Meet the Faculty
Douglas Hirzel (Professor)Science and Technology - Biology
Dani Behonick was born and raised in New Jersey but lost the funny accent when she moved to Boston and earned her B.S. in Biology from Boston College. While in Boston she learned to play the tuba and also researched prostate cancer at Children’s Hospital. She then pursued her doctoral degree in Biomedical Science at the University of California, San Francisco, thereby succeeding in moving even farther away from home. During her graduate studies she completed a summer internship in breast cancer therapeutics at Biogen Idec and developed a love for two-tailed T-tests. She earned her PhD in 2007, focusing on the role of the extracellular matrix in bone development and repair. She then began teaching courses in General Biology, Human Physiology, Microscopy and Good Laboratory Practices at Merritt College and for the UC Berkeley Extension Program, and working in support roles with both the UCSF Center for Gender Equity and the UCSF LGBT Resource Center. Dani joined the faculty of the Biology and Health Science departments at Cañada College in January 2009. She currently spends half of her time teaching pre-allied health students how the human body works and how to talk to their future health care patients, and the other half teaching non-science majors how the human body works and how to talk to their health care providers. Glitter, data and zombie movies are a few of her favorite things.
Nathan Staples (Professor)Science and Technology - Biology
Nathan was born and raised in Pomona, California, the youngest of 5 children born over a 25-year range (4 boys and 1 girl). Nathan graduated as valedictorian and a varsity wrestler from Damien High School in La Verne, CA, and went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Biology from Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles California. He has been an enthusiastic artist since childhood, and also earned Minor emphases in Studio Art and Biochemistry from LMU. Nathan always has had a desire to teach, and as his interests grew in molecular biology and microbiology, he decided to pursue a Doctoral degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara to be able to teach at the college level. He earned his Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from UCSB in 2002, studying modifications of the host plant cell wall in legumes (namely alfalfa) during invasion and colonization of plant tissues by the beneficial symbiotic bacteria, rhizobium (Sinorhizobium meliloti). His Doctoral dissertation is entitled Symbiosis-Induced Modification of Legume Cell Walls in Response to Nitrogen-fixing Rhizobia. Nathan has continuing interests in bacterial interactions with plant and animal hosts, resulting in either beneficial or pathogenic relationships.
In his free time, Nathan loves to play with his family (wife, Michelle and grade-schoolers Sarah and Matthew), play and watch basketball (BIG Lakers and LMU Lions fan!), go bicycling, sing barbershop quartet harmony, practice wrestling and Judo, enjoy the outdoors, play softball, and draw, sculpt or paint - particularly the human figure.