100% of the Biology Department’s full-time professors have Ph.D.s. They also have expertise in multiple areas of their respective disciplines. This gives the students a broad integrative approach to each course taken. Faculty seek to provide an educational experience that integrates academic excellence with Christian character, world view, and service.

Cecil Miller, Ph.D.

Cecil Miller, Ph.D.

Biology Chair, Professor of Physiology and Cell & Molecular Biology

B.A., Southern California College (now Vanguard University of Southern California)
Ph.D., Loma Linda University
EMBA, Drucker School of Management

About Dr. Miller

Dr. Miller has his Masters degree studies focused on neurophysiology. Ph.D. studies focused on cell physiology as applied to cancer biology. Various phytochemicals were tested as to their efficacy in inhibiting the carcinogenic effects of tobacco products. Dr. Miller completed a 3 year post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Southern California (USC) Norris Cancer Center where he studied the genetic changes resulting in cell immortality and mechanisms of chemical carcinogenics. Author of numerous articles in professional journals and presenter of papers at professional society meetings.

Besides teaching and research Dr. Miller has held numerous administrative positions at Vanguard including department chair, division chair, dean, and associate provost.

Roxanna Ochoa, Ph.D.

Roxanna Ochoa, Ph.D.

Biology, Assistant Professor of Microbiology

B.S., University of California, Irvine
Ph.D., University of California, Irvine

About Dr. Ochoa

Dr. Ochoa’s areas of emphasis include microbiology, molecular biology and parasitology. Her Ph.D studies at the University of California, Irvine focused on host-parasite interactions by examining biochemical properties of the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. Studies focused on identifying potential drug targets within the parasite by investigating the properties of two conserved biochemical pathways: glycan incorporation and a cytochrome P450 enzyme. Her current research focus is on exploring the biology of human pathogens. Dr. Ochoa has extensive experience mentoring undergraduate students participating in research projects and she hopes to continue training and mentoring undergraduate students investigating pathogenic microorganisms.

Tara M. Sirvent, Ph.D.

Tara M. Sirvent, Ph.D.

Chemistry Chair, Associate Professor of Biochemistry

B.A. 1996, Southern California College (now Vanguard University of Southern California)
Ph.D. 2001, Cornell University

About Dr. Sirvent

Dr. Sirvent’s research interest lies in Natural Products Chemistry with a focus on phytomedicinal plants. She actively recruits undergraduates (especially freshmen) in research. Her students present their research results at National and Regional Conferences. Dr. Sirvent coordinates the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) which affords undergraduates an opportunity to participate in Undergraduate Research (UGR). She is also the faculty sponsor of the student group, SAINTS (Student Affiliates in Natural and Technological Sciences). SAINTS is nationally chartered as a SAACS group (Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society) and Dr. Sirvent is the advisor.

Siaumin Fung, Ph.D.

Siaumin Fung, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics

B.S. 1996, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas
Ph.D. 2003, University of Illinois, at Chicago
Postdoctoral. 2009, University of California, Los Angeles

About Dr. Fung

Dr. Fung is interested to continue her research in Drosophila brain development in particular the role of cadherin in larval and pupal development. Cadherins function as cell connectors, stabilizing and guiding contacts between neighboring cell members in order to guarantee a highly invariant brain architecture. During her postdoctoral research, she concluded that Drosophila DE-cadherin form part of the mechanism that control axon branching and trajectory in the larval brain. The role of E-cadherin during the pupal stage has not been explored. My preliminary studies have shown that E-cadherin expression switches from neuronal cells to the glial cells as Drosophila developed from larval to pupal stage.

It is her goal to continue this exciting research with undergraduate students to unravel the role of E-cadherin in glial cells during Drosophila development.

Adjunct Faculty

Mitch Hopkins, D.C.
Adjunct Professor Biology
B.A., Excelsior College
D.C., Southern California University of Health ScienceDr. Hopkins has appeared on numerous radio education shows, as well as The Discovery Channel where he was interviewed on his methodologies and treatments of ADD/ADHD, nutrition and brain rhythm function.Email: drhopkins@pearlm.com

Itzel Calleja-Macias, PhD.
Adjunct Professor of Biology
Ph.D., Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon
Email: itzel.CallejaMacias@vanguard.edu

Biology Adjunct Office: (714) 619-6466


Chris Taylor; chris.taylor@vanguard.edu; (714) 619-6461; Laboratory Coordinator; B.S. in Biology

Sharon Fissette; sfissette@vanguard.edu; (714) 619-6460; Admin Assistant