Christopher Harendza

Professor & Coordinator of Biology

Montgomery County Community Colllege

Blue Bell, PA

Courses I Teach  

BIO 152 Principles of Biology II - Science Majors

BIO 260 - Genetics

BIO 131 Human Anatomy & Physiology I

BIO 132 Human Anatomy & Physiology II

Note: all course information is on BlackBoard

Contact me if  you need a syllabus 


Current Schedule

Contact Information

About Me

Biology Links

Philadeophia. Inquirer. article about 
MCCC' Biology Department - must see


Updated For 20i6


Contact Information for Christopher Harendza

Biology Department
Science Center Room 332
Montgomery County Community College
340 DeKalb Pike
Blue Bell, PA   19422
Office Phone and Voice mail: 215-619-7458



BIO 131 HYB Anatomy & Physiology I Tues 6:00 - 9:00 PM, Onlline SC 307
BIO 132 EC:  Anatomy & Physiology II Mon & Wed 1:30 - 4:30 PM SC 307
BIO 132 GC:  Anatomy & Physiology II Mon & Wed 5:30 - 8:30 PM SC 307
BIO 260 Genetics Tues & Thurs  8:30-11:30 AM SC 306



Monday and Wednesday 12:45 - 1:15 and 4:45-5:15 PM

Tuesday and Thursday 7:45-8:15

Tuesday 5:15-5:45

By appointment or any other time I am free.





About Dr. H.

There is no doubt that modern biology is having an impact on society far greater than any development throughout all of human history.  The genetic mapping and DNA sequencing of the entire genomes of several organisms has been accomplished and the human genome project is now 100% done. In the near future, the cost of sequencing an individuals genome is projected to be $1,000. The CRISPR-CAS system now allows us to manipulate any genome in nearly any way we wish. A "brave new world" of genetic manipulation is reality.  Despite such "advances," humankind is causing the sixth mass extinction of species on earth.  While it may seem important to understand biology so that we can live healthy lives, it is of far greater importance to understand our role as members of the "organism" called earth so that we may preserve the biosphere, as we now know it, for generations to come.  To achieve this goal, it is essential that all members of society understand the fundamental concepts of biology.  The community college is the place where all people, regardless of age or academic goals, can attain that goal of inner and community health.

I grew up in Binghamton, New York and graduated from publiv schools which were excellent, although I did not realize that at the time. Broome Community College was my first choice for college, mostly because I had no intention of leaving home and had little money.  I would make that same decision again-it was a good experience. I then moved to Fredonia, New York in 1981 to attend the State University College where I learned how to learn Biology.  I spent the latter part of the 1980s in graduate school at Ohio State University in Columbus, which was the most challenging experience of my life. Some of my favorite teachers were Mr. Polcyn, Mrs. Sherman  and Mr. Ottoviani and Professors Borski, Long, Flynn, Yunghans, Dunham, Fox, Vanin, Marzluff and Johnson. These folks had great impact on me and I will never forget them.  

I did postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania. I became disillusioned with the "business" of research and began teaching at Montgomery County Community College. Being a teaching professor is not easy job but the classroom is enjoyable and I really enjoy learning about so many areas of biology.     I really like the mix of students at MCCC.

I am an gym rat and avid cyclist and love animals (especially my cats) and gardening.  I am a big fan of alternative music, whatever that means these days.  After being weaned on  Black Sabbath and Deep Purple I de-evolved and was evicted from my neighborhood;  I spent a lot of time slamming in the pit to the DKs, Husker Du, Black Flag and all the great ones.  Henry Rollins is my favorite. I love Hank Williams III (Hank III). I like cooking (and eating) spicy food, traveling, hiking, photography, reading, writing, and spending time at my cottage on Seneca Lake in New York.


Academic Experience

Post-doctoral Research Associate, University of Pennsylvanian the laboratory of Dr. Ralph Brinter. 1990-1991. Performed research in the area of mammalian germ cell biology using molecular genetics and transgenic animal technology.

Ph.D., Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology, 1989, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio in the laboratory of Dr. Lee Johnson. Taught General Biology (majors and non-majors) and assisted in Molecular Genetics. Performed research on mammalian gene expression using molecular genetics; Dissertation Title: Processing (Polyadenylation) of Mouse Thymidylate Synthase Messenger RNA.

B.S. in Biology and B.S. in Medical Technology, 1984. State University of New York, College at Fredonia.

A.A.S. in Medical Laboratory Technology, 1981. SUNY Broome Community College

New York State Regents Diploma, 1979. Binghamton Central High School.


Rhim, Jonathan A., Connor, Wayne, Dixon, Gordon H., Harendza, Christopher J., Evenson, Donald P., Palmiter, Richard D. and Brinster, Ralph L. Expression of an Avian Protamine in Transgenic Mice Disrupts Chromatin Structure in Spermatozoa Biology of Reproduction. Vol. 52, pp. 20- 32. (1995)

Zambrowicz, Brian P., Zimmermann, James W., Harendza, Christopher J., Simpson, Elizabeth M., Page, David P., Brinster, Ralph L., and Palmiter, Richard D. Expression of a Mouse Zfy-1/lacZ Transgene in the Somatic Cells, of the Embryonic Gonad and Germ Cells of the Adult Testis. Development. Vol. 120, pp. 1549-1559. (1994)

Zambrowicz, Brian P., Harendza, Christopher J., Zimmermann, James W., Brinster, Ralph L., and Palmiter, Richard D. Analysis of the Mouse Protamine 1 Promoter in Transgenic Mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. Vol. 90, pp. 5071-5075. (1993)

Harendza, Christopher J. and Johnson, Lee F. Polyadenylation Signal of the Mouse Thymidylate Synthase Gene was Created by Insertion of an L1 Repetitive Element Downstream of the Open Reading Frame. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. Vol. 87, pp. 2531-2535. (1990)

Harendza, Christopher J. and Johnson, Lee. F. 3' Processing of Mouse Thymidylate Synthase mRNA-Unusual sequence requirements for polyadenylation at the termination codon. Cold Spring Harbor RNA Processing Symposium. (1989)

DeWille, James W., Harendza, Christopher J., Jenh, Chung-Her, and Johnson, Lee F. Analysis of the Multiple 5' and 3' Termini of Poly(A)+ and Poly(A)-deficient Thymidylate Synthase mRNA in Growth Stimulated Mouse Fibroblasts. The Journal of Cellular Physiology. Vol. 138, pp. 358-366. (1989)

DeWille, James W., Jenh, Chung-Her, Deng, Tiliang., Harendza, Christopher J., and Johnson, Lee F. Construction and Expression of Mouse Thymidylate Synthase Minigenes. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Vol. 263, pp. 84-91. (1988)

Click on pubmed for links to abstracts / summaries of these publications


Grants, Honors, Awards

Recipent of  National Science Foundation grant "Integration of Computational Biology & Bioinformatics into Freshman and Sophomore Biology Courses."  Total award $98,277.  October 2004-October 2008.

Served as an invited reviewer for the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Educations Course, Curriculum & Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program.  Arlington, Virginia, January, 2003.

Recipient of a Research Opportunity Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to work in the lab of Dr. Phil Meneely in the Biology Department at Haverford College. Studied the expression of the HIM-5 gene of Caenorhabditis elegans, whose gene product is involved in disjunction (separation) of chromosomes during formation of eggs and sperm.  Summer 1998.

Served as an invited reviewer for the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Educations Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement (ILI) program.  Arlington, Virginia, January, 1998.

Recipient of $5,000 Montgomery County Community College Foundation Grant to expand the use of Computer Aided Instruction/Multimedia in Anatomy & Physiology. July, 1995.

Recipient of the Carcinogenesis Training Grant for Pre-doctoral Fellows from the National Institute of Health while at Ohio State University, 1987-1989.

First place awards in Ohio State University, Department of Molecular Genetics/Molecular Biology Program Graduate Research Colloquiums, 1987 and 1988.

Second place award in the Beta Beta Beta Honor Society District III Undergraduate Research Symposium, 1984.

Teaching Philosophy

I have never taken an education class in my life and go by instinct, relying on the 30+ years I have spent in college classrooms, laboratories and hospitals.  I have had many great teachers and my fair share of lousy ones, so I use these experiences as my guide.  I try my best to keep up with the major education literature but get frustrated with the fads and buzz-words that surface. I've been told that I have very high standards.  That is surely a complement because I think this is one area of higher education that is going down the toilet.  The standard a teacher sets is probably the most important motivation for students.  Biology is not about memorizing facts; rather, it is about application of common principles to arrive at an understanding of phenomena.  Consequently, while my assessments test for factual knowledge, there are many application and thinking questions.  If you don’t use the facts, they are quickly forgotten.  It is more important to learn to think and analyze.

It is important for me to be organized and give my students a very clear idea of what is expected of them so I provide extensive detailed syllabi, study questions, and notes on my web page for my courses.   It would be ideal if I had the ability to entice all of my students into asking thoughtful, probing questions and approach the material through discussion.  However, things are rarely ideal and most students learn in different ways.   In non-majors biology I tend to lecture quite a bit, mostly because the students are struggling with material that often is not in their primary interest and tend to be hesitant in class discussion.  However, I avoid straight lecture and continuously try to ask questions.  My goal is to get students involved and relate new material to old material; if linkages are not made, then it is unlikely real learning will occur.  I take a similar approach in Anatomy and Physiology.  A major problem with this course is the volume of material, all very important to the student's future, which requires that I use many handouts and note outlines.  Many of these are being posted on this web page.  In majors biology, the future success of the student depends heavily upon how well they master the foundation of material in freshman biology.  More importantly, these students must be trained to think like scientists.  To achieve that goal, the majors biology class is based heavily on independent work, discussion, problem solving and writing.  Students must have a reasonable command of material to be discussed that day before they come to class.

I try to be as visual as possible and utilize graphic depiction, e.g. overhead transparencies, slides, computer based presentation (hopefully with animation, although this takes a whole lot of time to do),  and the chalkboard (an ingenious "technology" which I will never let them remove from my room!)  Of course I try not to be boring and do my best to vary class activities as much as possible, e.g. lecture, discussion, group work, lab, etc.

Finally, I feel it is very important to care about students.  No, this does not mean everyone gets a C for attending.   One of the bad parts of freshman and sophomore education in the large universities is that the classes are often have 100 to 500 students, making it nearly impossible for a professor, if you are lucky enough to actually have one, to teach and take an active interest in student learning.  I love that our classes at the college are small and intimate, allowing real teaching.  Moreover, our biology department has many excellent professors and instructors, one of which was recently featured in one of a series of articles on higher education in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1996.  Whle very old, the series dealt with "Higher Education:  How High the Price." and the last article, "Comparing Classes at Penn and Montco", featured Professor Al Baccari (retired)

The biology department at MCCC is just as good or better than any four-year school in the area and I am proud to be part of this team.


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