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Brendan Kern, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology
Teacher Advisor
Natural and Behavioral Sciences
Johnson C. Smith University

office: 704-378-1134


Dr. Brendan Kern is an Associate Professor of Biology and the Teacher Advisor for the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Department. They earned their PhD from Baylor College of Medicine in Cell and Molecular Biology and were a member of the SPIRE postdoctoral program at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Their research background is in the area of developmental biology with a focus on gene regulation and they have embarked on a new research project focusing on the impact of water contaminants on the embryonic development of sea urchins. 

In Fall 2021, the Developmental Biology class carried out a CURE where several contaminants were tested and students made observations of the impacts of these contaminants on the embryos. In Spring 2022, this work is being continued in a project with Khadijah Clark focused on the effects of lead-contaminated water on embryonic development. This work has all been made possible through the generous purchase of a reverse osmosis water filtration system used for making artificial seawater. 

In the future, Dr. Kern hopes to expand this work to examine the effect contaminants found by other CRES research to be of local and regional interest. The aim will be to use the sea urchin model to determine the developmental impacts at both a cellular and genetic level. 

As the Teacher Advisor for the NSM Department, Dr. Kern works with students in the areas of academic, professional, and personal advising as well as advocacy work and ongoing research regarding ways to improve academic success for the JCSU student population. 

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