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richard nelson
By Appointment

Richard Nelson

Professor of Biology

Department Chair


On Faculty Since 2006

Curriculum Vitae

The biology program at Covenant College offers remarkable opportunities for students to grow intellectually and spiritually.  Our rigorous program with its three concentrations offers students broad and varied opportunities to deeply explore biological aspects of God's creation, from cells to ecosystems. Our highly qualified faculty members are passionate about their subject and are committed to mentoring students to a deeper understanding of the beauty, grandeur and intricacy of biological systems and processes both in the classroom and the research lab.  Through their interactions with faculty and vibrant community of like-minded peers, students graduate from Covenant's biology department with a deepened view of Christ's pre-eminence in biological aspects of His creation, with a fuller perception of what it means to pursue a scientific calling faithfully, and with skills and knowledge that provide strong foundations for varied callings and professional paths.


  • BS (Biology), Furman University
  • PhD (Molecular Biology and Microbiology), Case Western Reserve University
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Interests / Specialization

  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

Selected Professional Work

  • Nelson, K. and Nelson R. W. 2004. Cdc42 Effector Protein 2 (XCEP2) is required for normal gastrulation and contributes to cellular adhesion in Xenopus laevis. BMC Developmental Biology 4:13.
  • “Worshiping God in Biology”- Chapel talk, Covenant College, Fall 2009. Science and Faith, 3-week Sunday school discussion, Mountain Fellowship, Fall 2016.
  • “The Biology of Sexuality”, Chapel talk, Covenant College, Fall 2018 J. Blackmon, E. Coats, G. Massot, and R. Nelson. dsRNA knockdown of SNAP29 in Schmidtea mediterranea inhibits eyespot development and phototactic response. Posters on the Prairie, Kansas City, MO., Summer 2017 2017)
  • “Faith and Science,” Seminar, Josiah Venture English Camp, Dobruška, Czech Republic, July 2021

Get to know your professor

Q. If you could compete in an olympic sport, what would it be and why?
A. Powerlifting!  Throughout my life since high school I have, to varying degrees, pursued strength training for physical fitness.  Of late, my workouts have some fundamental powerlifting moves as a key component.  It's fun to dream of incredible lifts that extravagantly exceed my rather humble real life limits.

Q. Favorite local restaurant?
A. El Metate, on Signal Mountain.  My wife and I are "regulars" on Wednesday nights!

Q. What is one thing that instantly makes your day better?
A. A classroom of engaged and interested students

Q. Personal Interests/Hobbies
A. Travel, reading, concerts, listening to music, singing in church, learning Czech