James Hoerter

James HoerterProfessor of Biological Sciences
Biological Sciences Department
Ferris State University ASC 3087
Big Rapids, MI 49307

231-591-2563 (voice)
231-591-2540 (fax)



Professor Hoerter has been at Ferris since 1993. Previous to Ferris he had teaching/research positions at the National Cancer Institute (Frederick Cancer Research Center), Stephens College and the University of Missouri. In 2008 he received a U.S. Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship to study adult stem cells at Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland. He is the recipient of numerous research grants from NSF and NIH, and currently has an NIH AREA to investigate the role of adult stem cells in melanoma. Professor Hoerter currently teaches Biological Concepts (Biol 103). He believes the research lab is one of the most effective ways to teach students to think as a scientist--to experiment, analyze and evaluate data, and then communicate and defend the significance of the results to the scientific community.  Undergraduate students play a vital role in his research by designing and conducting experiments, analyzing the data and contributing to publications. Students are included as co-authors on many of his research publications.                          


Ph.D. in Genetics, Pennsylvania State University

M.S. in Genetics, Pennsylvania State University

B.S. in Biology, Colorado State University


Professor Hoerter maintains an active research program with undergraduate students on the early events leading to the development of melanoma due to increased exposure to UVA (320-400 nm) and UVB (290-320 nm) radiation. Just recently (2010), he received a 3-year NIH AREA grant ($347,000) to investigate how UVA and UVB impacts damage and repair mechanisms in the melanocyte stem cell.  His research lab has provided many opportunities throughout his teaching/research career for students to experience the excitement that accompanies designing experiments and discovering new knowledge. He firmly believes that learning in a laboratory setting can be one of the most effective ways to teach biology.

The National Institutes of Environmental Health recently featured Jim Hoerter in its "Stories of Success" website as an example of how NIEHS grantees are training undergraduates in their research labs. NIEHS recently awarded additional funds for a post-baccalaureate fellow (Alexandria Casillas) to acquire research experience before entering graduate school.

Contact Information
Department of Biological Sciences
820 Campus Drive, ASC 3087
Big Rapids MI 49307
(231) 591-2563 (office)
(231) 591-2540 (fax)