Earle Hall Faculty-in-Residence: Dr. Jim Marcum
I grew up in southwestern Ohio. I loved to be outside and to collect just about anything, especially fossils and critters. This habit often got me into trouble, like the time a praying mantis egg case hatched hundreds of babies in my bedroom during February or the time a snake escaped from its terrarium only to terrorize my mother while she was doing the laundry. As I grew older, I began to read about how the body works and became fascinated with how it heals itself. In high school, I was fortunate enough to receive a grant from the National Science Foundation, part of its Secondary Science Training Program, to take college courses in science and to conduct scientific research during a summer break. That experience sealed my fate in the biomedical sciences. I then went on to receive a Bachelor's degree in biology and a Master's degree in zoology from Miami University (Ohio), after which I matriculated to the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine and received a doctorate in physiology.
I then moved to Boston as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. I worked on the blood thinner, heparin, and discovered that our bodies make an analogue to it that keeps our blood fluid. I continued this work at MIT as a research associate, where I isolated the analogue and began to work out its molecular biology. While at the ‘Tute, I took a course from the historian and philosopher of science, Tom Kuhn, author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and popularizer of the term paradigm. That experience forever changed the direction of my career path. I went on to study philosophy and received another doctorate in the philosophy of science at Boston College. After almost two decades as a biomedical scientist, I suddenly found myself as a philosopher at Baylor. I have been here for over ten years now. Besides teaching in the philosophy department, I am also director of Baylor's Medical Humanities Program.