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College of Life Sciences reappoints two department chairs

Michael Stark and Neil Hansen

BYU College of Life Sciences Dean James P. Porter announces the reappointment of Michael Stark as chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology (formerly, Physiology and Developmental Biology) and Neil Hansen as chair of the Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences. Both reappointments are effective July 1, 2021.

“Dr. Stark and Dr. Hansen received overwhelming support from faculty and staff for their reappointments,” Porter says. “They have served their departments well and I look forward to our continued association.”

Michael Stark

Stark earned his undergraduate degree in zoology at BYU and his master’s degree in biology at Idaho State University. He earned his PhD at the University of California, Irvine, and was a research scholar at the University of Utah for three years before coming to BYU in 2001. His research focuses on nervous system development, including neural tube defects like spina bifida.

“I still teach classes and I still run a research lab,” Stark says. “I love interacting with the students and giving them a chance to build their academic resumes.”

Neil Hansen

Hansen earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy and his master’s degree in soil science from BYU. His PhD from the University of Minnesota is also in soil science. Currently, Hansen conducts research on water conservation in agricultural ecosystems. He works on a team with international collaborators to utilize technology in the irrigation of crops like wheat, alfalfa, and potato. Hansen appreciates the support of the Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences in reappointing him as chair.

“Plant and Wildlife Sciences is a very interdisciplinary department,” Hansen says. “I hope that students in any of our academic programs can grow from both the specialization they choose, but also see the world from the academically diverse perspectives that exists in PWS.”