• Catherine Volle

    Catherine Volle

    Assistant Professor of Biochemistry

Biographical Sketch

Catherine became interested in science at age 10 when she decided to become a veterinarian. She remained on that career path throughout her time as an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College. It wasn't until the beginning of her second year as a research associate, studying the biophysics underlying predation by the bacteria Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus, that she decided to get her Ph.D. rather than a DVM. She applied to graduate programs intending to study marine microbiology; however, she chose to attend Brown University’s program in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry because she was impressed by the exciting basic science that was taking place. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Sarah Delaney in the Brown chemistry department, where she studied the effect of oxidative damage on hairpin DNA and the behavior of trinucleotide repeats in the nucleosome.  

After completing her degree at Brown, she moved to the National Institutes of Health to continue studying chromatin. In her first year, she was awarded the Sally Rosen Kaplan fellowship for women in cancer research. During her time at the NIH, she realized that she did not like being at a big research institution and that she would be much happier teaching and researching with students. She served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and Trinity Washington University and joined the faculty at Cottey College in 2015. She moved to Cornell in 2019.  

Catherine's lab studies the biomechanical changes that occur when bacteria are treated with antibiotics. They also investigate the ability of viral proteins to destabilize DNA folded into a hairpin. Further information on the Volle lab can be found at https://thevollelaboratory.net/.

Academic History

  • Post-doctoral Fellow, National Cancer Institute, 2015
  • Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, 2013
  • BA in Biology, Mount Holyoke College, 2006


Helen Greer*, Kanesha Overton*, Megan Ferguson, Eileen Spain, Don Elmore, Megan Núñez, and Catherine B. Volle. (2019) “Qualitative and Quantitative Changes to E. coli During Treatment with Magainin 2 Observed in Native Conditions by Atomic Force Microscopy” Langmuir.  

John W. Goss and Catherine B. Volle. (2019) “Using Atomic Force Microscopy to Illuminate the Biophysical Properties of Microbes” ACS Applied Biomaterials  

Catherine B. Volle and Yamini Dalal. (2014) “Histone Variants: Tricksters of the Chromatin World” Current Opinions in Genetics and Development 25 8-14.  

Catherine B. Volle and Sarah Delaney. (2013) “AGG/CCT Interruptions Affect Nucleosome Formation and Positioning of Healthy-Length CGG/CCG Triplet Repeats” BMC Biochemistry 14 1-12.  

Catherine B. Volle and Sarah Delaney. (2012) “CAG/CTG Repeats Alter Affinity for the Histone Core and Positioning of DNA in the Nucleosome” Biochemistry 51 9814-9825.

Sarah Delaney, Daniel A. Jarem, Catherine B. Volle, and Craig J. Yennie. (2012) “Chemical and Biological Consequences of Oxidatively Damaged Guanine in DNA” Free Radical Research 46 420-441.  

Catherine B. Volle, Daniel A. Jarem, and Sarah Delaney. (2012) “Trinucleotide Repeat DNA Alters Structure to Minimize the Thermodynamic Impact of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine” Biochemistry 51 52-62.  

Catherine B. Volle, Megan A. Ferguson, Katherine E. Aidala, Eileen M. Spain, and Megan E. Núñez. (2008) “Spring Constants and Adhesive Properties of Native Bacterial Biofilm Cells Measured by Atomic Force Microscopy” Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 67 32-40.  

Catherine B. Volle, Megan A. Ferguson, Katherine E. Aidala, Eileen M. Spain, and Megan E. Núñez. (2008) “Quantitative Changes in the Elasticity and Adhesive Properties of Prey Cells During Predation by Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus 109J” Langmuir 24 8102-8110.  

Megan A. Ferguson, Jacqueline Schmitt*, Anil R. Sindhurakar*, Catherine B. Volle, Megan E. Núñez, and Eileen M. Spain. (2008) “Rapid Isolation of Host-Independent Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus” Journal of Microbiological Methods 73 279-281. 

Courses Taught

  • BIO 109: Medical Microbiology: Rise of the Superbug
  • BIO 141: Foundations: Cellular Biology
  • BIO 326: Microbiology
  • CHE 121: Chemical Principles I
  • CHE 327: Organic Chemistry Laboratory
  • CHE 334: Biochemistry