Meet the Faculty
Douglas Hirzel (Professor)Science and Technology - Biology
Doug’s grew up hiking and camping with his family, watching nature documentaries on television and visiting natural history museums. It was during a third grade field trip to the tide pools in Half Moon Bay that Doug’s dream of becoming a biologist was first sparked. During high school his most beloved class was Field Biology and he was more intent on becoming a certified scuba diver than getting his driver’s license. In college, he studied marine biology, volunteered with peregrine falcon conservation/recovery efforts and with research projects studying cognition in sea lions. He earned his bachelor’s degree from U.C. Santa Cruz and then worked in the aquaculture industry, the U.S. Forest Service, and in Environment, Health & Safety for an petroleum research company. Ultimately Doug realized that teaching biology would be the best use his passion and talents and so he earned a M.S. in zoology at the University of Idaho where he published research related to reproductive physiology.
After completing teaching and research stints in Washington and Nevada, Doug returned to his California roots and joined the faculty at Cañada in 2000. He loves teaching, learning how to teach more effectively, and sharing the amazing design and function of the human body with his anatomy and physiology students. He hopes they will all become passionate and outstanding healthcare providers and advocates for their patients, friends, and families.
Danielle Behonick (Professor)Science and Technology - Health Science
Dani Behonick was born and raised in New Jersey but lost the funny accent when she moved to Boston and earned her B.S. in Biology from Boston College. While in Boston she learned to play the tuba and also researched prostate cancer at Children’s Hospital. She then pursued her doctoral degree in Biomedical Science at the University of California, San Francisco, thereby succeeding in moving even farther away from home. During her graduate studies she completed a summer internship in breast cancer therapeutics at Biogen Idec and developed a love for two-tailed T-tests. She earned her PhD in 2007, focusing on the role of the extracellular matrix in bone development and repair. She then began teaching courses in General Biology, Human Physiology, Microscopy and Good Laboratory Practices at Merritt College and for the UC Berkeley Extension Program, and working in support roles with both the UCSF Center for Gender Equity and the UCSF LGBT Resource Center. Dani joined the faculty of the Biology and Health Science departments at Cañada College in January 2009. She currently spends half of her time teaching pre-allied health students how the human body works and how to talk to their future health care patients, and the other half teaching non-science majors how the human body works and how to talk to their health care providers. Glitter, data and zombie movies are a few of her favorite things.
Carol Rhodes (Professor)Science and Technology - Biology
Dr. Rhodes became interested in biology from an early age, and decided to pursue this interest at UC Davis. There are plenty of new discoveries with plants that are made at Davis and that inspired her to continue learning in graduate school. Her advisor said, “Go elsewhere to broaden your views”, and she ended up in Minnesota, earning a M.S. in Plant Physiology and a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics.
Five winters later, she moved back to California and a research position at a startup company doing genetic research with crops. Ultimately, she switched to teaching and now teaches Organismal Biology and Human Biology. Genetics is still her favorite topic. Prof. Rhodes also leads several grants within the Science & Technology Division, all aimed at improving student success in STEM fields.
Nathan Staples (Professor)Science and Technology - Biology
Nathan was born and raised in Pomona, California, the youngest of 5 children born over a 25-year range (4 boys and 1 girl). Nathan graduated as valedictorian and a varsity wrestler from Damien High School in La Verne, CA, and went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Biology from Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles California. He has been an enthusiastic artist since childhood, and also earned Minor emphases in Studio Art and Biochemistry from LMU. Nathan always has had a desire to teach, and as his interests grew in molecular biology and microbiology, he decided to pursue a Doctoral degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara to be able to teach at the college level. He earned his Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from UCSB in 2002, studying modifications of the host plant cell wall in legumes (namely alfalfa) during invasion and colonization of plant tissues by the beneficial symbiotic bacteria, rhizobium (Sinorhizobium meliloti). His Doctoral dissertation is entitled Symbiosis-Induced Modification of Legume Cell Walls in Response to Nitrogen-fixing Rhizobia. Nathan has continuing interests in bacterial interactions with plant and animal hosts, resulting in either beneficial or pathogenic relationships.
In his free time, Nathan loves to play with his family (wife, Michelle and grade-schoolers Sarah and Matthew), play and watch basketball (BIG Lakers and LMU Lions fan!), go bicycling, sing barbershop quartet harmony, practice wrestling and Judo, enjoy the outdoors, play softball, and draw, sculpt or paint - particularly the human figure.