With the retirement of Hillsdale’s Pro­fessor of Biology Bob Miller this past spring, Sang-Chul Nam has been hired as new asso­ciate pro­fessor of biology, teaching Biology 101 and Devel­op­mental Biology this semester.

After a process involving the weighing of many can­di­dates, Pro­fessor of Biology David Houghton said that Nam is “one of the most qual­ified people ever hired” in Hillsdale’s science department.

Nam’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions include his prior teaching expe­rience, where he spent the last 12 years between working as an asso­ciate pro­fessor for seven years at Baylor Uni­versity and five years at Texas A&M Uni­versity.

Before coming to America, Nam grew up and studied in South Korea. He studied agri­cul­tural chem­istry for four years at Seoul National Uni­versity, then pursued biology at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Tech­nology. Both uni­ver­sities were large research-based insti­tu­tions, with between 10,000 and 30,000 stu­dents.

Nam was prompted to leave his back­ground at larger uni­ver­sities because he wanted the oppor­tunity to connect with stu­dents on a deeper level, made pos­sible by Hillsdale’s small liberal-arts envi­ronment.

One key factor in the search was finding a pro­fessor who could enrich the biology department with a strong back­ground in research.

With a list of skills and expertise including expe­rience using immuno­his­to­chem­istry and immuno­flu­o­res­cence tech­niques, Nam has taken on some very unique research projects.

His current project examines how genetics play a role in fruit-fly eye devel­opment.

He described his research as an inte­gration of two kinds of genetic mix­tures, which he then tested on flies to observe the changes in eye devel­opment. Genetic manip­u­lation has “incredible potential for the future,” Nam said.

The prac­tical impli­ca­tions and pos­si­bil­ities of this type of research are seem­ingly endless.

Nam said his end goal is to uncover more infor­mation on organ devel­opment, which could unlock many doors to the study of genetics in animals.

Though it’s early in the aca­demic year, stu­dents taking Nam’s Biology 101 class already commend his teaching style and gentle per­son­ality.

Freshman Anayia Veremis said her first impression of Nam was that he is “very serious about his studies in biology and cares a lot about the content of his class.” She noted he has men­tioned his research on fruit flies in class, planning to dive deeper into the subject once an under­standing of basic terms is estab­lished among the stu­dents.

Stu­dents taking Nam’s biology courses can expect to learn applicable infor­mation in his lec­tures. For instance, stu­dents who are inter­ested in medical or research pro­fes­sions may gain insight into what sci­en­tific research and exper­i­men­tation entail, instead of simply learning facts and mem­o­rizing dia­grams.

Nam said he tends to inte­grate his research into these lec­tures so he can provide real-world examples for his stu­dents. While he tries to follow a more textbook-based cur­riculum, he also likes to keep stu­dents engaged and thinking ahead.

Nam also said he is still con­stantly learning new ways to approach course material.

Nam takes time to reflect on and adjust his own actions, learning from his mis­takes and tri­umphs every year.

“My primary goal is always to con­tinue improving myself and the expe­rience of my stu­dents. I want to become a better teacher, researcher, and scholar every year,” Nam said.