Dennis Venema, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

Dennis Venema is a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation, and was Fellow of Biology for the BioLogos Foundation from 2011 to 2018. He was a Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) Visiting Scholar in Science and Religion in 2015-2016. He is co-author, with Scot McKnight, of Adam and the Genome (2017).

Ph.D., University of British Columbia, 2003.

B.Sc. (Hons.), University of British Columbia, 1996.


  • Developmental biology
  • Cell and molecular biology
  • Genetics, science education
  • Creationism
  • Intelligent design and evolution

Research in my lab is focused on the genetics of pattern formation and signaling, using the common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. The superior genetic and molecular biology tools available in Drosophila make this organism second to none for developmental biology studies. Current projects include investigating the role of cell-cell junction components in tissue patterning and examining the insulin signaling pathway in flies.

I also conduct education research in the areas of genetics and cell biology. I am particularly interested in developing and evaluating active-learning methods to improve learning outcomes in these areas.

Recent Publications

Peterson, M.L. and Venema, D.R. (forthcoming, 2020) Biology, Religion, and Philosophy: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Venema, D.R. and McKnight, S. (2017). Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture After Genetic Science. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press.

Venema, D.R. (2011). Intelligent design, abiogenesis, and learning from history: a reply to Meyer. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 63 (3), 183-192.

Venema, D.R. (2010). Seeking a signature: essay book review of Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 62 (4), 276-283.

Venema, D.R. (2010). Genesis and the genome: genomics evidence for human – ape common ancestry and ancestral hominid population sizes. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 62 (3), 166-178.

Venema, D.R. (2010). An evangelical geneticist's critique of Reason to Believe's Testable Creation Model. BioLogos Foundation.

Venema, D.R. (2009). Laboratory exercises to examine recombination and aneuploidy in Drosophila. American Biology Teacher 71 (6), 325-332.

Venema, D.R. and Paulton, R. (2009). A Christian Perspective on Biology. In Christian Worldview and the Academic Disciplines: Crossing the Academy, Downey, E.D. and Porter, S.E., Eds.  McMaster Divinity College Press General Series, Wipf and Stock, Eugene, Oregon.

Venema, D.R. (2006). Enhancing undergraduate teaching and research with a Drosophila virginizing system. CBE-Life Sciences Education 5, 353-360.

 Venema, D.R., Ben-Mordehai, T., and Auld, V.J. (2004). Transient apical polarization of Gliotactin and Coracle is required for parallel alignment of wing hairs in Drosophila. Developmental Biology 275, 301-314.

  • Introduction to Evolutionary Theory (BIOL 226)
  • Evolutionary Theory (BIOL 326)
  • Immunology (BIOL 336)
  • Introduction to Genetics (BIOL 371)
  • Advanced Cell and Molecular Biology (BIOL 423)
  • Developmental Neurobiology (BIOL 440)
  • Senior Thesis supervision (BIOL 409/410)