Dr Bond: under the microscope

Dr. Calhoun Bond is a familiar face at Greensboro College. Nearly every student knows him, but where did he get start and what makes him one of Greensboro College’s most admired professors?

Bond’s passion for science and wildlife started at a young age. He has been a bird watcher since age 6 and is extremely well-versed in the Peterson Field Guide (an influential series of field guides used to assist in the identification of birds) as he shared a first edition of it with his grandfather. As he grew older, he found a fondness for fresh-water fish in grade school. Moments like these are what inspired his “evolving relationship,” as Bond calls it, with his love of science.

He attended The University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he earned his bachelor’s in biology. He has a very broad background in biology and states that part of that is because “My parents were very supportive and my college was very supportive.” He also had the opportunity to study in Mexico for his senior thesis where he saw the monarch butterfly colonization. As a result, he had the opportunity to travel to Europe and Asia with the Amherst Glee Club. He enjoys singing to this day. However, with his busy schedule, he has not been able to sing as much as he would like.

Out of undergrad, Bond worked for the state of Maryland and the Baltimore Zoo before going to graduate school at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill where he obtained his doctorate and met his wife. There, a lab in cell and developmental biology led him to his research in sponges.

His most recent publication of his research was in 2013 and videos can be found on his research web-page at calbond.greensboro.edu. His research into sponge motility and morphology is extensive and is referenced in several other articles. His topics of interest include sponge morphology and behavior, which allow him to cross many boundaries in each.

“It’s hard for some of my colleagues to pigeonhole me, and you have to learn to wear many different hats,” he stated.

Bond has since returned to the biology field as a professor. He wishes there were more opportunities for an embryology class at the college, since he is best trained in that, but it is a very tedious class and requires a substantial budget.

Bond also enjoys going to his beach cottage in Delaware that his family has owned since the ‘60s. The histology lab in Proctor Hall West features Bond’s ecosystem that he has built over many years. The salt water tanks feature a 15-year-old yellow tang and sailfin tang, sea sponges and corals, among many other creatures. Bond tends to this ecosystem every day.

Bond stays abreast in his field by subscribing to Science Magazine and a few online forums, including the New York Times Science page. He is also subscribed to Porifera, a 20-year-old sponge network named for the phylum name of sea sponges.

Bond advises students entering the science fields, “Get a summer internship if possible.” He did so as a junior in high school and says that it changed his life.

“If you want to be in the sciences, if you want to be in medicine, you need to have some contact in the research environment,” he said.

As a student, he interned at John Hopkins Department of Pathology for a summer and co-authored a paper.

Bond is a popular professor not just because of his familiar face, but because of his passion for his field and his continued determination to learn more.

Dr. Bond tending to his evolved ecosystem.
Dr. Bond’s sailfin tang and yellow tang, both 15 years old.

By Sarah Justice