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About Us: Our Faculty

David DeHeer, Professor, Biology

David DeHeer616-526-6083
Devries Hall 101

Weekly Schedule
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B.S. in Zoology, University of Arizona, 1968
Ph.D. in Immunology, University of Arizona, 1972
Postodoctoral Fellowship in Department of Experimental Pathology, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, CA, 1972-1976

Professional Experience

Courses taught:

–Cell Biology and Genetics (Biology 141) – an introductory courses for biology majors, biotechnology majors, nursing students
–Cell Culture (Biology 334) – a course in which students study the theory and practice of in vitro culture and cloning of animal and plant cells; required for biotechnology majors, an elective for biology majors
–Investigations in Inflammation (Biology 354) – an elective course for biology majors; features student-initiated research into biology of macrophages and other cool cells that participate in inflammatory reactions

Research and Professional Interests

The biologic response to implanted artificial joints. Artificial joints, like all moving materials, produce microscopic wear debris that is internalized by synovial macrophages in an attempt to eliminate the debris.  These macrophages secrete many chemicals that trigger inflammation (swelling, pain) and ultimately activate another cell, osteoclasts, to resorb bone around the implant.  Bone loss eventually loosens the implant, causing it to fail. The macrophage is the key cell in this process.  We are trying to identify the mechanisms by which it responds to wear debris so we can tell the cells how to “ignore” the wear debris. 

Research goals
  • help students participate in real research using sophisticated, contemporary equipment
  • help students learn about careers in science and medicine
  • work with students, faculty, off-campus scientists and physicians to investigate an important biomedical problem, i.e., implant failure
Research features
  • student participants—more than 70 since 1990; students often are coauthors on professional publications in peer-reviewed scientific or medical publications
  • often includes other faculty who work with students as a team on comprehensive projects all related to implant failure
  • involves macrophages, his very favorite cell in the entire world  

Life Outside of Calvin College

Dr. DeHeer also works with the Kent County Associated for the Gifted and Talented to plan and offer summer and academic-year science camps for gifted middle-school children. He also loves cats and enjoys woodworking, especially making children’s toys and furniture. He is a member of LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, where he serves on the Foundations Committee (plans adult education program) and the Henry Beets Mission Society (raises and distributes funds for non-Christian-Reformed mission causes).

See a partial list of Dr. DeHeer's publications