Kathryn Edwards joined the department in 1978, having taught for two years at Rollins College in Florida and completing a two-year post-doctoral program at Yale. She was the first woman tenured in the natural sciences division and the first woman chair of the department.

Her research focused initially on auxin transport in roots turned to investigations of root gravitropism funded by NSF and NASA. These studies led to the first investigations of stretch activated ion channels in plant cells and later in the gravitroping fungus PhycomycesPhycomyces studies led the lab to intriguing cytoskeletal interactions. A switch was made to the protist Dictyostelium in order to follow interest in cytoskeletal interactions, specifically myosin heavy chain regulations during the unusual Dictyostelium life cycle. In 2012 Prof. Edwards began research in the Amazon lowland blackwater rainforest in northeastern Peru.  

She is coordinator for the Kenyon Academic Partnership in Biology and works with high schools across Ohio. Additionally she is adviser to the Kenyon Equestrian Team and she breeds and shows champion Boxer dogs.

Areas of Expertise

Botany, cell physiology, women's and gender studies.


1974 — Doctor of Philosophy from University of North Carolina

1969 — Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College

Courses Recently Taught

Energy flow is a unifying principle across a range of living systems, from cells to ecosystems. With energy flow as a major theme, this course covers macromolecules, cells, respiration and photosynthesis, physiology and homeostasis, population and community interactions, and ecosystems. Throughout the course, the diversity of life is explored. The course also introduces students to the process of scientific thinking through discussion of research methodology and approaches. This course is required for the major and as such, Biology majors should take this class prior to the junior year. No prerequisite. Offered every year. Required for the major although AP or IB credit can be applied against this course.

This course intends to explore the principles of permaculture that link ecology, sustainability and community to farming. It is a holistic alternative to the destructive patterns and chemical abuse of agriculture. Our world is facing a long future of food insecurity as human population rises rapidly and land is turned over to housing and infrastructure. We need to bring ourselves back into balance with nature. In this course, students will learn to apply some of the principles of permaculture to extending a developing academic-year winter-harvest plan on the homestead Kenyon Farm and to year-round prospects. Students enrolling in this spring course will be asked to assist with planting in the late fall with harvesting occurring in winter months of the spring semester when the course is in session. The course is interdisciplinary, linking biology, sociology and sustainable farming strategies. This interdisciplinary course does not count toward the completion of any diversification requirement. Prerequisite: ENVS 112 or BIOL115 or permission of the instructor.