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Elizabeth Dobbins

Elizabeth G. Dobbins

Paul N. Propst Professor of Natural Sciences

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  • B.A., Auburn University
  • M.S., University of California, Los Angeles
  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles


Dr. Dobbins has always been fascinated by the natural world. After graduating from Auburn University, she earned a master's degree in exercise physiology (respiration and SCUBA) and a Ph.D. in physiological science (neural control of respiration) from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her post-doctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology explored the development of the neural substrate that underlies hearing, specifically the connections between the cochlea and the brain stem cochlear nuclei in chickens.

Dr. Dobbins continues her interest in development by teaching embryology.She also teaches neuroscience, bioinformatics, human physiology and foundationsof biology. Intrigued by the interactions between science and the humanities, she teaches scientific inquiry in the University Fellows program.

Focusing on the relationship of humans to the natural world, Dr. Dobbins and her students use small bottom-dwelling macroinvertebrates (insects and worms) toexplore the impacts of urban development on the water quality in local creeks and rivers. In addition, she runs a cell culture laboratory to evaluate native plants for bioactive chemicals (terpenoids) that reduce cancer cell growth in cultured cells.

Deeply committed to environmental health, Dr. Dobbins sponsors student research projects in Five Mile Creek and Shades Creek in the Birmingham area.She is the coordinator for Samford's Earth Day, a member of the Executive Board of the Cahaba River Society, secretary of the board of the Friends of Shades Creek, and a member of the Black Warrior Riverkeeper Advisory Council.  

While at Samford, Dr. Dobbins has garnered several teaching awards,including the John H. Buchanan Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching(2008).

Currently, Dr. Dobbins is co-PI on the NSF sponsored Samford REU, “Interdisciplinary research in a diverse Appalachian ridge and valley ecosystem.”

Contact Information

Howard College of Arts and Sciences


Samford University
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229

Office: PROPST 117

Phone: (205) 726-2937

Fax: (205) 726-2479