Dr. Paul Hyman: Chair of biology and toxicology


Retrieved from Ashland.edu

Dr. Paul Hyman, chair of the biology and toxicology department at AU.


The biology and toxicology department not only serves as a core credit and a place for students to further their research, but it has five concentrations within it.

The five concentrations are: biology, toxicology, forensic biology for people who want to work in crime labs, medical laboratory sciences for people who want to get certified to work in clinical laboratories and hospitals and other health settings, and life science education.

“We have both teaching labs and research labs on the floor and all of our faculty members are doing some kind of research within their area of specialty,” Dr. Paul Hyman, associate professor of biology and chair of the biology and toxicology department, said. “About two-thirds of students within the department will do some kind of research during their time here. For some, it may be a couple semesters, but we occasionally have a freshman start who goes all the way through their senior year.”

The majority of students are in some kind of pre-health (pre-med, pre-vet, pre-dental). The other students either go to graduate school for a master’s or Ph.D, or go out and get a job.

Students in this major can join three groups that are advised by a faculty. A chapter of a national honorarium called Tri Beta (or Beta Beta Beta), a chapter of the American Medical Student Association for students who are particularly interested in medicine, and the Pre-Health Club is for all of the other pre-health groups: physical therapists, chiropractors, dentists and optometrists.

“There’s not a lot of students in one category so they group together because they all face the same challenges of taking standardized tests, being interviewed and getting into those programs which are usually highly competitive,” Hyman said.

Hyman is finishing his second year as chair and has been here at AU for 10 years. His road to being a professor at AU is not the usual tale.

“You may know that the nursing college, nursing and health sciences, was started by AU acquiring a private nursing college from a hospital,” Hyman said. “So I was working there as a science faculty and when they bought the program, all the faculty came with it. Because they didn’t want to have two seperate kinds of science faculty, the chemistry and biology people moved into these departments here. And then the nursing faculty stayed with the nursing program, which has its main campus down in Mansfield.”

Graduate biology and toxicology majors have gotten jobs as doctors, veterinarians and dentists, but people can go directly into work without getting additional graduate school. Graduates have jobs at Charles River, county health departments, the state EPA and department of natural resources and one graduate works at a pharmaceutical company training researchers on how to use a particular machine.

Even death investigators have come out of the department. They work with a district attorney and determine whether a dead body died of natural causes or of a crime.

“If you think that students should get a well-rounded, liberal arts education, that is going to include sciences, and biology, I believe, is on par with chemistry and physics as being equally important. All of them are valid ways of understanding how the world works….Being science literate is important. I will not say that we are better than chemistry or worse than chemistry, I think we do an equally good job, but I think that’s important even for non-science majors,” Hyman said.

Questions can be emailed to Hyman at [email protected]