OC welcomes back Mike Fowler, celebrates new research opportunities with Eric Phelps Two professors, who are also alumni, will provide enhanced learning opportunities for OC students this fall.

Jul 06, 2017

Two professors, who are also alumni, will provide enhanced learning opportunities for OC students this fall. Mike Fowler, a member of OC’s Science Hall of Fame, is returning to teach in the College of Natural and Health Sciences as a distinguished visiting professor. CNHS also celebrates with Eric Phelps as he takes on a full-time research role at a local pharmaceutical firm while continuing to teach part-time at OC.

“We are honored to welcome back a faculty member as accomplished as Dr. Fowler,” said Jeff McCormack, dean of the CNHS. “With Mike's strong background in laboratory sciences, his primary contributions will be teaching and advising in our Medical Laboratory Science program. We’re also thrilled that students can contribute to the exciting research that Eric is helping lead.”

Fowler, a 1969 OC chemistry graduate, spent the last 11 years as a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Lipscomb University. Before that, he taught for more than 25 years at OC as a distinguished professor of biology. Fowler also served as a dean at OC while maintaining contacts and research projects at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and various hospitals in the metro area. His work in clinical laboratory medicine with a specialization in toxicology was nationally recognized.

Fowler, who earned his doctorate at Ohio State University, spent two years as the scientific director of clinical chemistry and toxicology at Alliance Laboratory Services in Ohio. While there, he also had a faculty appointment at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, teaching pathology and emergency medicine to pharmacy interns and residents.

Phelps, a 1999 OC biology graduate, has spent the last 10 years as a professor of biology and chair of the Biological Sciences Department at OC. In 2013, he was awarded a $60,000 grant from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology’s Intern Partnership program. Through the grant, Phelps worked with local pharmaceutical company Charlesson, LLC and principal investigator Rafal Farjo to develop new training resources for undergraduate educational programs. That new training provided various faculty members with additional exposure to industry-based biotechnology research, which helps to better prepare students for future careers.

Charlesson is a specialty biopharmaceutical company that was ranked No. 264 in Inc. magazine’s 28th annual Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing private companies nationwide. Its primary focus is the development of treatments for eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Phelps has worked part-time with Charlesson for a few years, but he decided to join them on a full-time basis this spring. Luckily for OC, Phelps will continue to teach an undergraduate course and at OC’s Honors Summer Academy this year. In addition, he will continue to lead and participate in CNHS' annual medical missions trip to Guatemala. 

“Eric has distinguished himself as a researcher and teacher for years now,” said Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs at OC. “We know he will do great things at Charlesson, and we are glad that students will still learn from him on the OC campus.”