David Steen

David Steen

David Steen

Title: Professor Emeritus
E-mail: steen@andrews.edu


BA Biology, Southern Missionary College
MA Biology, Loma Linda University
PhD Biology, Loma Linda University


I grew up in Ethiopia as the child of medical missionaries. In a letter home dated September 11, 1949 my mother writes, "David is always picking up bugs and worms of some kind and carrying them around until they are dead.  He likes to let them crawl on his arms and hands." My memory is much clearer when it comes to the flora and fauna of the game parks of East Africa that we visited periodically and the hillsides around our simple home in Gimbie. Certainly these were formative years in planting the seeds of my love for biology.

When I was ready for high school, my parents returned to my birth place in the Smoky Mountains of Western Carolina where my high school biology teacher, Bruce Gearhart, turned me loose on several open-ended projects and where I found great joy in helping fellow classmates learn the intricacies of science - especially biology. This passion for the study of life only grew as I went on to college and graduate school. Following graduate school, I returned to my college alma mater to teach biology for twelve years. But because there were no provisions for research there, I was glad for the privilege of transferring to Andrews University in 1986. I find that the study of life provides endless opportunities for building relationships within a community of scholars and for personal growth.

Current Research or Professional Activities

I enjoyed teaching Biology at Andrews so much because of the opportunity it gave me to make new friends. The bonds of friendship forged in the classroom, the laboratory, and hallways last a lifetime. But these friendships with students and faculty are special because of the common interests we share in the study of life.

What attracted me to Andrews University was the department's balanced approach to both teaching and research. High quality teaching requires an intimate involvement with the constantly moving leading edge of what is known. And it's here at Andrews that I find both research and teaching strongly supported, recognized, and encouraged on all fronts.

As a plant biologist, my research interests have centered on plant growth and development. Most recently, these investigations have taken me into plant tissue culture - developing ways to get plant growth and development to happen in vitro where it can be observed and manipulated. Current projects include developing somatic embryogenesis protocols in Velvetleaf as one tool in developing weed control measures.