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New Associate Deans Announced in the College of Life Sciences

Dean Laura Bridgewater announced the appointment of three new associate deans in the College of Life Sciences. Loreen Allphin of the Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences, Benjamin Crookston of the Department of Public Health, and Michael Stark of the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology will assume their college administrative responsibilities on October 1, 2022.

Loreen Allphin, Ben Crookston, and Mike Stark

Plant and wildlife sciences professor Loreen Allphin is a plant ecologist and conservation geneticist. She received her Ph.D. in biology with an ecology and evolution emphasis from the University of Utah and joined the BYU faculty in 1996. Her research interests include plant population and community ecology, plant reproductive ecology, and conservation genetics of rare plant populations.

Public health professor Benjamin Crookston received his Ph.D. in public health from the University of Utah in 2009 and joined the BYU faculty in 2011. He works with a variety of international institutions on program evaluation and research related to maternal and child health, poverty alleviation, and women's empowerment.

Cell biology and physiology professor Michael Stark received his Ph.D. in developmental and cell biology from UC Irvine in 1998. He has taught at BYU since 2001 and currently serves as chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology. While much of his past research focused on sensory neuron differentiation, his lab is currently researching factors involved in neural tube closure and how various biological compounds disrupt this process and cause neural tube defects.

“I am grateful to Ben, Kendra, and Mike for their willingness to take on this new responsibility,” Bridgewater said. “All three are gifted faculty members and strong leaders with unique skills and perspectives that will benefit our college.”

Allphin, Crookston, and Stark will replace the current associate deans Michael Barnes, professor of public health; Rick Jellen, professor of plant and wildlife sciences; and Susan Fullmer, professor of nutrition, dietetics, and food science.

“I express my deepest appreciation for outgoing associate deans Mike, Susan, and Rick,” Bridgewater said. “Each has served tirelessly and with an unfailing commitment to the mission and aims of BYU. Their wisdom and experience have blessed our college immeasurably.”