by Miriam Sweeney


Merrill Christensen

Merrill Christensen

Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science Department Chair

Dr. Merrill Christensen left his home in Eugene, Oregon to earn a BYU bachelor’s degree in nutrition with a minor in chemistry. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism. He joined BYU’s Food Science and Nutrition department (now the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, & Food Science) in 1982. He was on a sabbatical from June 1987 to December 1988, during which he was a visiting assistant professor at the McCardle Lab for Cancer Research. From this position stemmed the opportunity to serve with the National Cancer Institute, which he did for five years while continuing to teach at BYU. He was a member of the BYU Cancer Research Center (now known as the Simmons Center for Cancer Research) since its founding and was appointed director of the same in the fall of 2013. He has been the chair of the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics & Food Science since July 15, 2016. He is “excited about increasing the collaborative efforts of this department with others in the college; the potential for interdepartmental collaboration is very high. It’ll take a little bit of effort, but those who’ve been here for a while have found that good collaborators are not hard to find here.”

Allen Parcell

Allen Parcell

Department of Exercise Sciences Department Chair

As an exercise physiologist, Allen Parcell has chosen to focus his career on understanding muscular dystrophy. He researched the structural protein and skeletal muscle and has been investigating how muscles regenerate themselves. He and his fellow researchers would like to determine how healthy muscle responds to damage. Parcell grew up in Illinois and Iowa and got his undergraduate degree from BYU in 1993. He got his Ph.D. in human bioenergetics from Ball State University in 1998. He and his family just returned from a sabbatical at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where they had lived for a year. His “research takes up a lot of [his] thought processes,” but when he has time, Parcell races mountain bikes. He is looking forward to this new appointment.


Jeanne Blackburn

Jeanne Gubler Blackburn

Jeanne Gubler Blackburn started her BYU career as a freshman and a recent convert to the Church. It took her 10 years to complete her bachelor’s degree as she balanced education, work, and parenting as a single mother. She then earned her M.S. in academic advising from Kansas State University. As secretary of the Zoology department and, later, of the Biology Major office in 2003, she worked with a determination to allow students to feel comfortable in BYU’s large and potentially daunting campus and performed the duties of a steward with care. She then became the office supervisor/administrator for Student Services in 2007. She worked for 13 years to help orient Life Sciences students and give them a safe haven. Jeanne married John L. Blackburn in February 2016 and retired after 22 years of service.

Larry St. Clair

Larry St. Clair

Larry St. Clair received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in botany from BYU and his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. As a professor of biology, he served as chair of the Biology Department for five years and the director of the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum for 10 years. He also served as the curator of the Herbarium of Nonvascular Cryptogams—which houses more than 100,000 lichen, bryophyte and algal specimens—for 35 years. He served as the president of the American Bryological and Lichenological Society. His research has focused on the use of lichens as bio-indicators of air quality and the reclamation of biological soil crust communities. He has published more than 100 peer reviewed journal articles and technical reports. He retired on August 31, 2016.

Barbra Lockhart

Barbara Lockhart

Barbara Lockhart returned to BYU in 1991 after having completed her doctoral work in 1971. In the interim she served in faculty/administrative positions at Temple University and the University of Iowa. Lockhart enjoyed serving as BYU’s Faculty Athletics Representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Her deftness in meeting the challenges of this responsibility was enhanced by her experience as an Olympian—she did long track speed skating for the USA—and her experience as being president of two of her national professional organizations. Lockhart loved researching and teaching gospel truths to students in a major core course—Philosophical And Ethical Issues in Exercise Sciences—and a GE course, the Science of Wellness. Many of her books and articles reflect her love of these truths. She served on the Relief Society General Board from 2002 to 2007 and is currently a Primary chorister and temple ordinance worker. She retired on July 31, 2016.

Richard Terry

Richard E. Terry

Richard E. Terry received his B.S. degree in agronomy from BYU in 1972. He conducted graduate work in soil biochemistry at Purdue University. He completed both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Purdue. He was an assistant professor of soil biochemistry at the University of Florida Everglades Experiment Station located at Belle Glade from 1977 through 1980. Terry joined the faculty of the Agronomy and Horticulture department at BYU in 1980 as an associate professor of soil science. He served as chair of that department from 1989 through 1998. Terry remains busy in the laboratory finishing up research on the soil chemical residues of agricultural and marketing activities of the ancient Maya. He retired on June 30, 2016 after 36 years of service at BYU.