October 20, 2014

Biology Prof Researches Cardiovascular Physiology and Disease

Jay Scott-Assistant Professor of Biology

Jay Scott never expected to be at SVSU. The first time. As a high school baseball player in Ontario, he heard from a number of American colleges and universities in the south, but none came forward with a scholarship offer. Eventually, Scott matriculated to SVSU and played center field on the 2001 GLIAC championship team.

“Those are fond memories,” he said.

After graduating, Scott completed a Ph.D. at Queens University in his native Canada and then finished postdoctoral fellowships at the University of New Mexico and the University of Iowa. He hoped his career would bring him back to SVSU.

“From the moment I left, I knew I wanted to come back. I loved it here. I worked in the department as a student lab tech. I developed friendships with faculty that I’ve kept through the years.

”Scott’s expertise and experience with microscopes made him particularly desirable. His areas of scholarly interest are cardiovascular physiology and disease, and toxicology; he continues to do research in those fields, but life as full-time researcher convinced him that he desired something different. 

“Going back into teaching was my ultimate goal,” he said. “I knew that having that connection with students was something that I wanted as a career. This place gives me that and gives me the opportunity for research, as well. This is the place where I could have the most impact. It’s kind of a perfect fit.” 

Scott does not employ a one-size-fits-all approach to his classes. In a human biology course for non-majors, he tailored course material to students’ interests. 

“My approach was to make it about them. Instead of getting bogged down in the complexity of the body, I gave them a questionnaire and asked if there were particular systems of the body or a disease that was important to them. I built the course around them.” 

Scott says his SVSU pedigree also has helped him relate to students. 

“I was in their shoes,” he said. “I think that resonates with the students. I tell them, ‘I know how to get into any school you would like for grad school or medical school." 

Outside of teaching, Scott serves on the honors committee and is developing collaborations with the University of New Mexico to provide additional research opportunities for students.

Reflecting upon his first year on the faculty, Scott considers himself quite fortunate. 

“It was an intense first year. I’ve had very little sleep and been very busy; but this whole year, I’ve been pinching myself a little bit. I got the job I wanted, and I don’t think there’s a lot of people who can say that.”