Waldorf College Welcomes New Faculty Member

Jessica McBride
9/22/2010
 

Gary Coombs recently joined the faculty at Waldorf College, a four-year liberal arts college in Forest City, Iowa. He will teach freshman majors biology, biochemistry, a senior seminar in the fall and genetics and developmental biology during the spring.

“I am interested in developing my teaching skills in order to play a larger role in guiding the careers and aspirations of new scientists,” Coombs said. His past experience includes teaching reading and writing skills as an undergraduate student and mentoring graduate students in both studies and research. He also taught a course on metastasis at the University of Utah.

Coombs, 43, holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a doctorate degree in molecular biophysics from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Coombs, who hails from Colorado Springs, Colo., is moving to Waldorf after working three years as a senior research fellow in the lab of Dr. David Virshup, director of the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology program at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore.” I have never lived in the Midwest, but I like small communities. I also liked the idea of beginning a teaching career with class sizes that don’t require an auditorium,” he added.

Coombs is married with two sons. He looks forward to enjoying canoeing and other outdoor activities in and around Forest City.

As for teaching, “I hope to become proficient as quickly as possible at teaching, and have the time and energy to build an undergraduate driven research program focusing initially on Wnt signaling and iron metabolism,” Coombs said. Wnt signaling refers to a network of protein hormones which act as “morphogens” or determinants of body shape and size during pre- and post-natal development.

Coombs’ interest in biology stems from accomplishments and teaching skills of the professor who taught my freshman biology course at BYU. “He developed live culture vaccines for bacterial pneumonia in domestic turkeys, and taught the processes of inflammation in several lectures focused on the life cycle of the zit. I remain interested because I am always learning something new,” Coombs explained.

Located in Forest City, Iowa, Waldorf is a four-year, liberal arts college that delivers engaging experiences through innovative classroom instruction. The college offers residential and online bachelor’s degree programs including business, communication, music, psychology, theater, education, fire science administration, criminal justice administration and more.