Leena S. Knight, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Biology Department
Whitman College

EMAIL & Phone: 509.527.4965






Biology Department


As a cellular neurophysiologist, I am interested in how neurons communicate in complex and incredibly precise ways while maintaining the ability to be plastic to accommodate new information. I am equally interested in where and how this system breaks down allowing for the development of neurological disorders such as epilepsy.

To investigate these issues I implement a number of electrophysiological tools (including: extracellular, field recordings; intracellular, sharp electrode recordings, and slice, patch recordings) combined with histological, immunocytochemical, and tract tracing techniques (see side bar for some examples) to assess both functional and structural features of neurons.

As a teacher, I teach upper level courses in cell biology and physiology as well as an introductory level course on the principles of biology. I hope to clearly communicate my excitement for science, its complexities, and its influence on our understanding of the world around us. I make myself available and accessible to my students and try to make learning science concepts rewarding.

As a researcher, I offer students many opportunities to experience science first-hand; directly through opportunities to participate in research, indirectly through literature review and in hallway conversations about why you don't want to stir pancake batter too much if you like fluffy pancakes. All students should take away the concept that scientific development can directly influence our society, our politics and our way of life (e.g., stem cell research and treatment). Ultimately, their skills in critical analysis and interpretation of scientific information will influence their ability to become knowledgeable and discerning members of our community.

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