Changes in Life Sciences Faculty

Gordon Lindsay: HLTH

Dr. Gordon Lindsay was a teacher at heart. He left his first job teaching health to pursue a Ph.D. in health education and preventative medicine. After brief public health employment in Utah and Delaware, he served in BYU’s Department of Health Science for twenty-three years. Lindsay taught with stories, humor, and kindness; he was personable and genuine with everyone around him. Lindsay’s last lecture was on the powerful impact of public health. “[We need] public health people,” he said, “who know how to reduce [the] conditions that cause disease.” Public health advancements like sewage treatment, sanitation, and immunization have increased life expectancy on a large scale. Lindsay himself researched alcohol and tobacco abuse, policy, and industries. “I’m gonna miss it big time,” says Lindsay about his career, “but I am so looking forward to the next chapter in my life.” He’s returned to southern Germany, where he served his mission, to serve in the Freiberg Germany Temple with his wife, Kathleen. As family oriented as ever, he says, “When we come back, I’m going to canoe for the rest of my life with my grandkids.”

Bill Myrer: EXSC

“True education, an education that prepares us for eternity, is a noble pursuit and of immeasurable worth,” says Dr. Joseph “Bill” Myrer. He earned a B.S. in physical education from the University of Calgary, an M.S. in human kinetics from the University of Windsor, and a Ph.D. in corrective physical education and rehabilitation from BYU. However, Myrer explains that “our self-worth should not be gauged on how many degrees we have obtained.” Myrer worked as a professor at the University of New Brunswick from 1983­­­ until 1990 before teaching at BYU. During his career, he expanded the Exercise Sciences anatomy program, received numerous research grants, published dozens of articles, and presented at nearly one hundred professional meetings. Despite his own impressive career, Myrer is proudest of his students and what they have accomplished. Myrer and his wife have already enjoyed an international cruise since his retirement and are working on their mission papers. Myrer plans to use his extra time to exercise, garden, fish, visit his five children, and study the Gospel.

John Beard: HLTH

Dr. John Beard started as a BYU statistics major who yearned to make a difference.“ I [wanted to] use what I [was] learning on a real problem affecting real people,” he says. When he read that epidemiology uses statistics to determine what causes diseases, everything clicked. Beard earned his MPH at BYU, researching environmental health. His internship with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences segued into his Ph.D. research at nearby University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An applied epidemiology fellowship with the Epidemic Intelligence Service brought him to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he enjoyed the variety of projects. Now, Beard brings his experience back to BYU. He’s starting two meaningful research projects: a study of environmental risk factors for adult neurological disorders (specifically Lou Gehrig’s disease) and a study on the health effects of inversions. Family is Beard’s first priority. He’s grateful to teach at BYU so he can do what he loves and still enjoy family time.

Paul Frandsen: PWS

Dr. Paul Frandsen came to BYU as a pre-dental student but soon became involved in undergraduate research on insects. His experiences doing lab work with professors inspired him to change direction. After his B.S. in integrative biology, Frandsen earned a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in entomology instead of attending dental school. One of Frandsen’s interests is the evolutionary genomics of caddisflies, an order of aquatic insects. He enjoys traveling the world for his research and brings his wife, Christine, and their three-year-old son whenever he can. For the past few years, Frandsen has worked for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC as a data scientist. While there, he studied the genomics of insects, birds, mammals, plants, and fungi. He also taught data analysis in various museums and research centers. “I'm excited to teach young people in the classroom and hopefully inspire them to have an appreciation of science because it's made a big difference in my life,” says Frandsen. He looks forward to doing research and helping students as they navigate their university experience.

Blaine Griffen: BIO

When Dr. Blaine Griffen was a kid, he would get in trouble for running these halls. Now, like his father, he’s a BYU professor. “If you had asked me at the age of four what I wanted to do with my life, I would’ve said, ‘I’m going to be a marine biologist,’” says Griffen. He pursued his dream—after studying zoology here at BYU, he received an M.S. in marine resource management and a Ph.D. in marine ecology. He subsequently taught at the University of South Carolina for nine years before being hired by BYU. Griffen loves sharing his passion. “I try to get my students excited about the world,” he says. “They have to understand why it matters to them.” Griffen knows the power of fascination: interesting research questions motivate him to use mathematical modeling. He studies how human-caused environmental changes influence the natural populations of species such as crabs, polar bears, and elephant seals. He and his wife, Monica, have five children, and they enjoy taking trips as a family. Griffen admits, “I watch far too much football,” but makes up for it by multitasking: “The ironing gets done during football season!”

David Jarvis: PWS

When asked for just one thing that he wants students to know, Dr. David Jarvis explains, “There’s lots of good out there and it’s fun to discover.” With a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in plant sciences, Jarvis knows all about discovering the wonder in the world. He first realized his love of plants while growing up in a small farming community in Arizona. Once at BYU, he started doing research with faculty and exploring plant sciences. Jarvis graduated from BYU with a B.S. in biotechnology and an M.S. in genetics and biotechnology. Much of Jarvis’s doctoral research centered on salinity tolerance as he worked to identify genes that help plants grow better in saline soils. After completing his Ph.D., Jarvis moved to Saudi Arabia with his wife and three children to do research at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. While there, Jarvis was able to return to the quinoa research he began at BYU, and he helped develop the first high-quality genome sequence of the crop. Jarvis is happy to be back at BYU where he can work with students to “combine science and religion in an all-encompassing pursuit of truth.”

Brad Taylor: NDFS

“Before my mission, food was just fuel,” says Dr. Brad Taylor. He served in the Poland Warsaw Mission, where he learned food’s cultural significance firsthand. “Looking back,” he says, “I can see how the people that I met and the meals we shared meant so much more.” Shortly after returning, Taylor decided to major in food science at BYU, graduating cum laude. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in nutrition and food science from Utah State University. Since completing his education, Taylor has had a diverse global career working in microbiology and research and development management for the National Food Processors Association in Washington, DC; Mead Johnson Nutrition R&D in Mexico City; and, most recently, WhiteWave Foods Company in the Denver metro area. His work has ranged from researching the effect of acid levels in processing shelf-stable foods to developing nutrition products for premature infants. Taylor, his wife, and their four children enjoy visiting historical sites, exploring the great outdoors, and being involved in all things food. Taylor looks forward to sharing his expertise with students interested in global research and development career opportunities.