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Jim Colbert in the Boundary Waters

Dr. James T Colbert

  • Professor Emeritus
I grew up in eastern Iowa (Cedar Rapids) and graduated from Iowa State with a B.S. in Biology in 1978.  After seven years in graduate school (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and three years as an Assistant Professor at Colorado State University, I returned to Iowa State as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Botany.  My early research focused on cell biology and molecular biology in plants - especially on light regulated gene expression in plants.  Several years after I was promoted to Associate Professor, I decided to shift my primary focus to undergraduate education.  In that context I regularly teach Principles of Biology I (Biology 211), oversee and do teaching assistant training for the Biology 211L lab course, interact with students in our Biology Learning Community (BEST), the Skunk River Navy, orientation courses (Biology 110 and Biology 112), the Biological Sciences Club, and leading Biology field trip classes (Biology 393) in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area during each of the past 15 years.  I have served as the Director of the Undergraduate Biology Program since 2005.  My current research interests include evolution education, biodiversity education, and Iowa lichen diversity. Related to my interests in lichen diversity, I teach an upper level course in bryophyte and lichen biodiversity (Biology 455/EEOB 555) and provide students with opportunities to earn academic credit (Biology 499) for assisting with various aspects of my Iowa lichen research.

Contact Info

113 Bessey


  • B.S., Biology, Iowa State University, 1978
  • M.S., Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1981
  • Ph.D., Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1985

Interdepartmental Programs