Cathleen C. Pettepher, Ph.D.

Faculty Appointments
Assistant Dean for Assessment, School of Medicine Professor of Biochemistry Professor of Medical Education & Administration (VU)
Ph.D., Structural & Cellular Biology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AlabamaB.S., Biomedical Sciences, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AlabamaB.S., Chemistry, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama
Office Address
771 PRB
23rd and Pierce Avenues
Nashville, TN 37232-6840
Research Description
Research: From 1993 until 2005, I served in the role as Managing Director of the Transgenic Mouse/ES Cell Shared Resource here at Vanderbilt University that was responsible for the generation of germline altered mice for Cancer, Diabetes or Neuroscience related studies. I focused primarily on the techniques and procedures involved in the alteration of the mouse genome and I worked closely with many investigators to design constructs and screening strategies for targeting their specific gene of interest. I also oversaw the daily operations of the facility, which included the scheduling of transgenic microinjections, cryopreservation of embryos and sperm and various assisted reproduction experiments.

Medical Education: Since 1993, I have also been intricately involved with the education of medical students. I served as Director of the Medical Cell and Tissue Biology Course from 2000-2007 and I have was a part of a dedicated team of faculty that taught Gross Anatomy and Embryology to medical students in the fall semester of the first year. When Vanderbilt transitioned in the fall of 2007 to a more integrated basic and clinical science curriculum, I became a Co-Director in 2 of the 3 basic science blocks in the first year: Molecuar Foundations of Medicine (MFM) and Structure, Function and Development (SFD). This new integrated approach to teaching the basic sciences serves to familiarized students with the chemical compounds, reactions, and processes that constitute life, human health, and disease at the molecular level; provides students with an appreciation of cellular organization and how that organization impacts molecular processes; and allows them to develop an awareness and understanding of the structure, organization, and function of the human body at specific subcellular, cellular, tissue, systemic, and regional levels, as well as at the level of the whole, living human being/patient, and the interdependence of normal structure and function at all levels.

My scholarly activity is geared toward creating innovative programs that would foster educational excellence and scholarship, and to continuously work to expand available methodologies and technologies for fostering superior teaching facilitating of active learning in the field of anatomical sciences. I am interested in how a student's individual learning style enhances or deters from their success in their course work. I have also helped established a peer assessment program the provides students with feedback (strengths and weaknesses) from interactions (small groups, team presentations, laboratory dissection groups) to help promote their professional growth.

I serve as the First Year Director of the Student Assistance Program and as an education mentor for the Scientist-Educator Post-doctoral Fellowship program. The Student Assistance Program was established through the Dean’s office to help with the transition into and challenges associated with medical school and to enhance the academic lives of all students. It is the intent of the program to provide students and faculty with an effective means of academic intervention that aids students before their academic struggles require administrative referral. I am assigned to the first year students and help them to use their individual learning style to enhance their study strategy and time management skills. The Vanderbilt Scientist-Educator Program (SEP) trains postdoctoral fellows to be leaders in both biomedical education and research. During the three year fellowship, individuals perform independent cutting-edge research under the supervision of a faculty mentor, and at the same time, learn the practice of teaching gross anatomy, neuroscience, and cell and tissue biology – also under a faculty mentor. The program seeks to address the critical national need for medical educators, as well as foster the development of fellows interested in careers of academic medicine. I have served as a men
Research Keywords
Medical education, Gross Anatomy, Clinical Anatomy, Embryology, Cell and Tissue Biology.
Pilarski PP, Alan Johnstone D, Pettepher CC, Osheroff N. From music to macromolecules: using rich media/podcast lecture recordings to enhance the preclinical educational experience. Med Teach. 2008; 30(6): 630-2. PMID: 18677662, PII: 795456535, DOI: 10.1080/01421590802144302, ISSN: 1466-187X.

Postic C, Niswender KD, Decaux JF, Parsa R, Shelton KD, Gouhot B, Pettepher CC, Granner DK, Girard J, Magnuson MA. Cloning and characterization of the mouse glucokinase gene locus and identification of distal liver-specific DNase I hypersensitive sites. Genomics. 1995 Oct 10/10/1995; 29(3): 740-50. PMID: 8575768, PII: S0888-7543(85)79943-0, DOI: 10.1006/geno.1995.9943, ISSN: 0888-7543.

Jetton TL, Liang Y, Pettepher CC, Zimmerman EC, Cox FG, Horvath K, Matschinsky FM, Magnuson MA. Analysis of upstream glucokinase promoter activity in transgenic mice and identification of glucokinase in rare neuroendocrine cells in the brain and gut. J. Biol. Chem. 1994 Feb 2/4/1994; 269(5): 3641-54. PMID: 8106409, ISSN: 0021-9258.