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I am a biology professor and interim dean with interests in graduate education, developmental neurobiology, student-centered instruction, and curriculum design.
My research is focused on the genetic and molecular pathways controlling neuronal remodeling during insect metamorphosis. The goal is to understand when and how mature neurons respond to insulin, steroids, and other cues to reactivate and execute growth processes that are usually seen only in the embryo. I have taught undergraduate courses in Cell Biology and Cell/Molecular Neurobiology, and as department chair, I recently led efforts to update our introductory biology courses and engage all biology majors in research as sophomores as a formal part of the curriculum. I also directed a strategic planning process that is now guiding the next several faculty hires within two complementary areas of research strength and future opportunity in the biology department: geographic ecology and the biology of behavior. In my university leadership and service roles—which have included chairing the Faculty Senate, service on the Admissions and Employee Benefits Committees and the President’s Graduation and Retention Task Force, three years as Faculty-in-Residence, and my current position in the Graduate College—I seek to advance the university academic agenda and to improve professional support and career opportunities for students, faculty, and staff.
Mature neurons display major changes in structure and function during learning, puberty, and seasonal reproduction, and following injury and neurodegenerative disease. The mechanisms underlying these adaptive changes are poorly understood.
My lab is investigating the genetic and molecular pathways controlling neuronal remodeling during insect metamorphosis. Our goal is to understand when and how mature neurons respond to insulin, steroids, and other cues to reactivate and execute growth processes that are usually seen only in the embryo.
Recently, as chair of the Department of Biology (2011-2015), I directed multiple curriculum redesign efforts. These initiatives started with work to redesign our largest introductory biology lecture and lab courses (BIOL 1114/1121), which are taken by >1200 students each year. In addition, we introduced a sophomore-level course called Cornerstone (which I co-taught in Spring 2016 and am offering again in Fall 2017), with the goal of engaging students in research early within the regular undergraduate curriculum. I formed a Biology Curriculum Task Force, consisting of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and advising staff, which has proposed additional actions, such as a set of defined learning objectives for the biology major that were adopted by the faculty in spring 2014. Through these efforts, I have sought to promote transformational changes in undergraduate biology education at OU.
Cornerstone: Mutants and Metamorphosis (BIOL 4970)
Principles of Cell Biology (BIOL/PBIO/MBIO 3113)
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (BIOL 4223/5223)
Introductory Zoology Lab (BIOL 1121 - Coordinator)
2007 Kinney-Sugg Outstanding Professor, College of Arts and Sciences
Project Director (Co-PI), Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) training grant 2012-15
5 Ph.D. students and 54 undergraduate research assistants sponsored 2001-present
Current members of the Hewes lab
Insulin regulation of neuronal growth
Honors Undergraduate research
If you are interested in learning more about research in the Hewes lab, you can contact us here. This form will send an email to Randy Hewes.
This is us, drop by sometime.