Aaron Corbit, Ph.D.

Aaron poses with Rex, a Pueblan milk snake.

Aaron grew up loving biology and immersed in the Seventh-day Adventist church and, as a result, most of his educational and professional life has been at Seventh-day Adventist institutions. His undergraduate education was at Pacific Union College where he received a B.S. in Biology. Though originally planning a career in medicine, God led in a different direction and he accepted a call to teach science and math to middle and high-school students at North Shore Junior Academy, a small Seventh-day Adventist school in Chicago. After teaching for six years he then spent two years as part of the editorial staff at Pearson Scott Foresman, developing elementary science textbooks, before beginning his graduate education at Loma Linda University. While at Loma Linda, he completed his doctorate in biology, focusing his research on rattlesnake conservation biology and the epidemiology of snakebite in Southern California. Aaron is currently an associate professor of biology at Southern Adventist University, where he has worked since 2012.

When he isn’t engaged with students in the classroom, Aaron continues to be engaged in research and currently collaborates with David on a project examining how black widow spiders, and other closely related species, use their silk to defend themselves from predators. Outside of research, he enjoys hiking, nature photography, and keeping up with his three children.

Throughout his life, reconciling science and faith has been an important part of his personal journey. Aaron recalls the bad attitudes and bad information he encountered that nearly pushed him into atheism. While he certainly doesn’t feel he has all the answers, he hopes that sharing his experience can help others see how scientific evidence and critical thinking are integral to a vibrant Christian experience.

David Nelsen, Ph.D.

David poses with Alexandra, a Chilean rose hair tarantula.

David says he was born to be a biologist. His earliest memories are of exploring the forest and fields outside his home, watching nature documentaries, and reading books about animals. After graduating with his B.S. in Biology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, David spent a year teaching middle and high school in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. He then began his graduate work at Loma Linda University, where he studied venom variation and venom use in the western Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus hesperus), completing his Ph.D. in 2012. He then worked as a Post-Doctoral researcher under Dr. Leonard Brand where he investigated the taphonomy (the process of fossilization) and paleohistology (the study of the microscopic anatomy of fossils) of dinosaur fossils in an upper Cretaceous bone bed. David starting working as a professor of biology at Southern Adventist University in 2014, where he is presently employed. David has authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed articles on animal behavior, taphonomy, and toxinology. Currently, he runs a joint lab with Aaron where they investigate the behavioral and chemical ecology of spiders and other venomous animals. Their current research focuses on defensive silk use in black widow spiders and other closely related species. Outside of research and his professional responsibilities, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two young daughters.

David is passionate about issues of religion, philosophy, and science, especially those that concern one of humanities biggest questions: how did life begin and how has it changed since then? David was raised in a conservative SDA Christian home. His religious upbringing often conflicted with the nature books and programs he consumed. These conflicts came to a head during his undergraduate education which is when he began his investigation into the interactions between religion, philosophy, and science,  an investigation that remain a passion and a challenge to this day.