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Professor of Biological Sciences
LILY 1-122

Associated website(s):

Minchella Lab Page , Projects , Publications



(Population biology; genetics) Host-parasite coevolution; influence of parasitism on host life-history patterns; molecular ecology and genetics; genetic diversity of parasite populations


Dennis joined the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences in 1986.  He moved through the ranks eventually serving as Associate Department Head and is currently Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Science.  Simultaneously, he served in every elected position in his national scientific society, The American Society of Parasitologists, who awarded him the Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Colleagues describe him as a “triple threat”, an individual who excels in research, teaching, and administration, although he views himself as an effective utility infielder!

Dennis is an outstanding teacher and mentor who received teaching awards at the department, college, and university levels, including the Charles B. Murphy Award, the University’s highest undergraduate teaching honor. He was selected for inclusion in the Purdue Book of Great Teachers and was a founding member of the Teaching Academy. For 35 years, he has taught a unique and rigorous Introductory Biology course to over 17,000 first-year students. Through the use of a variety of innovative strategies such as opening lectures with a classic rock song, ethics problems on homework, and visiting residence halls for lunch and help sessions, he has transformed a large enrollment class into an environment found on small college campuses.  Dennis is nicknamed “Mr. Rogers” for his kind, caring, compassionate approach to his first-year students. He also teaches graduate student seminars and lectures on parasitology to medical students in the Indiana University School of Medicine.

In collaboration with his many graduate and post-doctoral students, his research program in host-parasite Interactions has produced nearly 100 publications. For his leadership in two research projects that received million dollar awards, he was honored with the Purdue Seeds for Success Award twice. Dennis takes great pride in the achievements of his students - training two dozen graduate and postdoctoral students as well as a plethora of undergraduate researchers who earned their honor’s degrees in his laboratory. His interest in student success goes well beyond his classroom and laboratory.  He has published and was supported in the area of Science Education. As Associate Dean of the College, he scaled up his efforts to facilitate student success by leading the development of an array of initiatives including: Feasting with Faculty, an evening help lab COSINE, Global Science Partners, and Learning Beyond the Classroom.


Ph.D., Purdue, 1981


  • Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Teaching Award, 1992
  • Purdue University Book of Great Teachers, 1999
  • J. Alfred and Martha Chiscon Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2002
  • Seeds for Success Award, 2004 and 2011
  • Outstanding Teacher in the College of Science, 1992 and 2005
  • Purdue University Nominee for U.S. Outstanding Professor of the Year, 2011
  • Professional Achievement Award - College of Science, 2012
  • Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research - Council on Undergraduate Research, 2014
  • Favorite Faculty - University Residences Student Committee, 2015-2021
  • Distinguished Service Award – The American Society of Parasitologists, 2018


Collaborative Research: Modeling Complex Dynamics of Host-Parasite Interactions (2007-2011) NSF

An Adaption of a Research-Based Laboratory Model to Life Sciences (2010-2013) NSF

Deviating from the Standard: Integrating Statistical Analysis and Experimental Design into Life Science Education (2010-2015) HHMI

A Challenge in Life Science Undergraduate Education: NEXUS (2011-2015) HHMI

Enriched Doctoral Training in Epidemiology for Mathematics Students (2016 - 2017) Discovery Park

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