Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology

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Dr. Jerry Honts

Marshall and Judith Flapan Professor of Biology
P
rofessor, Cell and Molecular Biology
Office Location: 210 Science Connector Building
515-271-3927
jerry.honts@drake.edu

Jerry E. Honts earned his Bachelor of Sciences degree with Honors in Zoology at the University of Iowa in 1985. After working for a year as a research assistant, he enrolled in the graduate program in Biology at the University of Iowa and received his Ph.D. in 1991. He then began post-doctoral studies at the University of Arizona in the Departments of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry. Several NIH National Research Service Awards supported his graduate and post-doctoral research training. He joined the Department of Biology at Drake University as an assistant professor in 1995 and was appointed Marshal and Judith Flapan Professor of Biology in 2023. He has occasionally served as chair of the Department of Biology.

Dr. Honts teaches courses in cell and molecular biology, including Cell Biology (BIO 165), Molecular Biology (BIO 186), Structural Biology (BIO 188), Regulatory Biology (BIO 189) and Bioinformatics (BIO/CS 116). His teaching and research employ computational methods for sequence analysis and molecular visualization, and the courses in structural biology and bioinformatics have provided Drake students with practical experience in these methods for over 25 years.

While at Drake, he has also offered elective courses on various topics ranging from cancer biology to astrobiology. He has been a guest lecturer at Des Moines University, Hebei Normal University in Shijiazhuang, China, and the College of Medicine and Health Sciences in St. Kitts. He regularly contributes courses to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Drake University. Dr. Honts received the Iowa Academy of the Sciences Distinguished Iowa Science Teacher Award in 2003.

Dr. Honts's research expertise is in the structure, function, and evolution of cytoskeletal proteins in eukaryotes. He has 21 published papers or book chapters in PubMed and has given over 90 presentations at regional, national, or international conferences in the United States and Europe. NASA and the National Science Foundation have funded his research. He is currently part of an NSF-funded collaborative research project spanning six institutions, entitled "Understanding and controlling force generation by a centrin-based contractile system." He was in the first class of fellows inducted into the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine FUTURE program. He is an active member of the American Society for Cell Biology and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Dr. Honts currently hosts 6 to 8 Drake research students in his research laboratory, supported by the National Science Foundation and as Marshall and Judith Flapan Professor of Biology. Former undergraduate research students have co-authored papers and presentations, and many of his former students have had highly successful careers as physicians and life sciences faculty.

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