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Welcome to the Biology Department

Math and Science at Samford

Samford University is true to its mission of nurturing persons and offering learning experiences and relationships in a Christian community. Our faculty in biology are committed to these goals within the setting of the liberal arts environment of the Howard College of Arts and Sciences. Students pursue careers in medicine, teaching, research, dentistry, field biology, optometry, marine biology, veterinary medicine, environmental science, and health-related professions.

Whether you are interested in the ecology of the Amazon rainforest, the biodiversity of East Africa, the wonders of field zoology, the excitement of exploring Europe through our London Center, the secrets of modern cell and molecular biology, the stewardship of the environment, the fascination of the medicinal value of plants, or the marvels of the human body, the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences will offer you rich opportunities to develop your interests. I am convinced that Samford is a place where you can identify and cultivate your gifts and talents.

Dr. Ronald N. Hunsinger
Professor and Chair, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences



Biological and Environmental Sciences Chair Named a Fellow in the Alabama Academy of Science

Dr. Ronald N. Hunsinger, Chair of the Biological and Environmental Sciences Department at Samford, was inducted as a Fellow in the Alabama Academy of Science in March at the Annual Meeting of the Academy at Auburn University. The award is given to scientists in Alabama based upon their meritorious service to the Academy and upon their outstanding career as a scientist. Dr. Hunsinger received his B.S. and M.S. in biology and physiology from Mississippi State University. He then earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology/toxicology from the University of Mississippi. Upon completion of his doctorate, he came to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School to pursue research in clinical biochemistry as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Cystic Fibrosis Core. Following that, he joined the faculty in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, as an Assistant Professor.
Dr. Hunsinger quickly rose to the rank of Full Professor with tenure. This year, he is completing his 30th year of service at Samford. For the past 12 years he has been the Chair of the Department. His leadership as an academician, researcher and administrator has been much appreciated within the department and Samford. His scholarship efforts have led to publications in journals such as Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, Psychopharmacology, The Journal of Ophthalmology and The Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. Along with these accomplishments, he has made numerous presentations at state, regional and national scientific meetings. During his tenure at Samford, he has taught an array of biomedical courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels including a cadaver-based Human Gross Anatomy, Medical Physiology, Histology, Basic Pathology, Toxicology and Risk Analysis.

At Samford, he established the Graduate Program in Environmental Management, which he directs, and the Vulcan Materials Center for Environmental Stewardship and Education, for which he is the Executive Director. During his time serving in the latter two capacities, he has successfully attracted significant funding for corporate and private support for the programs. Besides the Alabama Academy of Science, Dr. Hunsinger is a member of the American Association of Anatomists, the National Society of Histotechnologists and The Society of Toxicologic Pathology. His current research efforts are directed toward an understanding of the human neurodegenerative condition of Rett Syndrome. He leads a team at Samford that collaborates with the Department of Neurobiology at The University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School to do neuropathological and behavioral assessments in mice that have been mutated to mimic the human condition of Rett’s. The efficacy of various plant extracts in improving hippocampal learning and dendritic arboration in the mice model are the focus of the research. He has served the Alabama Academy of Science as first and second Vice President and was the immediate past President of the Academy (2012-2013). During his time as vice-president and president of the Alabama Academy of Science, he worked tirelessly to provide leadership and expertise to strengthen the Academy. He and his wife, Lillian, live in Leeds, the eastern-most suburb of Birmingham. Besides his work, Ron enjoys music and choral conducting. He is the choral director for the Leeds Community Chorus, which is part of the Leeds Arts Council. He and Lillian have one daughter, Ivy (husband Richard) Bishop and two grandsons, Tripp and Jackson, ages 9 and 6.


Photo: Dr. Hunsinger with colleagues during a coffee break at the Alabama Academy of Science meeting. Left to right, Dr. Henry Glotfelty (Professor of Physics), Dr. Hunsinger, Dr. Larry Davenport (Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences) and Dr. Mike Howell (Professor Emeritus, Biological and Environmental Sciences).