Dr. Dennis Minchella

Dr. Minchella lecturing to a biology class (Source: Purdue Dept. of Biological Sciences)

Department: Biological Sciences

Job Title: Professor and Associate Dean for College of Science

What was your path of study?

I earned two degrees as an undergraduate – in Geology and Biology, and then went on to earn a Ph.D. in Biology at Purdue!

What research are you currently involved in?

The research in my lab focuses on the population biology, evolution and genetics of host-parasite interactions using both molecular biology and experimental field approaches.

What has been your favorite research project?

Dozens of undergraduate students have been mentored and completed honors projects in my research laboratory.  It is especially rewarding when their projects lead to a publication.  Fourteen papers from the laboratory have been co-authored by undergraduates.

What are your words of advice for undergraduate students?

First-year students first need to learn how to manage their time.  There are many activities on campus, but it is important for them to dedicate time that is focused on coursework.

Once students have mastered time management, they need to diversify their interests and take advantage of experiential learning opportunities. The College of Science offers the Learning Beyond the Classroom program that encourages students to engage in activities that provide hands-on experience and opportunities to apply classroom knowledge in the real world.  It is important that students expand their skill sets and develop into well-rounded global citizens. 

Describe your teaching style.

I have taught introductory biology to over 15,000 first-year students, so I try to set the stage for student success.  I challenge students and nurture their academic growth by creating an environment that encourages students to pursue academic excellence and supports them in their endeavors.  My students are not fortunate enough to be in a low enrollment course, but I try to make them feel like they are.  Enthusiasm and passion for biology combined with caring support helps students engage in learning and meet the challenges.