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Virtual Advisor

Phil Jensen

Contact Information

Associate Professor of Biology
B.S., Ph.D. University of Minnesota



Dr. Philip Jensen has been teaching in the Department of Biology at Rocky Mountain College since 2009. He has taught courses ranging from introductory surveys of biology for non-majors to upper-division courses covering evolution, cell biology, and developmental biology. With his colleague Dr. Mark Osterlund he also team-teaches a series of research methodology courses that are funded by the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Jensen's biology research blends molecular, developmental, and evolutionary biology in a way that is designed to be both accessible and productive for beginning researchers. His current research focuses on a family of signals that cells use to communicate during development. These cues often regulate cell growth and division, and their misregulation can result in diseases, such as cancer, in humans. All animals, from sponges to spiders to sparrows, use these signals, and scientists study them in the fruit fly because of its power as an experimental organism. Students in the Jensen lab have become particularly interested in 1) how members of this signaling family interact with one another to control growth and 2) how the signals have evolved. Dr. Jensen has also published several research papers in the field of biology education.

Dr. Jensen’s professional interests extend beyond campus. He is president of the Montana Academy of Sciences, an organization committed to furthering both scientific research and the public understanding of science statewide. He also has given several talks in a variety of academic, religious, and other community settings about biological evolution and the public’s understanding (or misunderstanding) of it. He routinely welcomes invitations to discuss these topics with audiences composed of curious and open-minded people, regardless of the setting.

Courses Taught

  • BIO 102: Introduction to Biology 
  • BIO 105: Current Biology
  • BIO 243: Introduction to Research II
  • BIO 324: Developmental Biology
  • IDS 243: Scientific Writing and Analysis