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Faculty spotlight: George Bousfield

In his sophomore year at the University of Michigan, George Bousfield participated in a multi week introductory biology lab experiment that involved the in vitro fertilization of frog eggs. He followed the development of the frog embryos over several weeks, and noticed the lab handouts included information about hormones that were used to mature the frog eggs at a time of year when frogs in the wild were buried in the mud. This lab series began his interest in reproductive research, and when he was a senior at Saginaw Valley State College he took a course in endocrinology to find out what these hormones were. He realized then he wanted to work with reproductive hormones. The professor of the course, Walt Rathkamp, was a reproductive endocrinologist.

“He was so enthusiastic that he got me fascinated with gonadotropins,” Bousfield says. When Bousfield worked on his doctorate at Indiana University, he trained in the same lab as Rathkamp had, and under the same Ph.D. mentor, Frank Zeller.

After leaving Indiana, Bousfield spent 13 years at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston working with glycoprotein hormones. The exacting lab work would pay great dividends for him at Wichita State.

“Of George’s lengthy record of successful research initiatives at WSU, particularly spectacular is his newest accomplishment as a grant-funded scientist,” says William Hendry, chair of biological sciences. “It was the product of vast experience, extremely sound and innovative scientific insight, and dogged leadership, team-building and administrative skills.”

Born in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, Bousfield moved to the Midwest as a young child and completed his education here. Much of his time outside of teaching and research is dedicated to his wife, Helen, and their 14-year-old twins, Sarah and George. It was the twins who introduced him to his main hobby: ice skating. On a 104-degree July day several years ago, he signed up the twins for skating lessons at the Wichita Ice Center. Before long, he and Helen were enrolled in lessons for adults and skating is something he still enjoys.

Bousfield came to WSU in 1991. He earned his doctoral and master’s degrees in zoology from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and biology from Saginaw Valley State University.

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