Tyrone Hayes
Department of Integrative Biology



Tyrone Hayes
Peg Skorpinski photo

24 April 2002 |

Whether through tales of expeditions into African swamps or pictures of his children's fetal ultrasounds, Tyrone Hayes is not afraid to bring his personal life into the classroom — if it helps students understand the important role that hormones play in our daily lives.

“Through his stories, Tyrone takes students in the classroom on his journeys to Africa, a local pond, and camping with his family in a desert,” said colleague Robert Full, professor of integrative biology. “He engages the hearts and minds of students like no other teacher I have ever witnessed.”

Hayes’ openness encourages a personal response from students, and their questions often steer the course in new directions. During one office hour, three women undergraduates came in to ask why aspirin relieves menstrual cramps, making him realize that a monthly event important to half the student population is barely discussed in endocrinology courses.

“The openness of these students made me realize this shortcoming, and now the topic has become part of my syllabus,” said Hayes, a developmental endocrinologist who specializes in amphibians. “This would not have emerged without the personal relationships that I develop with students.”

In Hayes’ classroom, discussion of real-world examples — the ethics of using growth hormones to speed weight-gain in beef cattle, or the genetic reason why twins often run in families — both engage students and convey the relevance of the course material.

“Fortunately, I had many good teachers, and what I remember most is that they loved their jobs and that they lived to watch students get excited about science,” he said. “My goal is to make my students as excited as my professors made me.”


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