Our faculty, each whom hold the highest degrees in their field, are not only your professors, but your advisors - mentoring you through your entire time at Lewis, and often after. We have high expectations for our Biology degree students but will provide you with the individual attention and support structure to make sure you succeed.
Dr. Marne Bailey
B.S., Chemistry and Physics, Lewis University
Ph.D., Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois - Chicago
Dr. Marne Bailey has been on faculty as Lewis University since 2004. An alumnus of the university, Dr. Bailey emphasizes an open classroom atmosphere to increase student engagement and participation, as that is what drew her to Lewis as a student. Her research interests focus on understanding an inducible mechanism of bacterial resistance to macrolide, lincosaimide, streptogramin-B, and ketolide antibiotics (MLSBK drugs).
Dr. Bailey teaches courses such as Human Heredity, Introduction to Human Biology, and various majors and nursing laboratories. Dr. Bailey also serves as the Biology Lab Coordinator as well as Director of the Lewis University Scholars Academy. Outside the university, she enjoys running and spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Dr. William Chura
B.S., Biology, Benedictine University
Ph.D., Physiology and Biophysics, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
Dr. William Chura joined the Lewis University Biology department in the fall of 2009. Dr. Chura believes strongly in student engagement, and his primary objective is to foster an interest in the sciences and create a bridge between the information learned and the application of that information. Dr. Chura's research focuses on the role of estrogen and progesterone on Neuropeptide Y Y1 receptor expression and the interaction with estrogen receptors involved in Y1 up-regulation.
Dr. Chura teaches a wide array of courses for the department including the nursing Anatomy and Physiology sequence, Human Anatomy, General Biology, and Introduction to Human Biology, along with numerous lab classes. In his free time, Dr. Chura enjoys participating in a wide variety of athletics as well as spending time with his wife, a podiatric surgeon.
Dr. Jerry Kavouras
B.S., Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Ph.D., Biological Sciences, Marquette University
Dr. Jerry Kavouras has been a member of the Biology Department since 2005 and is an active member of the undergraduate research team. Dr. Kavouras is interested in studying the role of biofilms (microbial communities) in ecology and health related fields as well as the survival of coliform bacteria on fabrics. Dr. Kavouras's lab includes many Lewis undergraduates who, as a result of their experiences, have presented work at regional and national scientific meetings.
As Director of the Environmental Science program, Dr. Kavouras teaches courses such as General Ecology, Principles of Environmental Science and Conservation Biology. Dr. Kavouras also instructs classes for the Biology major including General Biology and Microbiology. Outside the university, Dr. Kavouras is on the editorial board for the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education.
Dr. Lisa Kozak
B.S., Biology, Loyola University - Chicago
D.D.S, Loyola University School of Dentistry
Dr. Lisa Kozak has been a member of the Biology departmental faculty since 2006. With a background in dentistry, Dr. Kozak acts as Director of the Dental Hygiene program, helping students gain their Bachelor's degree as they pursue a career as a dental hygienist. Dr. Kozak also acts as liaison between the Biology Department and the College of Nursing.
Dr. Kozak teaches primarily foundation courses for nursing students, including the Anatomy and Physiology series as well as Pathophysiology. In her free time, Dr. Kozak likes to travel with her husband and children.
Professor Jeannette Pifer
B.S., Biology, University of St. Francis
M.S., Biology, DePaul University
Jeannette Pifer has been teaching various lab courses and non-major lectures for several years at Lewis University. Prior to Lewis, Ms. Pifer was a Research Associate at Loyola University Medical Center in the Departments of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy as well as Microbiology and Immunology. While at Loyola, Professor Pifer's work focused on Cellular Immunology, Cancer Immunology as well as Immunology of aging – research interests she continues today. Like all departmental faculty, Professor Pifer's passion for science leads to her belief that learning should be a hands-on engaging process for all involved.
Professor Pifer teaches the General Biology lab sequence, Anatomy and Physiology lab sequence, and Microbiology lab for majors as well as nursing students, in addition to classes in Pathophysiology, Human Heredity and Human Biology. When she is not engaged in helping students learn, Professor Pifer enjoys an eclectic array of music, traveling and spending time with her family.
Dr. James Rago
B.S., Biology, Lewis University
Ph.D., Microbiology and Immunology, University of Minnesota
Dr. James Rago joined the Lewis University faculty in 2006. His professional training lies primarily in the realm of clinical microbiology which led to his current research interests. Dr. Rago studies the prevalence of strains of Staphylococcus aureus in various clinical settings, as well as the antibiograms and genetic properties of selected isolates. Dr. Rago also works in collaboration with faculty from the Chemistry department to assess the antimicrobial activity of silver-coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles.
Dr. Rago teaches courses for both Biology and nursing majors in the department. His course list includes Microbiology, General Biology II, Nursing Microbiology, and Human Heredity, as well as numerous lab courses. Outside the Natural Sciences, Dr. Rago enthusiastically encourages students to become more engaged in the world of politics and enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.
Dr. Jennifer Roberts
B.S., Biology, University of St. Francis
Ph.D., Medical Physiology and Biophysics, Loyola University Medical Center
Dr. Jennifer Roberts has been a member of the Biology department faculty since the fall of 1996. With a background in a clinical setting, Dr. Roberts was hired to assume the role of Director of the Pre-Health Professions programs. In this role, Dr. Roberts assists students as they apply to medical, dental, veterinary, pharmacy and other health professions programs. Dr. Roberts brings several speakers from across the professional spectrum to campus each semester and sponsors a workshop each spring to educate students about the health professions. Dr. Roberts also serves as the moderator for Tri Beta, the Biological Honor Society.
Dr. Roberts teaches the first semester majors course, General Biology I, as well as a wide variety of upper division courses, including a two semester sequence in Clinical Biochemistry, Medical Physiology (with case based learning lab), Pharmacology and Medical Ethics. Outside the university, Dr. Roberts serves on the Review Panel for the Journal of College Science Teaching. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, walking with her husband and watching her three daughters participate in sports and a wide array of extra-curricular activities.
Dr. Valerie Vander Vliet
B.A., Biology, Blackburn College
M.S., Biological Sciences, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville
M.S., Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan
Ph.D., Science Education, University of Illinois - Chicago
A member of the faculty since 1992, Dr. Valerie Vander Vliet has served as department chair for the past several years. During her tenure with the department, Dr. Vander Vliet has seen the department grow from 40 majors to over 250 - a fact she attributes to the outstanding departmental faculty. Dr. Vander Vliet's research interests include medical microbiology, immunology and science education.
Dr. Vander Vliet's course load reflects her research. She teaches Medical Microbiology, Immunology and majors' Microbiology. In addition to her teaching and responsibilities as department chair, Dr. Vander Vliet is the director of the Allied Health programs (NMT, RT, DMS, and RAD) as well as the advisor to all secondary education majors in Biology. When she is not working, Dr. Vander Vliet enjoys spending time with her family – particularly her two grandchildren.
Dr. Erin Zimmer
B.S., Biology, St. Mary's College (Notre Dame, IN)
Ph.D., Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Erin Zimmer has been an active member of the Biology faculty since 2004. Dr. Zimmer's research interests lie in the genetics of complex diseases, but have recently expanded to include genetic undergraduate education and curricular revision. Dr. Zimmer works closely with Rush University as Director of the Vascular Ultrasound, Medical Laboratory Science, Respiratory Care, and Perfusion Technology B.S. to M.S. 3+2 articulations. She also serves as chair of the Lewis University Institutional Review Board (IRB).
Dr. Zimmer teaches numerous courses in the major, including Genetics, Biostatistics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Biology of Cancer. When she is not on campus, she enjoys spending time with her husband, a research scientist/professor, and three sons.