Return to the MWSU Homepage Dr. Todd Eckdahl - Department of Biology




To continue to pursue excellence in teaching undergraduate courses in Biology; to engage undergraduate students in meaningful research experiences; to make contributions to the educational community at Missouri Western State University and beyond.

Teaching Responsibilities

Undergraduate lecture and laboratory courses in General Biology for nonmajors, Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Bioinformatics; mentoring of undergraduate research students.

Research Interests

Synthetic Biology, or the use of engineering principles and molecular biology tools to design and construct genetic circuits in living cells that enable them to function as biological devices with broad applications.  Specific interest in the construction of bacterial computers that can solve mathematical or biological problems.


University of Minnesota, Duluth          Major Chemistry, Minor Biology          B.S. 1981

Purdue University                               Molecular Genetics                              Ph.D 1989

University of Wisconsin, Madison       Virology                                              Post-Doc 1989-1992

Academic Positions

Missouri Western State University         Professor of Biology                                         2001-present

Missouri Western State College            Associate Professor of Biology                          1997-2001

Missouri Western State College            Assistant Professor of Biology                           1993-1997


2011                    Missouri Western Board of Governors Distinguished Professor Award

2008                    James V. Mehl Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award

2006                    Missouri Western Board of Governors Distinguished Professor Award

2006                    Beta Beta Beta National Biology Honor Society Yokely Faculty Service Award

2003                    Missouri Western Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award

2002                    James V. Mehl Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award

1999                    Missouri Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

1999                    Liberal Arts and Sciences Council of Chairpersons Award

1998                    Jesse Lee Meyers Excellence in Teaching Award       


Peer-Reviewed Publications (*denotes undergraduates)

Campbell, AM, Heyer LJ, Eckdahl TT, and Poet JL. 2012. Integrating Synthetic Biology into the Microbiology CurriculumPDF. Microbe 7, no. 10.


Eric M. Sawyer*, Cody Barta*, Romina Clemente*, Michel Conn*, Clif Davis*, Catherine Doyle*, Mary Gearing*, Olivia Ho-Shing*, Alyndria Mooney*, Jerrad Morton*, Shamita Punjabi*, Ashley Schnoor*, Siya Sun*, Shashank Suresh*, Bryce Szczepanik*, D. Leland Taylor*, Annie Temmink*, William Vernon*, A. Malcolm Campbell, Laurie J. Heyer, Jeffrey L. Poet and Todd T. Eckdahl. 2012. Bacterial Logic Devices Reveal Unexpected Behavior of Frameshift Suppressor tRNAsPDF. Interdisciplinary Bio Central. Vol. 4, article no. 10 | doi: 10.4051/ibc.2012.4.3.0010.

Brianna Pearson*, Kin H. Lau*, Alicia Allen*, James Barron*, Robert Cool*, Kelly Davis*, Will DeLoache*, Erin Feeney*, Andrew Gordon*, John Igo*, Aaron Lewis*, Kristi Muscalino*, Madeline Parra*, Pallavi Penumetcha*, Victoria G. Rinker*, Karlesha Roland*, Xiao Zhu*, Jeffrey L. Poet, Todd T. Eckdahl, Laurie J. Heyer and A Malcolm Campbell. 2011. Bacterial Hash Function Using DNA-Based XOR Logic Reveals Unexpected Behavior of the LuxR Promoter. PDF. Interdisciplinary Bio Central. Vol. 3, article no. 10 | doi: 10.4051/ibc.2011.3.3.0010.

Penumetcha, Pallavi*, Kin Lau*, Xiao Zhu*, Kelly Davis*, Todd T. Eckdahl and A. Malcolm Campbell. 2010. Improving the Lac system for synthetic biology. PDF. BIOS Vol. 81(1): 7 - 15.

Eckdahl, Todd T., A. Malcolm Campbell, Laurie J. Heyer, and Jeffrey L. Poet. 2010. Synthetic biology and the international genetically engineered machines competition. PDF. BIOS 81(1): 1-6.

Poet, Jeffrey L., A. Malcolm Campbell, Todd T. Eckdahl, Laurie J. Heyer.  2010. Bacterial Computing. PDF. Crossroads: The ACM Magazine for Students. Vol. 17(1): 10 – 15.

Eckdahl, Todd T., Jeffery L. Poet, A. Malcolm Campbell, and Laurie J. Heyer. 2009. Synthetic Biology as a New Opportunity for Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research. PDF. CUR Quarterly. Winter Issue. 39 - 44. (front cover photo)

Shaffer CD, Alvarez C, Bailey C, Barnard D, Bhalla Y, Chandrasekaran C, Chandrasekaran V, Chung H-M, Dorer DR, Du C, Eckdahl TT, Poet JL, Frohlich D, Goodman AL, Gosser Y, Hauser C, Hoopes L, Johnson D, Jones CJ, Kaehler M, Kokan N, Kopp OR, Kuleck GA, McNeil G, Moss R, Myka JL, Nagengast A, Morris R, Overvoorde PJ, Shoop E, Parrish S, Reed K, Regisford EG, Revie D, Rosenwald AG, Saville K, Schroeder S, Shaw M, Skuse G, Smith C, Smith M, Spana EP, Spratt M, Stamm J, Thompson JS, Wawersik M, Wilson BA, Youngblom J, Leung W, Buhler J, Mardis ER, Lopatto D, Elgin SCR.  2010. The Genomics Education Partnership: Successful Integration of Research into Laboratory Classes at a Diverse Group of Undergraduate Institutions. CBE Life Science Education 9: 55-69.

Baumgardner J*, Acker K*, Adefuye O*, Crowley S*, DeLoache W*, Dickson J*, Heard L*, Martens A*, Morton N*, Ritter M*, Shoecraft A*, Treece J*, Unzicker M*, Valencia A*, Waters M*, Campbell AM, Heyer LJ, Poet JL, Eckdahl TT. 2009. Solving a Hamiltonian Path Problem with a bacterial computer. PDF. Journal of Biological Engineering, 3: 11 (2009 JBE Outstanding Publication, Evaluated on F1000 Biology).

Hart SN*, Durbian FE, Dillman CB, Eckdahl TT.  2009. Assessment of Allelic Variation among Massasauga Rattlesnake Populations via Microsatellite AnalysisTransactions of the Missouri Academy of Science 42: 30-38.

Lopatto D, Alvarez C, Barnard D, Chandrasekaran C, Chung H-M, Du C, Eckdahl TT, Goodman AL, Hauser C, Jones CJ, Kopp OR, Kuleck GA, McNeil G, Morris R, Myka JL, Nagengast A, Overvoorde PJ, Poet JL, Reed K, Regisford G, Revie D, Rosenwald A, Saville K, Shaw M, Skuse GR, Smith C, Smith M, Spratt M, Stamm J, Thompson JS, Wilson BA, Witkowski C, Youngblom J, Leung W, Shaffer CD, Buhler J, Mardis E, Elgin SCR. 2008. Genomics Education Partnership. Science 322, 684-685.

Haynes KA, Broderick ML*, Brown AD*, Butner TL*, Dickson JO*, Harden WL*, Heard LH*, Jessen EL*, Malloy KJ*, Ogden BJ*, Rosemond S*, Simpson S*, Zwack E*, Campbell AM, Eckdahl TT, Heyer LJ, Poet, JL.  2008.  Engineering Bacteria to Solve the Burnt Pancake ProblemPDF. Journal of Biological Engineering 2:8 (2008 JBE Outstanding Publication).

Eckdahl TT, *Brown, AD, *Hart, SN, *Malloy, KJ, *Shott M, *Yiu G, Mays Hoopes LL, Heyer LJ.  2008.  Microarray Analysis of the in vivo Sequence Preferences of a Minor Groove Binding DrugPDF. BioMed Central Genomics 9:32.

Haynes KA, Broderick ML*, Brown AD*, Butner TL*, Harden L*, Heard L, Jessen E*, Malloy K*, Ogden B*, Rosemond S*, Simpson S*, Zwack E*, Campbell AM, Eckdahl TT, Heyer LJ, Poet, JL.  2007.  Computing with Living Hardware. PDF. IET Synthetic Biology 1, 44-47.

Campbell AM, Ledbetter ML, Mays Hoopes LL, Eckdahl TT, Heyer LJ, Rosenwald AG, Fowlks E, Tonidandel S, Bucholtz B, Gottfried G. 2007. Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT): Meeting the Goals of BIO2010. CBE: Life Science Education 6:109-118.

Campbell AM, Eckdahl TT, Fowlks E, Heyer LJ, Mays Hoopes LL, Ledbetter ML, Rosenwald AG. 2006. Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT). Science 311, 1103-1104. SOM.

Bradford WD*, Cahoon L, Freel SR*, Mays Hoopes LL, Eckdahl TT.  2004. An Inexpensive Gel Electrophoresis-Based PCR Method for Quantifying mRNA Levels. Cell Biology Education 4: 157-168.

Brewster JL, Beason B, Eckdahl TT, Evans I.  2004. The Microarray Revolution: Perspectives from EducatorsBiochemistry and Molecular Biology Education 32:217-227.

Baker JC, Crumley RE, Eckdahl TT. 2002. RAPD PCR in the Microbiology Teaching Laboratory: Identification of Bacterial Unknowns. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education 30: 394-397.

Gasper BR*, Koppelman JB, Schwery SP*, and Eckdahl TT. 2001. Molecular Phylogenetic Analysis of Missouri Sculpins. American Midland Naturalist 146: 264-270.

Baker RL*, Chandler ML*, and Eckdahl TT. 2001. Identification of Cottus Species in Montana Using Mitochondrial RFLP Analysis. BIOS 72: 83-87.

Eckdahl TT and Malone EA. 2001. Technology and Society: Redefining Human Life. Journal of College Science Teaching 30: 262-266.

Albert FG, Eckdahl TT, Fitzgerald DJ, and Anderson JN. 1999. Heterogeneity in the Actions of Drugs that Bind in the DNA Minor Groove. Biochemistry 38:10135-10146.

Dillman CB*, Banks SM*, Vorderstrasse TJ*, and Eckdahl TT. 1999. Phylogenetic Analysis of Missouri Populations of Longear Sunfish. Lepomis megalotis. BIOS 71: 2-8.

Eckdahl TT. 1999. Investigating DNA Supercoiling, PDF. American Biology Teacher 61: 214-216.

Eckdahl TT and Anderson JN. 1990. Conserved DNA Structures in Origins of Replication. Nucleic Acids Research 16: 1609-1617.

Eckdahl TT, Bennetzen JL and Anderson JN. 1989. DNA Structures Associated with Autonomously Replicating Sequences from Plants. Plant Molecular Biology 12: 507-516.

Eckdahl TT and Anderson JN. 1988. Bent DNA Is a Conserved Structure in an Adenovirus Control Region. Nucleic Acids Research 16: 2346.

Williams JS, Eckdahl TT and Anderson JN. 1988. Bent DNA Functions as a Replication Enhancer in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Molecular and Cellular Biology 8: 2763-2769.

Eckdahl TT and Anderson JN. 1987. Computer Modeling of DNA Structures Involved in Chromosome Maintenance. Nucleic Acids Research 15: 8531-8545.


Non-Refereed Publications

A. Malcolm Campbell, Meridith J. Nakano, Caroline J. Vrana, Todd T. Eckdahl, Jeffrey L, Poet, and Laurie J. Heyer.  2012. Providing Structure for Research Students Coming and Going.  CBE Life Sciences Education 11: 337-338. PDF.

Ho-Shing, Olivia*, Kin H. Lau*, William Vernon*, Todd T. Eckdahl, and A. Malcolm Campbell. 2012. Assembly of Standardized DNA Parts Using BioBrick Ends in E. coli. Chapter published in “Gene Synthesis: Methods and Protocols”. Methods in Molecular Biology. Volume 852. Jean Peccoud editor. Humana Press. New York, NY. Pages 61 – 76.

Rushin F, Ashley D, Baker J, Chevalier C, Daggett M, Eckdahl T, Hartman K, Koy K, Mills M, Sample V, Walton K.  2010. Biology 101 Principles of Biology Laboratory Manual: A Learning Cycle Approach.  144 pp.  Hayden McNeil Publishing.


Eckdahl TT. 2004. Review of: PLoS Biology.  Cell Biology Education 3: 15-17.


Eckdahl TT. 2003. The 50th Anniversary of the Discovery of the DNA Double Helix. BIOS 74 (4): 105-109.


Eckdahl, TT and Malone EA. 2001. Review of "Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters." Magill's Literary Annual 2001: Books of 2000. Salem Press.


Eckdahl TT. 1996. Biology Internet Resources. BIOS 67: 22-24.


Andresen WF, Ashley DC, Boutwell RA, Crumley RE, Eckdahl TT, Rachow TA, Robbins D, Rushin J. 1996. Laboratory Inquires into Concepts of Biology, Kendall / Hunt Publishing Company.


Peer-Reviewed Federal Grants


Eckdahl TT (PI), Poet JL.  Collaborative Research: RUI: BIOMAPS: Modular Programmed Evolution of Bacteria for Optimization of Metabolic Pathways. NSF MCB 1329350. $461,051 Awarded September 2013.

Eckdahl TT (PI), Poet JL.  RUI: MPS-BIO: Collaborative Research: Design and Construction of Second-Generation Bacterial Computers. NSF MCB 1120558. $200,001 Awarded September 2011.

Campbell AM (PI), Poet JL, Heyer LJ, Eckdahl TT. Workshop: Synthetic Biology Workshops for Interdisciplinary Teams of Undergraduate Faculty to be held Summers of 2012-2014 at Janelia Farm Conference Center (Ashburn, VA).  NSF DBI 1127271.  $269,700 Awarded August 2011.

Eckdahl TT (PI) and Poet JL.  Collaborative Research: UBM Group: Synthetic Biology Research for Undergraduates (SyBR-U).  NSF UBM DMS 0733955.  $172,904 Awarded August 2007.


Campbell AM (PI), Eckdahl TT, Heyer LJ. Collaborative Proposal: GCAT DNA Microarray Workshops for 2007, 2008, and 2009.  NSF DBI 0627478.  $404,704 Awarded April 2006.


Fowlks E (PI), Hoopes LL (PI), Campbell AM, Eckdahl TT, Heyer L, Ledbetter ML, Rosenwald A.  Microarray Workshops for Faculty Teaching Underrepresented Minorities.  NSF DBI.  $121,297 Awarded April 2005.


Hoopes LL (PI), Campbell AM, Eckdahl TT, Heyer L, and Salata, MW. Microarray Workshop for Undergraduate Faculty to be held Summer 2004 at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. NSF DBI 0408386. $39,640 Awarded February 2004.  


Eckdahl TT (PI), Baker JC, and Caldwell BD. Antitumor Drugs that Bind the DNA Minor Groove. NIH NCI Academic Research Enhancement Award. $132,000 Awarded July 2003.    


Hoopes LL (PI), Campbell AM, Eckdahl TT, Heyer L, and Salata, MW. Microarray Workshops for Undergraduate Faculty and Students: Rocket Science or Basic Science? To be held in Seattle, WA, Summer of 2003. NSF DBI IID/MU 0305176. $15,000 Awarded April 2003.  


Eckdahl TT (PI).  Evaluation of the Effects of Minor Groove Binders on Global Patterns of Gene Expression in Saccharaomyces cerevisiae.   NSF REU Supplement to DBI MUE grant.  $6045 Awarded February 2003.


Campbell AM (PI), Eckdahl TT, Heyer L, and Hoopes LL. “RUI: Acquisition of a DNA Microarray Reader System.” NSF DBI MUE 0099720. $105,390 Awarded July 2001.


Eckdahl TT (PI), Andresen WF, Ashley DC, Boutwell RA, and Crumley RE. "DNA Amplification Throughout the Biology Curriculum." NSF ILI. $59,180 Awarded May 1998.


Professional Activities

1994-Present. Research advisor to 70 undergraduate students who have been coauthors on 12 peer-reviewed publications and made  96 research presentations at state, regional, and national, and international conferences, winning 28 awards.


1998-Present.  Founding member of the Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT), which has provided DNA microarrays to over 24,000 undergraduate students.  Lab coordinator and instructor for six NSF-sponsored GCAT microarray workshops that trained over 200 faculty members to use microarrays with students in teaching and research.  GCAT Founder and Director, Dr. A. Malcolm Campbell, Davidson College.


2005-Present. Founding member of Genomics Education Partnership established to engage undergraduate students in genomic sequence finishing and annotation.  Supported by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Dr. Sarah Elgin, Director, Washington University.


2006-Present.  Research advisor to undergraduate student teams competing in the annual International Genetically Engineered Machines competitions.  2006 team awarded Best Oral Presentation, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 teams awarded Gold Medals.


2006-Present. Presentations on Synthetic Biology as a New Opportunity for Undergraduate Research.  MMHI GCAT Workshop (2012), Missouri Western GCAT Workshop (2011), Davidson College GCAT Workshop (2010), Morehouse College GCAT Workshop (2009), Park University (2008), Missouri State University (2008), Macalester College (2008), Missouri Academy of Science (2008), Conference on Applied Learning (2008), University of Minnesota, Duluth (2007), Washington U Bridging Teaching and Research Workshop (2006).


2005-Present. Lectures on adult and embryonic stem cell technology to 15 different community groups, including Rotary Club, Citizens Coalition, MS Society, Church groups, Optomists Club, Young Entrepreneurs Club, Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Western Eggs and Issues, Heartland Hospital Board, Heartland Leadership Council, and Heartland Ethics Committee.


1997-2006. Service as District Director for 33 institutions in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.  Organized annual conventions for student research presentations, reviewed student research proposals, installed eight new chapters.



1993 – Present. Institutional Service to Missouri Western State University: Service on the Missouri Western Strategic Planning, Strategic Plan Implementation Fund, Western Institute planning, Institutional Animal Care and Use, Professional Leave, Student Excellence Fund Evaluation committees and search committees for the Grants Director, assistant to the VPAA, Western Institute Dean, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University President.

2009, 2011. Served as panel reviewer of National Science Foundation in , Washington, D.C. (2009) Interdisciplinary Training for Undergraduates in Biological and Mathematical Sciences (UBM); (2011) TUES: Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science; (2011) Networks, Synthetic Biology, and Evolution.

2007. Served as external reviewer of Culver Stockton College Biology Program. 


2000. Served as panel chairperson for peer review of National Science Foundation Curriculum Course and Laboratory Improvement proposals, Washington, D.C.


2006–Present.  Service as Chairperson of the Missouri Western Biology Department.


2002-Present. Contributed to the development and ongoing administration of the Missouri Western Summer Research Institute, in which teams of faculty, undergraduates, and high school students engage in research in diverse disciplines. Led research teams in each summer.


1996-Present. Ashley, Cronk, Eckdahl, Wann.  Creation and continued coordination of Missouri Western Multidisciplinary Research Day, over 1000 student presentations to date.