Clay Carlson

Professor of Biology; Chair of Sciences

Education

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 2010
B.S., University of Wisconsin, River Falls, Wisconsin, 2002

“Biology is the study of God’s creation. The majesty of his work in fashioning humanity.”

In Dr. Clay Carlson’s classes, students learn to view science in entirely new ways and to see God clearly. In the Foundation courses, students recognize gifts given to them that they had never before considered. “Recognition of those gifts will lead to praise, changed lives with better health, and more informed conversations with medical professionals,” Carlson believes. In his upper level biology courses, Carlson and his students explore the limits of scientific knowledge. “By learning the limits of the field, students are called to begin their work of expanding those limits.”

What drew him to Trinity:

Carlson was looking for a college where he could take both God and science very seriously. “I feel called to follow God and honor God for all the beautiful works of creation. That means I can only teach at a place that is unafraid of any science, a place that will joyfully engage any scientific result and will seek to praise and honor God through it.”

Research interests:

Carlson is fascinated by many things, but two areas of particular interest include the ways gene expression is regulated in eukaryotic cells and the interpretation of genomic science through the lens of Christian philosophy.

“With one set of instructions (our DNA) we can make skin cells, brain cells, and stomach cells. Through molecular biology we are able to learn how cells accomplish this miraculous feat. Why would anyone study something besides this?!?” His interest in integrating Christian philosophy and science has developed more naturally. “As I have grown in my faith and in my profession, learning how to interweave these sometimes discordant disciplines takes time, effort, and patience.”

When he’s not teaching:

Carlson chases around his kids and talks with his wife. He serves at his church, Hope Church in Oak Forest, and serves on the school board for Southwest Chicago Christian Schools. “I also play instruments, make jam, run, and ride my bicycle. But I have no love for the last two.”

Read more about Carlson’s research on his website.

Courses

Biology 100 – Introduction to Biological Sciences
Biology 110 – Introduction to Biology
Biology 204 – General Microbiology
Biology 303 – Genetics

Biology 316 – Advanced Molecular Biology
Inq 205 – Biology and Theology in Dialogue
FDN 201 – Creativity, Courage, and Calling

Papers Published and/or Presented

General Interest Publications

The Importance of How We Describe Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

The Redemption of All Genes Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

No One Knows How Hard I Worked Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

The Gifts of Advising Day Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

Those Data Points Are People Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

Kind or Degree Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

Attention and Love Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

Choosing How to Explain the Choice a Virus Makes Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

Counting the Saved Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

What is Won and Lost in a Virtual Lab? Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

The Gift of Gene Therapy The Reformed Journal.

 

Human Specialness BioLogos.

 

Determinism The Reformed Journal.

 

Prophecy and Climate The Reformed Journal.

 

Ecclesiastes and Science The Reformed Journal.

 

With Gentleness and Reverence BioLogos.

 

Weird Science and Christian Wisdom Think Christian.

 

All Rivers, Great and Small Think Christian.

 

Rethinking Neanderthals Think Christian.

 

Our Bodies as Microbial Communities  Theological Miscellany.

 

Sin, evil, and the Zika virus  Think Christian.

 

It’s time for a Christian consensus on climate change  Think Christian.

 

Embracing the mystery of Biblical miracles  Think Christian.

 

Has a line been crossed in regard to human DNA?  Think Christian.

 

Mice in the image of God?  Think Christian.

 

Bringing pathos into the vaccination conversation  Think Christian.

 

Having “the talk” with college biology students  Think Christian.

 

Thunderstorm at a bus stop  Catapult Magazine.

 

Epigenetics: sign of the Fall or reason for hope?  Think Christian.

 

 

Professional Publications

David Klanderman, Clayton Carlson, Tina Decker, Fred Haan, Victor Norman, Abbie Schrotenboer, Derek Schuurman, James Turner. “Faith Integration in STEM Courses for Undergraduates: Exemplars of Pedagogical Practices” In Press. June 2022.

Catherine L. Van Lonkhuyzen, Tina Decker, and Clayton D. Carlson. “The Christian Nurse’s Role in Antibiotic Stewardship. In Press. June 2022.

Laura Devries, Cara Horstman, Marie Fossell, and Clayton D. Carlson. “Ingestion of Bifidobacterium longum changes miRNA levels in the brains of mice.”  PLOS ONE 16(4): e0249817.15 April 2021

Eunjin Cho, Matthew R. Mysliwiec, Clayton D. Carlson, Aseem Ansari, Robert J. Schwartz, and Youngsook Lee. “Cardiac-specific developmental and epigenetic functions of Jarid2 during embryonic development.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. June 2018.

Clayton D. Carlson. “Deeply Connected to God’s Good World, the Human Microbiome.” Christian Scholar’s Review. XLVI:2. Winter 2017.

Derek Frejd, Kiera Dunaway , Jennifer Hill , Jesse Van Maanen , Clayton Carlson. “The Genomic and Morphological Effects of Bisphenol A on Arabidopsis thaliana” PLOS One. 2016 September 15.

Clayton D. Carlson. Transgenerational Epigenetic InheritancePerspectives on Science and the Christian Faith. 2014, June.

Matthew J.  Brody, Matthew R. Mysliwiec, Tae-gyun Kim, Clayton D. Carlson, Eunjin Cho, Kyu-Ho Lee, and Youngsook Lee. “Lrrc10 is a novel cardiac-specific target gene of Nkx2-5 and GATA4” Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. 2013
September 1.

Matthew R. Mysliwiec, Clayton D. Carlson, Josh Tietjen, Holly Hung, Aseem Z. Ansari and Youngsook Lee. “Jarid2 (JUMONJI, at rich interactive domain 2) regulates notch1 expression via histone modification in the developing heart”. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2012 January 6.

Peterson-Kaufman, KJ; Carlson, CD; Rodríguez-Martínez, JA.; Ansari, AZ “Nucleating the Assembly of Macromolecular Complexes”.  ChemBioChem. 2010 September 24.

Clayton D. Carlson*, Christopher L. Warren*, Karl E. Hauschild, Mary S. Ozers, NaveedaQadir, DeveshBhimsaria, Youngsook Lee, Franco Cerian and Aseem Z. Ansari. Specificity Landscapes of DNA binding molecules predict biological function.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2010 February 22.

Badis G, Chan ET, van Bakel H, Pena-Castillo L, Tillo D, Tsui K, Carlson CD, Gossett AJ, Hasinoff MJ, Warren CL, Gebbia M, Talukder S, Yang A, Mnaimneh S, Terterov D, Coburn D, Yeo AL, Xuan Yeo Z, Clarke ND, Lieb JD, Ansari AZ, Nislow C, and Hughes TR.  A new library of yeast transcription factor motifs reveals a widespread function for Rsc3 in targeting nucleosome exclusion at promoters.  Molecular Cell. 2008 Dec 24.

Hauschild KE, Carlson CD, Denato LJ, Moretti R, Ansari AZ.  Transcription Factors. In Wiley Encyclopedia of Chemical Biology. Edited by T. Begley. John Wiley and sons. 4:566-584 2008 May 15.

Keles S, Warren CL, Carlson CD, Ansari AZ.  CSI-Tree: A regression tree approach for modeling binding properties of DNA-binding molecules based on cognate site identification (CSI) data.  Nucleic Acids Research. 2008 Apr 13

Honors and Awards

Center for Teaching and the Good Life Summer Grant  (Summer 2022)

Elected as a Fellow of Sigma Xi, Science Research Honor Society (January 2022)

Elected as a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation (July 2020)

Dabar Conference Incentive Grant for new Inq course (July 2020)

SCIO Visiting Scholar in Science and Religion  (2018 – 2020)

Trinity Christian College Professor of the Year  (2018 – 2019)

Regional Discussion Fellow for the Creation Project (2016 – 2022)

Trinity Christian College Student-Faculty collaborative work grant (Winter 2015)

Arnold E. and Catherine M. Denton Mentoring Award (2008)

American Heart Association Greater Midwest Predoctoral Fellowship (2006-2008)

Regional Discussion Fellow, The Creation Project of the Henry Center for Theological Understanding

Professional Society Memberships

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2002-Present
American Chemical Society, 2005-2010

+ Expertise

In Dr. Clay Carlson’s classes, students learn to view science in entirely new ways and to see God clearly. In the Foundation courses, students recognize gifts given to them that they had never before considered. “Recognition of those gifts will lead to praise, changed lives with better health, and more informed conversations with medical professionals,” Carlson believes. In his upper level biology courses, Carlson and his students explore the limits of scientific knowledge. “By learning the limits of the field, students are called to begin their work of expanding those limits.”

What drew him to Trinity:

Carlson was looking for a college where he could take both God and science very seriously. “I feel called to follow God and honor God for all the beautiful works of creation. That means I can only teach at a place that is unafraid of any science, a place that will joyfully engage any scientific result and will seek to praise and honor God through it.”

Research interests:

Carlson is fascinated by many things, but two areas of particular interest include the ways gene expression is regulated in eukaryotic cells and the interpretation of genomic science through the lens of Christian philosophy.

“With one set of instructions (our DNA) we can make skin cells, brain cells, and stomach cells. Through molecular biology we are able to learn how cells accomplish this miraculous feat. Why would anyone study something besides this?!?” His interest in integrating Christian philosophy and science has developed more naturally. “As I have grown in my faith and in my profession, learning how to interweave these sometimes discordant disciplines takes time, effort, and patience.”

When he’s not teaching:

Carlson chases around his kids and talks with his wife. He serves at his church, Hope Church in Oak Forest, and serves on the school board for Southwest Chicago Christian Schools. “I also play instruments, make jam, run, and ride my bicycle. But I have no love for the last two.”

+ Courses, Publications & Research

Read more about Carlson’s research on his website.

Courses

Biology 100 – Introduction to Biological Sciences
Biology 110 – Introduction to Biology
Biology 204 – General Microbiology
Biology 303 – Genetics

Biology 316 – Advanced Molecular Biology
Inq 205 – Biology and Theology in Dialogue
FDN 201 – Creativity, Courage, and Calling

Papers Published and/or Presented

General Interest Publications

The Importance of How We Describe Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

The Redemption of All Genes Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

No One Knows How Hard I Worked Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

The Gifts of Advising Day Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

Those Data Points Are People Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

Kind or Degree Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

Attention and Love Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

Choosing How to Explain the Choice a Virus Makes Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

Counting the Saved Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

What is Won and Lost in a Virtual Lab? Christ Animated Learning Blog.

 

The Gift of Gene Therapy The Reformed Journal.

 

Human Specialness BioLogos.

 

Determinism The Reformed Journal.

 

Prophecy and Climate The Reformed Journal.

 

Ecclesiastes and Science The Reformed Journal.

 

With Gentleness and Reverence BioLogos.

 

Weird Science and Christian Wisdom Think Christian.

 

All Rivers, Great and Small Think Christian.

 

Rethinking Neanderthals Think Christian.

 

Our Bodies as Microbial Communities  Theological Miscellany.

 

Sin, evil, and the Zika virus  Think Christian.

 

It’s time for a Christian consensus on climate change  Think Christian.

 

Embracing the mystery of Biblical miracles  Think Christian.

 

Has a line been crossed in regard to human DNA?  Think Christian.

 

Mice in the image of God?  Think Christian.

 

Bringing pathos into the vaccination conversation  Think Christian.

 

Having “the talk” with college biology students  Think Christian.

 

Thunderstorm at a bus stop  Catapult Magazine.

 

Epigenetics: sign of the Fall or reason for hope?  Think Christian.

 

 

Professional Publications

David Klanderman, Clayton Carlson, Tina Decker, Fred Haan, Victor Norman, Abbie Schrotenboer, Derek Schuurman, James Turner. “Faith Integration in STEM Courses for Undergraduates: Exemplars of Pedagogical Practices” In Press. June 2022.

Catherine L. Van Lonkhuyzen, Tina Decker, and Clayton D. Carlson. “The Christian Nurse’s Role in Antibiotic Stewardship. In Press. June 2022.

Laura Devries, Cara Horstman, Marie Fossell, and Clayton D. Carlson. “Ingestion of Bifidobacterium longum changes miRNA levels in the brains of mice.”  PLOS ONE 16(4): e0249817.15 April 2021

Eunjin Cho, Matthew R. Mysliwiec, Clayton D. Carlson, Aseem Ansari, Robert J. Schwartz, and Youngsook Lee. “Cardiac-specific developmental and epigenetic functions of Jarid2 during embryonic development.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. June 2018.

Clayton D. Carlson. “Deeply Connected to God’s Good World, the Human Microbiome.” Christian Scholar’s Review. XLVI:2. Winter 2017.

Derek Frejd, Kiera Dunaway , Jennifer Hill , Jesse Van Maanen , Clayton Carlson. “The Genomic and Morphological Effects of Bisphenol A on Arabidopsis thaliana” PLOS One. 2016 September 15.

Clayton D. Carlson. Transgenerational Epigenetic InheritancePerspectives on Science and the Christian Faith. 2014, June.

Matthew J.  Brody, Matthew R. Mysliwiec, Tae-gyun Kim, Clayton D. Carlson, Eunjin Cho, Kyu-Ho Lee, and Youngsook Lee. “Lrrc10 is a novel cardiac-specific target gene of Nkx2-5 and GATA4” Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. 2013
September 1.

Matthew R. Mysliwiec, Clayton D. Carlson, Josh Tietjen, Holly Hung, Aseem Z. Ansari and Youngsook Lee. “Jarid2 (JUMONJI, at rich interactive domain 2) regulates notch1 expression via histone modification in the developing heart”. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2012 January 6.

Peterson-Kaufman, KJ; Carlson, CD; Rodríguez-Martínez, JA.; Ansari, AZ “Nucleating the Assembly of Macromolecular Complexes”.  ChemBioChem. 2010 September 24.

Clayton D. Carlson*, Christopher L. Warren*, Karl E. Hauschild, Mary S. Ozers, NaveedaQadir, DeveshBhimsaria, Youngsook Lee, Franco Cerian and Aseem Z. Ansari. Specificity Landscapes of DNA binding molecules predict biological function.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2010 February 22.

Badis G, Chan ET, van Bakel H, Pena-Castillo L, Tillo D, Tsui K, Carlson CD, Gossett AJ, Hasinoff MJ, Warren CL, Gebbia M, Talukder S, Yang A, Mnaimneh S, Terterov D, Coburn D, Yeo AL, Xuan Yeo Z, Clarke ND, Lieb JD, Ansari AZ, Nislow C, and Hughes TR.  A new library of yeast transcription factor motifs reveals a widespread function for Rsc3 in targeting nucleosome exclusion at promoters.  Molecular Cell. 2008 Dec 24.

Hauschild KE, Carlson CD, Denato LJ, Moretti R, Ansari AZ.  Transcription Factors. In Wiley Encyclopedia of Chemical Biology. Edited by T. Begley. John Wiley and sons. 4:566-584 2008 May 15.

Keles S, Warren CL, Carlson CD, Ansari AZ.  CSI-Tree: A regression tree approach for modeling binding properties of DNA-binding molecules based on cognate site identification (CSI) data.  Nucleic Acids Research. 2008 Apr 13

+ Awards & Memberships

Honors and Awards

Center for Teaching and the Good Life Summer Grant  (Summer 2022)

Elected as a Fellow of Sigma Xi, Science Research Honor Society (January 2022)

Elected as a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation (July 2020)

Dabar Conference Incentive Grant for new Inq course (July 2020)

SCIO Visiting Scholar in Science and Religion  (2018 – 2020)

Trinity Christian College Professor of the Year  (2018 – 2019)

Regional Discussion Fellow for the Creation Project (2016 – 2022)

Trinity Christian College Student-Faculty collaborative work grant (Winter 2015)

Arnold E. and Catherine M. Denton Mentoring Award (2008)

American Heart Association Greater Midwest Predoctoral Fellowship (2006-2008)

Regional Discussion Fellow, The Creation Project of the Henry Center for Theological Understanding

Professional Society Memberships

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2002-Present
American Chemical Society, 2005-2010