Experts on "Biological Sciences"

Wendy Billock

  • Department Chair, Biological Sciences
  • Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

After working five years in biotechnology, Wendy spent ten years as an outdoor education instructor and administrator at a Christian camp in San Diego.  She received her M.S. in biology from the Institute for Creation Research, and recently, her Ph.D. from Loma Linda University.  Her research in behavioral ecology has included work with both primates and hermit crabs.  She has spoken at international marine biology conferences and published articles on hermit crab behavior.  Wendy also co-authored a marine biology book for elementary school children in Fiji.  She serves the Christian community in a variety of areas, including: children’s ministry; church website development; worship team audio-visual support; and short-term missions trips.  Wendy also serves on the board of a prison ministry that helps parolees transition to a productive life through mentorship.

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Ruth E. Ebeling

  • Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

Ruth has a broad background in the basic sciences but she specializes in the Anatomical Sciences with an emphasis on human anatomy. As she sometimes says, her specialty is people with their skin off. She also has a strong interest in the brain and teaches the Neurobiology class.

Ruth has taught many places besides Biola, among them was Cleveland Chiropractic College, Los Angeles. As a result of teaching there, she was part of the General Anatomy section of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners Exam Writing Committee for five years. Ruth has also spoken to many Creation Science groups on a wide variety of topics.

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Akiko Kobayashi

  • Associate Professor of Nursing

Akiko Kobayashi was licensed as a nurse, and worked as an RN in Japan prior to coming to the United States. Her clinical background in the United States is varied, including coronary care, cardiac surgery critical care, respiratory care, home health and utilization review/case management. During an immunology course in her MSN program, she developed interest in immune responses in cancer development. She had rich experience in biomedical research focusing on mucosal immune responses in cervical carcinogenesis prior to coming to Biola University in 2009.

Her publications in peer reviewed scientific journals include Evolving immunosuppressive microenvironment during human cervical carcinogenesis, Functional attributes of cervical mucosal immunity in high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions and effects of HIV infection, Lymphoid follicles are generated in high-grade cervical dysplasia and have differing characteristics depending on HIV status and Recent development in understanding the immune response to human papillomavirus infection and cervical dysplasia. She has spoken at multiple international scientific meetings. She has also been translating InterVarsity Press’ Bible study textbooks into Japanese for Japanese Christians in her mother church in San Lorenzo, California.

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Hyuna Lee

  • Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Hyuna Lee had the unique privilege to live in three distinct cultures. She was born in Korea, but raised in Paraguay for 15 years as missionary kid and moved to the United States during high school. Her multicultural experience allowed her to understand students coming from diverse communities and cultures. Lee has investigated mitochondrial axonal transport using microfluidic platform, zebrafish regeneration properties, and in vivo dopamine d2 receptor studies in mice. Her desire is to foster a passion for science in the students at Biola to raise them to be influential leaders in their future scientific careers that brings countless souls to Christ. Lee is currently serving as a Christian radio co-host interviewing the lives of pastors’ and missionaries’ kids, she is on the executive committee for raising scholarships for missionary kids, and she greatly enjoys serving as a Kindergarten Pastor. Through Lee’s active history of teaching combined with years of biological research and working with diverse individuals, she is thrilled to contribute to Biola University’s vision to equip students with a strong basic science education centered on Christ.

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Raphael R Payne

  • Emeritus Professor of Biology

Rafe Payne, Professor Emeritus of Biology, is passionate about creation care, and considers himself to be an “old fashioned naturalist." He has served as a shipboard naturalist on more than 20 natural history cruises. He also participated in 25 oceanographic expeditions collecting Monogenoidea (parasitic worms) from the gills and skin of marine fishes. Payne has authored or co-authored scientific papers describing 11 new species of Monogenoidea and has served as a manuscript reviewer for the Journal of Comparative Parasitology. Payne’s teaching interests are broadly organismal. He regularly taught marine biology, general ecology, parasitology, marine mammals and ornithology. He developed and taught the Biola - Baja program offered during interterm for 31 years. He currently teaches parasitology, general ecology and the natural history of marine mammals as an adjunct professor at Biola.

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Jason Tresser

  • Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

Jason Tresser received his B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of California, San Diego. He received an M.A. with a concentration in Christian Apologetics from Biola University before completing his Ph.D. in Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His doctoral dissertation focused on the genetics of neural development as well as larval behavior and metamorphosis in the ascidian Ciona savignyi. Tresser taught as an adjunct instructor at Westmont College before joining the faculty at Biola University. Tresser is continuing his research on the development and behavior of the ascidian larva with students at Biola. Additionally, Tresser coordinates the Biola Organic Garden. Students interested in botany, horticulture and ecology are involved in growing produce in an organic and sustainable manner on Biola’s campus. Tresser, his wife Kim and their three girls are actively involved at Grace EV Free Church in La Mirada.

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Behzad Varamini

  • Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
  • Director, Stewart Science Honors Program

Behzad Varamini grew up in frigid Wisconsin before moving to the east coast, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology from Elizabethtown College. After an eye-opening internship at the National Cancer Institute, where he studied nutrition and colon cancer, he became interested in how nutrients regulate genes and modulate disease.

As a result, he pursued further study at Cornell University, focusing on omega-3 fatty acids and the brain. Varamini earned his Ph.D. from Cornell in Nutritional Science with minors in Biochemistry and Food Science. After graduate school, he pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Pennsylvania as an IRACDA PennPORT fellow, a unique NIH-sponsored training program focused on preparing excellent research and teaching faculty. Varamini’s postdoctoral work focused on studying the foundational molecular signaling mechanisms that lead to aging, and how modifying a family of genes called Sirtuins can potentially slow the aging process and provide health benefits. While in the laboratory, Varamini took classes on teaching and curriculum development and served as an adjunct faculty at several nearby universities and colleges. This experience cemented his passion for combining a vibrant research program with exceptional teaching.

At Biola University, Varamini incorporates current clinical case studies and cutting-edge research into his physiology, biochemistry, and nutrition courses, while also working closely with a small group of students in his laboratory. His research at Biola University is focused on the effects of diet on aging, molecular markers of the brain, and sleep/activity levels in Drosophila melanogaster. He is passionate about challenging and mentoring students to reach their truest and highest potential, and the aim of all his work in and out of the classroom is the long-term success of his students. Varamini lives in Los Angeles with his wife, and remains surprised at the lack of seasons and abundance of traffic in Southern California.

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