Cara Constance, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

B.A., Hiram College
Ph.D., University of Virginia (Charlottesville)


205B Colton Hall
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • Hiram College (Biology), B.A.
  • University of Virginia (Charlottesville) (Biology), Ph.D.
  • University of Virginia (Charlottesville) (Biology), Post Doctoral Fellow

Professional Appointments

  • Hiram College: Assistant Professor of Biology 2008 - Present
  • College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA): Assistant Professor of Biology 2003 - 2008
  • University of Virginia (Charlottesville): Postdoctoral Fellow and Instructor (Biology) 2001 - 2003

Courses Taught

  • Biology 230: Molecular and Cellular Biology, Fall 2008 (lecture); Fall 2009 and 2010 (lecture and lab)
  • Biology 265:  Human Genetics (lecture and lab), Spring 2009 and 2010, Summer 2010
  • Biology 415: Advanced Molecular Biology (lecture and lab), Spring 2009
  • FRCL 118:  Freshman colloquium, "Ethical and Social Responsibility in the Age of Genomics," Fall 2008
  • FRCL 100:  The Promise of Stem Cells, Fall 2010
  • FSEM 103:  Freshman seminar, The Promise of Stem Cells, Spring 2010
  • INTD 288:  Japan:  Urbanization and Innovation (Study Abroad Spring 2010)
  • STDV 651:  Sophomore Development, Fall 2009

Research Interests

My research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of biological rhythms. Virtually all organisms have adapted to life on earth by having an internal timer that controls rhythmic behavioral, biochemical, and physiological processes, and confers a circadian period of about a day. My primary research interest is to determine how the molecules that comprise the central clock mechanism ultimately lead to regulation of rhythmic behaviors.

The model system that I use in my research is the frog, Xenopus tropicalis, an organism that has recently been adopted for genetic approaches. To address my research questions, I employ molecular genetic and bioinformatics techniques (database searches, sequence analysis, PCR, mutagenesis, subcloning, Northern blot analysis, in situ hybridization), Xenopus transgenesis (introduction of transgenes into animals; animal husbandry; genotyping) and I am currently developing a behavioral assay in order to monitor the effects of the transgenes that are introduced in the animal on circadian locomotor activity of tadpoles and adult animals. These techniques include a broad spectrum of approaches, from the study of molecules to analysis of the whole organism, and may be of interest to students who have an interest in cell biology, genetics, biochemistry and/or cellular and molecular neurobiology.

Students who are potentially interested in pursuing a research project in my laboratory may contact me to learn more about my research.

Selected Publications

Research Publications (Manuscripts and Abstracts)

  • Takashi Kudo, Dawn Loh, Cara Constance, Dika Kuljis, and Christopher Colwell.  "Fast delayed rectifier potassium current: critical for input and output of the circadian system." Accepted Dec. 12, 2010 for publication in the Journal of Neuroscience.
  • *M.C. Hamilton, *E.G. Babineau, J.C. Besharse, and C.M. Constance. "Characterization of the differential regulation of period2 between two closely related species, Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis." Poster abstract from the Society for Neuroscience's 40th annual meeting, Neuroscience 2010, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA,  Nov. 13th – 17th, 2010.
  • Deletion of the secretory vesicle proteins IA-2 and IA-b disrupts circadian rhythms of cardiovascular and physical activity. Kim SM, Power A, Brown TM, Constance CM, Coon SL, Nishimura T, Hirai H, Cai T, Eisner C, Weaver DR, Piggins HD, Klein DC, Schnermann J, Notkins AL.FASEB J. 2009 May 11.
  • Casein kinase 1 delta regulates the pace of the mammalian circadian clock. Etchegaray JP, Machida KK, Noton E, Constance CM, Dallmann R, *Di Napoli MN, Debruyne JP, Lambert CM, Yu EA, Reppert SM, Weaver DR.  Mol Cell Biol. 2009 May 4.

* indicates undergraduate student co-author that I have mentored

▲  Return to Top