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Jeff Brown - Instructional Associate

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  • Postdoc, Stanford University
  • Ph.D. Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Washington
  • B.A. Biology, Grinnell College

I grew up surrounded by nature in the small town of Wrangell, Alaska. Much of my free time was spent outdoors: on the water, in the mountains, on the rocky coast. While I was initially interested in organismal biology, I became fascinated with the mechanics of molecular biology and cell-to-cell communication in my first semester of college. I am particularly interested in cell-to-cell communication mediated by the Wnt family of secreted signaling proteins and their Frizzled receptors, especially in the context of embryo development.


J. Christopher Gaiser - Associate Dean of Faculty; Professor of Biology

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Melrose 201

Education: Ph.D., Genetics, Oregon State University, B.S., Biology, University of Washington

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Jennifer Grier - Visiting Assistant Professor

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Graf 204A


  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
  • B.S., Marquette University


Ned Knight - Adjunct Professor

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Graf 203

Education: Ph.D. in Ecology, University of California at Davis; M.S. in Fisheries, Oregon State University; 2 B.S. in Fisheries and Zoology, Oregon State University


Catherine Reinke - Associate Professor

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Murdock 212

Education: B.A., Biology and English, Carleton College; Ph.D., Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago

A devotion to the small liberal arts college experience led me to Linfield after a lifetime of learning and teaching in the Midwest. I grew up in Chicago and soon traded life in the city for life in rural Minnesota, where I attended Carleton College, a small liberal arts college in Northfield, MN. Early in my college career I became involved in independent research, and soon realized that I was enamored with life in the lab. I love the fact that everyday I get to come to work and do something that no one has ever done before to learn something new. I’m extremely motivated by the desire to share those experiences with the Linfield students I teach and mentor, and to help my students find the activities and passions that inspire their best efforts. My path to becoming a member of Linfield’s faculty has included time as a yeast cell biologist at the University of Chicago, where I learned how to watch proteins move in living cells to better understand how cells work, and time as a fruit fly geneticist at Northwestern University, where I learned how to study how organisms actually use the information in their DNA at the molecular level, which is now the focus of the work in my lab. I think that the study of biology in particular and science in general is equally fascinating and fun, even though I almost decided to pursue graduate studies in English literature instead. When not on campus I avidly pursue any opportunities to enjoy McMinnville’s proximity to the mountains and the ocean, both of which are quite novel to a Midwestern native, and I aspire to learn to kayak or kite surf before long…

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Timothy Sullivan - Instructional Associate

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Education: B.S. Biology, University of South Florida; M.S. Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee; Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee


John Syring - Associate Professor

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Murdock 206

Education: B.S. in Biology from University of Michigan; M.S. in Landscape Ecology from the University of Michigan; Ph.D. in Molecular Systematics from Oregon State University

My research focuses on understanding the process of speciation, the phylogeny (evolutionary family tree), and the population genetics of pines (Pinus), in particular the North American white pines. These eight species are ecologically and economically important, and each is threatened by a combination of native and/or non-native pathogens, as well as climate change. Reliable genetic markers (DNA sequence used to fingerprint individuals or populations) for these species, however, have yet to be developed. The lack of genetic markers hampers our ability to assess genetic diversity and population structure, and restricts our ability to focus conservation efforts. Aside from their ecological and economic importance, pines (with their exceptionally large genomes) provide an interesting and complex model to research phylogenetic methods and speciation patterns in the broad sense. To our benefit, recent genomics approaches have made the acquisition of unprecedentedly large data sets possible, even with limited budgets and limited lab time. These large data sets are providing the power to address questions of phylogeny and landscape genetics that were unanswerable five years ago. Work in my lab is both taking advantage of the emerging technology and developing novel techniques to acquire data to address my research questions. The results of our research are helping to reveal the evolutionary history of this important group of pines and providing genetic resources for their continued conservation. Specifically, current work in my lab includes: 1) Researching the population genetics of the threatened whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) by developing a set of microsatellite markers, 2) Exploring various species tree inference strategies to elucidate the phylogenetic history of the white pines, and 3) More recently, exploring the origins of polyploidy in strawberry (Fragaria). To address these questions I work with a large network of collaborators across the country and employ the whitebark army, a dedicated group of undergraduate researchers here at Linfield College. 

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Chad Tillberg - Associate Professor, Chair

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Murdock 230

Education: B.A. Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS. PhD Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. Postdoctoral Research, Department of Animal Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL.

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Cecilia Toro - Assistant Professor

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Murdock 216

Education: B.A. in Biology from Reed College; Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Brown University

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Jeremy Weisz - Associate Professor

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Murdock 211

Education: B.S. in Zoology from University of Wisconsin-Madison; Ph.D. in Marine Sciences from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Gregory Yanega - Visiting Assistant Professor

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Education: B.Sc., The Evergreen State College, 1992; Ph.D., University of Connecticut, 2007

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900 SE Baker Street
McMinnville, Oregon  97128-6894
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