Michele Lemons, Ph.D

Professor of Biology

Director of the Center for Neuroscience

508-767-7658 Testa Science Center - Room 254

Professor Lemons was raised in Herndon, Virginia and was the first in her family to graduate from college. She earned a biology major and a degree in secondary education from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. Following graduation, Professor Lemons pursued her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL, where she studied spinal cord injury. She pursued her love of education by teaching as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY for one year, which she greatly enjoyed. To further enhance her research training, Prof Lemons conducted six years of postdoctoral training in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City Utah. After this time, she began working at Assumption University, where she enjoys teaching and mentoring undergraduates in the classroom, in the lab, and in extracurricular and community service activities, as a Professor of Biology and the Center for Neuroscience Director.


B.S., The College of William and Mary, Biology major, Education degree and certification

1993 Ph.D., University of Florida, Neuroscience

1999 Ph.D. dissertation title: “Inhibition of regeneration in the injured, adult spinal cord: potential role of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, specifically aggrecan.”

Courses Taught

Principles of Neuroscience lecture and laboratory

Matters and Mysteries of your Brain

General Physiology, lecture and laboratory

Concepts in Biology, laboratory

Human Biology in Health and Disease, lecture and laboratory

Independent Study. Mentored students

Mentored student internships

Independent Study


National Science Foundation, Research Collaborative Network (RCN) Undergraduate Biology Education (UBE)2021-2023

Title: RCN UBE Incubator:  Transforming Assessment, Feedback, and Grading in Undergraduate Biology Education

Funding:   $74,960 (direct and indirect costs)

Role:   Co-Principle Investigator serving with PI Dr. Sarah Cavanagh

Funding duration:  September 2021-December 2024

National Science Foundation, Division of Integrative Organismal Systems

Title: RUI: Collaborative Research: Molecular mechanisms of dendrite development, maintenance and plasticity:  in vivo single-neuron analysis in C. elegans. 

Role:   Principle Investigator 

Funding: $245,710 total: $184,183 direct costs plus $61,527 indirect costs  

 research, training Assumption undergraduates, training URM students and training high school biology teacher.  Funds are also used to purchase a fluorescent dissecting microscope for the College that is available to all colleagues and students. 

Funding duration:  1/15/2019– 12/31/2023 

Paul Ziegler Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship. 2020.  This award is given by the President of Assumption University to a faculty member who was nominated by colleagues and selected by the Presidential Award Committee.  

Selected to serve as Guest Coach for Assumption University football team.  All-American Football kicker Cole Tracey ’18 requested that I serve as a guest coach for the last home game.  I attended practices, and film study sessions and watched the game from the sidelines with the team after walking on the field with team captains for coin toss. 2016 

Editor’s Top Pick of published articles in JUNE (Journal for Undergraduate Neuroscience Education).  2012. The Editor of JUNE selected my article as the best-published manuscript in JUNE during 2012.


S.R Cavanagh, M.L. Lemons., B.M. Dewsbury., J.R. Eyler,. L. Fergusson-Kolmes, J.M. Lang, H.L. Urry, L.B. Wheeler (in preparation). Equitizing STEM Retention: Transforming Assessment, Feedback, and Grading in Undergraduate Biology Education (TUnE-Bio) Network. CBE LSE special issue:  Equity, Inclusion, Access and Justice in Biology Education.

S. Ramachandran, N. Banerjee, R. Bhattacharya, M.L. Lemons, J. Florman, C.M. Lambert, D. Touroutine, K. Alexander L. Schoofs, M.J. Alkema, I. Beets, M.M. Francis. (2021) A conserved neuropeptide system links head and body motor circuits to enable adaptive behavior. Elife.  Nov 12; 10:e71747. DOI:  10.7554/eLife.71747

M.L.  Lemons (2021) Phantom Limb Pain: Feeling Sensation From A Limb That Is No Longer Present And  What It  can Reveal About  Our Brain  Anatomy.  The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education (JUNE). 19(2):C1-C11.

D. Oliver, E. Norman, H. Bates, R. Avard, M. Rettler, C.B. Benard, M.M. Francis, M.L. Lemons.(2019) Integrins Have Cell-Type-Specific Roles in Development of Motor Neuron Connectivity. Journal of Developmental Biology. 7(3), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb7030017. 

A. Philbrook, S. Ramachandron, C.M. Lambert, D. Oliver, J. Florman, M.J. Alkema, M. Lemons, M.M. Francis. (2018)  Neurexin directs partner-specific synaptic connectivity in C. elegans. Elife. Jul 24;7. pii: e35692. doi: 


M.L. Lemons (2017) Referee Report For: A novel educational module to teach neural circuits for college and high school students: NGSS-neurons, genetics, and selective stimulations [version 1; referees: 3 approved with reservations]. F1000Research 2017, 6:117 (doi: 10.5256/f1000research.11456.r20684) https://f1000research.com/articles/6-117/v1#referee-response-20684 

M.L. Lemons. (2017). Locate the Lesion:  A Project-Based Learning Case that Stimulates Comprehension and Application of Neuroanatomy.  Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education. 15(2) C7-C10.  

M.L. Lemons. (2016). An inquiry-based approach to study the synapse:  student-driven experiments using C. 

elegans. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education. 15(1). A44-A55. 

Powell, S., Vinod, A., Lemons, M. L. (2014) Isolation and Culture of Dissociated Sensory Neurons From Chick Embryos. J. Vis. Exp. (91), e51991, doi:10.3791/51991. 

M.L. Lemons, M.L. Abanto, N. Dambrouskas, C.C. Clements, Z. DeLoughery, J. Garozzo, M.L. Condic. (2013) Integrins and cAMP mediate netrin-induced growth cone collapse. Brain Research,  (1537) 46-58. 

M.L. Lemons (2012) Characterizing Mystery Cell Lines:  Student-driven Research Projects in an  Undergraduate Neuroscience Laboratory Course.  Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience  Education. 10(2): A96-A104. This manuscript won the editor’s choice award.


Cavanagh, S.R., Eyler, J.E., Wheler, L., Lemons, M.L. (2023). Assessment, Feedback, & Grading in Introductory Biology: Current State of Play. 46th Annual Meeting of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education. November, Pittsburgh, PA. McKillop,H., Genao, N., Francis, M.M., Lemons, M.L. (2023) Investigating roles for extracellular matrix in neuronal synapse formation. Society for Neuroscience Meeting, Faculty for Undergraduate Research symposium. McKillop, H., O’Keefe, S., MacQuarrie, L., Francis, M.M., Lemons, M.L. (2022). Investigating Roles of the Extracellular Matrix in Synapse Formation. Society for Neuroscience Meeting, Abstract Control # 10425. Lemons, M.L. (2021) Promoting Enduring Learning by Connecting Course Content to Community Service. Society for Neuroscience Meeting. Virtual poster presentation. O’Keefe, S., McKillop, H., MacQuarrie, L.M., Francis, M.M., Lemons, M.L. (2021) Investigating the roles of the extracellular matrix in synapse development. Assumption University Summer Research Symposium. Armstrong, W., Bates, H., Norman,E., Oliver, D., Alexander,K. Francis, M.M., Lemons, M.L. (2019) Molecular mechanisms of neural circuit development. Society for Neuroscience Meeting, Faculty for Undergraduate Research symposium. Lemons, M.L., Philbrook, A. Ramachandran, S., Oliver, D., Lambert, C. Francis, M.M. (2017) The synaptic organizer neurexin coordinates cholinergic connectivity with GABAergic neurons. Board B45. #368.20. Society for Neuroscience Meeting. Avard R.C., Rettler M.M., Temple M.W., Lemons M.L. (2015) Conformational state of integrins causes significant axonal patterning defects in GABAergic motor neurons. Poster #30, Society for Neuroscience Convention, Faculty for Undergraduate Research symposium.

Additional Information

I am a strong advocate for undergraduate research opportunities. I typically train students in my research lab and in the research of my collaborator’s lab in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School in Worcester, MA.