Associate Professor of Biology
Ph. D., Kansas State University
M.S., Kansas State University
B.A., Tabor College
Dr. Joel Funk came to John Brown University in 2009 as an Assistant Professor of Biology. Dr. Funk teaches courses including Biological Science, Ecology, Plant Biology, and Microbiology.
Dr. Funk's research is on how lung cells respond to infection by a coronavirus. Most respiratory coronaviruses infect the upper respiratory system, but my research has shown that they can also infect white blood cells that reside in the lung, alveolar macrophages. When these macrophages become infected they produce biochemical signals (cytokines) that aid in the immune response to a viral infection.
Biology caught Dr. Funk's interest because Biology is an almost endless frontier where the ability to discover is only limited by one's creativity. New technological advances have enhanced the ability of scientists to make huge strides in our understanding of the natural world. For example, in the area of microbiology, new DNA sequencing techniques have accelerated our ability to sequence genomes faster than ever before. This information can then in turn be used to discover new approaches to combating medical pathogens.
If he were not teaching at JBU, Dr. Funk would be interested in working for a Christian international development organization. His goal would be to use my scientific background to solve basic needs (food, clean water, shelter) that confront people in many parts of the world.