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Marc Curtis

Marc Curtis


PhD, 2003, Oregon State University, Corvallis

Office: Cordley 4108
Phone: 541-737-5287











BOT220: Introduction to Plant Biology, On campus and Ecampus

BOT331: Plant Physiology, Ecampus

BI314: Cell and Molecular Biology, On campus

BI445/545: Evolution, On campus

Teaching Philosophy

Primary goals of instruction are 1) to encourage students to gain a sense of how the characteristics of an organism emerge from the molecular interactions that guide cell behaviors, which account for development of form and responses to external inputs, 2) to encourage students to recognize that present diversity has a history and a future, 3) increase student literacy of biology across all levels of organization (molecular to ecosystem), and 4) encourage students to appreciate this amazing, wonderful and mysterious Earth upon which we owe our existence too.

My favorite tools are genetics, bioassays and a dissecting scope (7x-45x).  The contribution of cells to form is observable at a magnification of 45x, and provides a visual bridge between genotype and phenotype.  Variation in form between two individuals can be observed with a dissecting scope, if not with the unaided eye.  Bioassays are often simple but ingenious ways of observing variation in function (physiology). Accessibility to diverse flowers, fruits and other plant organs provide excellent material for dissection, which invariably results in pleasant discoveries being made by the curios and attentive student.

My favorite graphics for thinking about how past populations evolved into present diversity are phylogenetic trees (cladograms) labeled with character transitions.  A present species holds genetic variation that represents a range of possibilities in form and function that will evolve as ecological interactions unfold in parallel with change in climate. 

Course work includes study questions, practice exams and thorough exams as a means to challenge students to increase their literacy of biology.  My own passion for experiencing biological diversity and learning all 'her' secrets hopefully encourages students to also pay attention to nature.  

Providing opportunities for hands on, memorable experiences of observing nature in K-12 classrooms is also a priority.  Genetics, bioassays, tree-thinking and dissecting scopes are all tools that can be used in K-12 classrooms.  Playing outside is also a good start to learning biology.


Example of K-12 outreach:  Scavenger hunt at Dixon Creek, 2013.  Combining art with science is an integrative strategy for connecting with diverse learning styles.
Dixon Creek map; example of collecting cards

Instructional videos

Logic of using Synapomorphies to infer phylogeny (video may not load in Firefox, try a different browser (e.g. Internet Explorer)


SERDANI, M., CURTIS, M.J., MILLER, M.L., KRAUS, J. and PUTNAM, M.L. (2013). Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods for specific and rapid detection of Rhodococcus fascians. Plant Dis. 97, 5-17-529.

LORANG, J., KidarsA, T., Bradford, C.s., Gilbert, b., curtis, m.J., Tzeng, s.-C., maier, C.S. and WOLPERT, .T. (2012). Tricking the guard: exploiting plant defense for disease susceptibility. Science, 338, 659-662.

McCUNE, B. and CURTIS, M.J. (2012). Umbilicaria semitensis (lichenized fungi: Umbilicariaceae) resurrected. Bryologist, 115, 255-264.

HARVESON, R.M., SANTRA, K.D., PUTNAM, M.L., CURTIS, M.J. and PAVLISTA, A.D. (2011). A new report for Downy Mildew [(Hyaloperonospora camelinae Gaum) Goker, Voglmayr, Riethm. M. Weiss & Oberw. 2003] of Camelina [Camelina sativa (L.)] in the High Plains of the United States. Plant Health Progress doi:10.1094/PHP-2011-1014-01-BR.

PUTNAM, M.L., SERDANI, M., CURTIS, M.J. and ANGIMA, S. (2011). Phytophthora leaf blight-a new disease of California wax-myrtle (Morella californica) in Oregon, USA caused by a Phytophthora species. New Zealand J Forestry Science, 418, 857-863.

CURTIS, M. AND HAYS, JB. (2011). Cooperative responses of DNA-damage-activated protein kinases ATR ad ATM and DNA translesion polymérases to réplication-blocking DNA damage in a stem-cell niche.  DNA Repair, 10, 1272-1281.

FURUKAWA, T.*, CURTIS, M.*, TOMINEY, C.*, DUONG, Y.H., WILCOX, B.W., AGGOUNE, D., HAYS, J.B., BRITT, A.B. (2010). A shared DNA-damage-response pathway for induction of stem-cell death by UV-B and by gamma irradiation.  DNA Repair, 9, 940-948.

PUTNAM, ML, CURTIS, M., SERDANI, M, PALMATEER, AJ. (2010). Pseudomonas savastanoi found in association with stem galls on mandevilla. Phytopathology, 100, s104.

SERDANI, M., CURTIS, M., CASTAGNOLI, S., PUTNAM, M.L. (2010). First report of twig canker of blueberry caused by Sporocadus lichenicola (Corda) in Oregon. Plant Health Progress, Online only, doi: 10.1094/PHP-2010-0315-02-BR.

PUTNAM, M.L., SERDANI, M., EHRENSING, D., CURTIS, M.J. (2009).  Camelina infected by downy mildew (Hyaloperonospora camelinae) in the Western United States: A first report.  Plant Health Progress, Online only, doi: 10.1094/PHP-2009-0910-01-BR.

CURTIS, M.J., BELCRAM, K., BOLLMAN, S.R., TOMINEY, C.M., HOFFMAN, P.D.,MERCIER, R. and HAYS, J.B. (2009). Reciprocal Chromosome translocation associated with TDNA-insertion mutation in Arabidopsis: genetic and cytological analyses of consequences for gametophyte development and for construction of doubly mutant lines. Planta, 229, 731-745.

Hoffman, P.D., Curtis, M.J. Iwai, S. and Hays, J.B. (2008) Biochemical evolution of DNA polymerase η: Properties of plant, human, and yeast proteins. Biochemistry, 47, 4583-4596.

CURTIS, M.J. and HAYS, J.B. (2007). Tolerance of dividing cells to replication stress in UVB-irradiated Arabidopsis roots: Requirements for DNA translesion polymerases η and ζ. DNA Repair, 6, 1341-1358.

CURTIS, M.J. and WOLPERT, T.J. (2004). Victorin induces a mitochondrial permeability transition that precedes cell shrinkage and biochemical markers of cell death and cell shrinkage occurs without loss of membrane integrity. Plant J. 28, 244-259. 

CURTIS, M.J. and WOLPERT, T.J. (2002). The oat mitochondrial permeability transition and its implication in victorin binding and induced cell death. Plant J. 29, 295-312.