Jeffrey McKelvey, Ph.D., Chairperson
Phone: (616) 632-2183
Dr. McKelvey joined the Aquinas College Biology Department in 1986. A Pennsylvania native, he earned his Ph.D. at Bowling Green State University and his B.S. in Biology at West Virginia Wesleyan College. He teaches zoology, comparative anatomy and physiology, as well as courses in his specific areas of interest, parasitology and ornithology. He cochairs the Aquinas College Pre-health Advisory Committee and is the faculty adviser to Aquinas' chapter of the Beta Beta Beta Biology National Honor Society. He enjoys hiking, golfing, bird-watching and home-brewing.
Thomas Bahl, Ph.D.
Phone: (616) 632-2185
Dr. Bahl came to Aquinas College from Salisbury, North Carolina in 2002. Dr. Bahl earned his Ph. D. in Neuroscience from Emory University, his M.S. in Zoology from The University of Georgia, and his B.S. in Biology from The Pennsylvania State University. He teaches human biology, biology for the health sciences and neuroscience. Dr. Bahl is a member of The Human Anatomy and Physiology Society. His interests include neurobiology, especially of invertebrates, and how the nervous and endocrine systems influence muscle development.
Robb Bajema, Ph.D.
Phone: (616) 632-2182
Dr. Bajema joined Aquinas College in 1998 and teaches ecologically and environmentally oriented classes. His classes are designed to engage students in hands-on lab experiences. His research interests are in wildlife conservation and landscape preservation. He has served on the Ada Township Open Space Task Force which was created to implement a plan to conserve natural areas and open space within the township. Dr. Bajema has also been a board member of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan and a member of its land protection committee which evaluates properties for their conservation potential. His hobbies include camping, hunting, nature hikes, biking, downhill skiing, and boating.

Clark Danderson, Ph.D.

Phone: (616) 632-2448


Dr. Danderson came to Aquinas College in 2013 after serving a year as an assistant professor at Gordon State College in Barnesville, GA. A native of the northern wilds of New Hampshire, Dr. Danderson cultivated a love of nature and, in particular, plants. After earning his B.S. in plant biology at the University of New Hampshire in 2002, he moved to Illinois where he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in plant biology from the University of Illinois in 2005 and 2011, respectively. Dr. Danderson teaches courses in botany, plant taxonomy, and ecology, and is a member of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Botanical Society of America, New England Botanical Club, and Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society. He is currently the Director of the Aquinas College Herbarium (AQC). His research interests include botanical and entomological collection, plant systematics, and ecological studies involving plant-insect interactions and plant reproductive biology. Outside of Aquinas College, his interests include beer brewing, kayaking, hiking, camping, reading, and gardening.
Jennifer Hess, Ph.D.
Phone: (616) 632-2186
Dr. Hess joined the Aquinas College Biology Department in 2005. She moved to Grand Rapids from Huntingdon, Pa., where she was a post-doctoral fellow at Juniata College. Dr. Hess teaches microbiology, cell biology, genetics, immunology and a class in her specialty, human genetics. She earned her Ph.D. in 2003 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and her B.A. in 1998 from Western Maryland College (now named McDaniel College). Dr. Hess is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and the American Society of Human Genetics. Her interests outside of science include theatre and music.

L. Robert Peters Jr., Ph.D.

Phone: (616) 632-2181


Dr. Peters joined the Aquinas College Biology Department in 2012. He was a visiting Assistant Professor of Biology at Eastern Oregon University in 2011-2012. He earned his Ph.D. in Immunology (2011) from the University of Michigan and his B.S. in Biology (2005) from Central Michigan University. Dr. Peters teaches Principles of Biology, Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Peters’ research currently focuses on the cloning and functional characterization of innate immune response genes in the zebrafish (Danio rerio) model system. Dr. Peters is a member of βββ National Biological Honors Society and helps to advise the Aquinas student chapter of βββ. Dr. Peters has great interest in health and fitness, sustainability, nature, travelling and music.

Ricardo Caceres, B.S.
Biology Laboratory Coordinator
Phone: (616) 632-2403
Ric Caceres has been at Aquinas College since 1999. In addition to the B.S. degree in Biology that Ric received from Aquinas College, he also possesses a vast amount of experience ranging from management in the automotive field to business partner of a coffeehouse. Ric's previous work experience also includes 8 years in the Chemistry, Microbiology and Quality Assurance departments at Ada-based Alticor Corporation. He uses his experience to coordinate the wide range of biology labs offered at Aquinas College.