Dr. James Bedard joined UFV’s Biology Department in Fall 2012.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB.
Where did you go to school?
I completed both undergrad and doctoral studies at the University of Manitoba in the department of Microbiology.
What brought you to the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV)?
I was looking to come back to Canada after working in the United States and also wanted to continue teaching at an undergraduate university. UFV was an exciting opportunity that allowed me to do both.
What is your role within your department?
I am a full-time faculty member in Biology and I see my role first and foremost as a teacher and undergraduate educator. I am grateful that with this role I can also spend time on my research and service interests.
Tell us about some of the people you’ve worked with here at UFV.
I am fortunate to be part of a wonderful department. My fellow biology faculty and staff are amazing individuals who provide an easy-going and collaborative working atmosphere.
Did you always know that you wanted to teach?
No, my first teaching experiences were during graduate school. At the University of Manitoba I had the opportunity to teach many different Microbiology labs (200-400-level), plus some lecturing for general biology, and a semester of introductory microbiology. Upon receiving my doctorate, I left Canada to pursue post-doctoral fellowships in biomedical research in the United States, and after several years I recognized how much I missed teaching in the classroom. Soon thereafter I accepted an Assistant Professor position in Colorado that, similar to UFV, focused on teaching but also allowed me to pursue various research projects.
Can you tell us a little bit about the courses that you teach and perhaps if you have a favorite?
I’ve taught a variety of courses at UFV and at other institutions, including general biology, cellular biology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, genomics, developmental biology, immunology, among others. I generally enjoy all courses I teach, but if I had to choose only one, it would be genomics.
What are the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of your job?
The students are both the most challenging and rewarding aspects of my job. Challenging in that most students have different learning styles and it is never possible to meet all styles at any one given time. Rewarding in that I get to have a number of these students in multiple classes during their undergraduate experiences and get to see them develop and mature into knowledgeable biologists.
Are you involved in any research? If so, please provide us with a few details.
I am currently involved in multiple research projects. My main research involves analyzing Drosophila (fruit fly) species genomic DNA sequences. I am also involved in various other research centering on human genetics applications, such as a study of genetics education with nursing undergraduate students, a study on genetic conditions and the effect they have on personal insurability, and a study on the translation of new genetic techniques to improve patient outcomes.
During my graduate studies I spent three months at the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures in Delft, Netherlands. There I learned how to isolate, grow, and identify various fungus-like organisms, from a worldwide expert in the field. I also extracted genomic DNA from dozens of different species to bring back to Canada for my own research, as well as for my Ph.D. advisor and the other lab members in our research group.
Contact James: ufv.ca/biology/contact-us/faculty/bedard-james.htm
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Faculty of Science.