March 05, 2012

Focus on science

Faculty-student collaboration leads to innovation in the classroom and beyond.

At Lewis & Clark, our award-winning professors are constantly exploring new ways to collaborate with students, whether on spider collecting trips or in the pages of national journals. Meet some of our science faculty and learn how their partnerships with students are inspiring tomorrow’s innovations.


Kellar Autumn

Professor of Biology

What makes geckos stick? Asking this simple question, Kellar Autumn has made discoveries about adhesion that have widespread implications. The result of nearly 20 years of independent and collaborative research, Autumn’s seven patents are earning royalties for Lewis & Clark, while inspiring innovative ideas and emerging technologies for products as diverse as rock climbing shoes and automotive braking systems.

Autumn’s work has been featured on PBS’ Nova and Discovery Channel’s Beyond Invention, and in Newsweek, the New York Times, and Scientific American, among other publications.

Learn more about Kellar Autumn or visit the gecko lab.


Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell

Associate Professor of Psychology

In her Clinical Psychology course, advanced students assume the roles of therapist and patient as they learn to solve realistic problems. Yet Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell believes in immersing even her newest students in interactive and challenging lessons.

Detweiler-Bedell is a recipient of the Outstanding Baccalaureate Colleges Professor of the Year Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Learn more about Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell.


Peter Kennedy

Professor of Biology

Could a study of alder trees improve the ecological health of forests around the world? Peter Kennedy, who has published widely on the impact of fungi and bacteria on plant life, has reason to think so. He has uncovered symbiotic relationships between microbes and trees—insights that could yield improvements in urban and rural land management worldwide.

Lately, Kennedy and his students have been hunting for local species of truffle that, while not worth much to a gourmand, may prove valuable to science.

Learn more about Peter Kennedy or visit the microbe lab.