Dr. Silver Key has taught Genetics at NCCU since 2005 and absolutely loves it! Telling mini-case study stories and engaging students in learning through many 'active learning' methods will never grow old! Likewise, training students to be tomorrow's success Biological and Biomedical researchers in her research lab is always an adventure! An example of both learning in the classroom and conducting research in the lab, Dr. Silver Key is a member of the Genomics Education Partnership(GEP) (http://gep.wustl.edu/) that aims to teach students gene structure and provide a Bioinformatics-based research experience.

Research Interests

- Drosophila genomics (http://gep.wustl.edu/)
- Genetic basis behind alcohol-induced behaviors
- Role of Cdt2 (important for G1-S transition) in gonadal and neuronal development
- Impact of plant extracts cell and animal development
- Science Education Research


PhD University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 1997
BS University of Missouri St. Louis 1988
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