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Trent Dee Stephens, PhD
I have been involved in science since I was about eleven years old. I have BS degrees in Microbiology and Zoology (BYU, 1973). I also have an MS in Zoology (BYU, 1974) and a PhD in Anatomy (Univ. Pennsylvania, 1977). I completed postdoctoral research in Pediatrics (Univ. Washington, 1977-1981). I have been teaching Anatomy and Developmental Biology at Idaho State University since 1981.
My Expanded Biography
Trent D. Stephens, PhD Biography:
I grew up in southern Idaho and graduated from Raft River High School, Malta, Idaho, in 1966. I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Michigan and Indiana (Great Lakes, 1967-1969). I attended Brigham Young University (BYU) 1966-1967 and 1969-1974, where I met the love of my life, Kathleen Brown. We have five children, fifteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
I graduated from BYU in 1973 with a BS in Microbiology and a BS in Zoology. I then earned an MS in Zoology from BYU in 1974. As a graduate student there, I taught my first laboratory course in Embryology. I then attended the University of Pennsylvania, where I was a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fellow in the Medical School, Department of Anatomy, and earned a PhD in Anatomy in 1977. While at Penn, I volunteered to help teach the Embryology laboratory course in the Veterinary Medicine School. I was an NIH post-doctoral Fellow in Pediatrics at the University of Washington (UW), School of Medicine, from 1977 to 1981. During my postdoc, I wanted some more teaching experience, so I voluntarily taught in the Musculoskeletal Anatomy course for medical students and the Head and CNS Anatomy course for dental students. Also, for two years at the UW, I was in charge of my own very large undergraduate Anatomy lecture course (about 350 students), where I designed my own course and all the lectures. I also designed my own laboratory classes for that course, where I had six TAs assisting me. While a post-doc at the UW, I published my first book, the Atlas of Human Embryology, in 1979.
In 1981 I took a position teaching Anatomy and Developmental Biology in the Idaho Dental Education Program at Idaho State University (ISU). This was a brand new program for dental students in their first year of dental school and I created a large portion of the curriculum. I developed and taught (both lecture and lab): Gross Anatomy, Head and Neck Anatomy, Neurobiology, and Oral Histology and Embryology. In addition, I developed and taught a number of classes in other medical programs at ISU: Cross Sectional Anatomy for the Radiology program, Gross Anatomy for the Physician Assistant program, Head and Neck Anatomy for the Dental Hygiene program, Oral Histology and Embryology for the Dental Hygiene program, Anatomy for the Pharmacy program, and Musculoskeletal Anatomy in our graduate program.
I was selected as the ISU Distinguished Teacher (1992) and Outstanding Researcher (2000). I retired in 2011 after teaching at ISU for thirty years. I continue to teach the Gross Anatomy course for the dental students at ISU – which I have been teaching now for 41 years. Also, I was hired to create a Head and Neck Anatomy course and train new faculty in the College of Dental Medicine, DMD program, Roseman University, in South Jordan, Utah, which opened in 2012. In 2018-2019, I was hired for one year to supervise and teach the 80 TAs who teach the Anatomy labs at BYU, while a search was conducted for a full-time faculty position there. I am quite confident that no other anatomist has taught such a wide variety of anatomy courses and for as long as I have.
I have authored or co-authored over thirty books, including several leading-selling Anatomy and Physiology textbooks, with Rod Seeley, a physiologist, I as the anatomist, and Phil Tate, an expert in pedagogy: Anatomy and Physiology, Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, and Understanding the Human Body. Our team of three authors retired from writing the textbooks in 2007, after 25 years, and we picked another team to continue the first two books. What is now called Seeley’s Anatomy and Physiology is in its 13th edition and what is now Seeley’s Essential of Anatomy and Physiology is in its 11th edition. We still receive royalties from both books.
In addition, I have co-authored, with Rock Brynner a historian, the critically acclaimed history of thalidomide, Dark Remedy, the Impact of Thalidomide and its Revival as a Vital Medicine. I am considered one of the world’s leading authorities on thalidomide, which caused one of the world’s greatest birth defects disaster in history, and have been invited to speak at many international conferences. I have also traveled to several countries to evaluate alleged thalidomide victims who had not been previously identified as such – but now are. My research is the study of normal and abnormal biological form, including birth defects – especially of the arms and legs, and I have published approximately one hundred papers and books on the subject, including numerous papers on the mechanism of action of the drug thalidomide in causing birth defects.
I have also authored or co-authored five books on the relationship between science and religion: Evolution and Mormonism: a Quest for Understanding, 2001; Who are the Children of Lehi? DNA and the Book of Mormon, 2007; The Infinite Creation: Unifying Science and Latter-day Saint Theology, 2020; The Infinite Fall: A Scientific Approach to the Second Pillar of Eternity, 2021; and The Immortal Messiah: The Physiology of Resurrected Beings, 2022.
For more details see my Curriculum Vita.
WHAT I DO
I WRITE BOOKS ABOUT SCIENCE AND RELIGION
I WRITE BOOKS ON THEORETICAL BIOLOGY
I HAVE COAUTHORED MANY BOOKS ON ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY
I WRITE BOOKS ABOUT THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE: ESPECIALLY THE DRUG THALIDOMIDE
I WRITE BOOKS ABOUT MEDIEVAL HISTORY
I GIVE TALKS ABOUT HISTORY, SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY
I DESIGN MODEL CASTLES
I DESIGN PARTY SUPPLIES