Campbell First Prof From Undergraduate Institution Elected to ASCB Leadership Post

Malcolm Campbell and Martin Chalfi

Biology Professor and Director of Davidson’s Martin Genomics Program Malcolm Campbell, with Columbia Biology Professor and President of the American Society for Cell Biology Martin Chalfie, a Nobel laureate, during Chalfie's visit to Davidson College in 2015.

Malcolm Campbell, biology professor and director of Davidson’s Martin Genomics Program, now plays a leadership role in the global study of cell biology.

Campbell was elected treasurer, the No. 2 post, in the American Society for Cell Biology. He is the first faculty member, not just from Davidson, but from any undergraduate institution to serve on the executive council for the organization. The society provides national leadership in science policy and in science advocacy in Washington—a critical need right now. The organization also leads in global research and policy, with a quarter of its members outside the United States. Its newly elected president, Columbia Biology Professor Martin Chalfie, is a Nobel laureate, who visited Davidson at Campbell’s request in 2015.

Campbell founded the James G. Martin Genomics Program at Davidson, and his influence already extended well beyond campus. He teamed up with Mathematics Professor Laurie Heyer and Environmental Studies Professor Chris Paradise to write a textbook now used in high schools and colleges across the country that upended conventional teaching of biology. Traditional textbooks present information for students to digest and then repeat on a test. Campbell’s book presents each topic as a question and offers data sets so student can do what scientists do—analyze, interpret and reach a conclusion.

A Michigan State professor who uses the book saw a dramatic rise in students Medical College Admission Test scores. The National Association of Biology Teachers presented Campbell with its highest teaching honor two years ago.

Campbell’s election to the national post also helps put Davidson in a position of unprecedented national leadership in the sciences and across all academic professional organizations. Last year, R. Stuart Dickson Professor of Psychology Julio Ramirez was voted treasurer-elect for the Society for Neuroscience, the world’s largest and most prestigious organization representing the interests of neuroscientists.  He is only the second professor from a liberal arts college to hold a leadership post in the group’s 50-year history. Gerardo Marti, professor and chair of sociology, recently was elected president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, an international organization that publishes the leading journal in the field.


  • May 26, 2020