Jennell Talley
Top Claw Recipient

Dr. Jennell M. Talley

Associate Professor of Biology

School of Science and Tech
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Jennell Talley is a Georgia native. She attended McEachern high school in Powder Springs, Ga., and then went to Shorter College in Rome Ga., where she graduated with a B.S. in biology. Talley attended Vanderbilt University and graduated with a Ph.D. in biology. Her research centered on understanding protein and RNA interactions that occurred in the telomerase complex in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisae. Due to her research, Talley is most interested in understanding fundamental biological processes at the molecular level. She enjoys teaching an array of subjects including but not limited to molecular and cellular biology, genetics and biochemistry.

Talley entered graduate school with the goal of becoming a college professor. She is deeply interested in how students learn and how to help students learn important concepts. She also works hard to understand why students have misunderstandings of certain concepts. From these common misunderstandings, Talley tries to design lecture activities that will allow students to work with and change those misconceptions so that they might be able rebuild a better understanding of concepts.

Talley's current research centers on understanding how one's genetic background affects decision-making and may influence their health. She collaborates with other faculty to develop interdisciplinary research opportunities for students, and welcomes students who are interested in genetics and psychology.


  • Doctorate – biological sciences – Vanderbilt University
  • Bachelor’s – biology – Shorter College

Academic Interests

  • Genetics
  • Molecular biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Behavioral genetics


  • Hickory Stick Award – Best Teaching Assistant – Vanderbilt University

Professional Affiliations