13 March 2024 • AlumsResearchSTEM “Pushing the Boundaries of Knowledge” By Andrew Wickenden '09

Kate Feller '06, a neurobiologist and assistant professor at Union College, was the subject of a recent feature story exploring her research on animals’ visual systems, which began with her Honors work at HWS with Professor of Biology Kristy Kenyon.

As a scientist, Kate Feller ’06 likens herself to “an explorer. I am not a Magellan or a person on a ship looking to explore new places—I’m pushing the boundaries of knowledge. Where is the edge, and how can I shed light on the unknown?”

“Living in Vivid Color,” a profile by Sarah Hansen in the University of Maryland, Baltimore County magazine, highlights Feller’s boundary-pushing journey as a behavioral neuroscientist, which began during her time as an undergraduate student at HWS.

Now an assistant professor at Union College, Feller initially pursued a pre-med track at HWS before a research project with Professor of Biology Kristy Kenyon opened her eyes to the fascinating science of the visual system. 

“Feller and Kenyon settled on a bat vision project, and it transformed Feller’s future,” writes Hansen. “Kenyon gave her a crash course in what she needed to know, and Feller thrived. The project led to Feller’s first scientific publication” — and set her on a career path as a researcher and professor.

“What I have thoroughly enjoyed is watching Kate progress at each step along the way, and find her passion, and be able to pursue something with such rigor, and excitement and resilience,” Kenyon says in the story.

Read the full story.

A double major in biology and environmental science, Feller went on to earn her Ph.D. in biological sciences at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she began studying the vision of mantis shrimp. As a post-doc, she studied butterflies in Japan, mouse brains in Minnesota and insects in England. In 2020, she established her own laboratory at Union, where she continues to explore the connections between vision and behavior and also mentors students of her own.