Holistic Biology strives for a synthesis of broad experiences. Accordingly, this course will be jointly taught by several professors representing a range of perspectives.
William Gilly is a professor in Biolgical Sciences at Hopkins Marine Station.
Chuck Baxter an Emeritus professor from Hopkins. 
Susan Shillinglaw is a professor of English at San Jose State University and Scholar-in-Residence at the National Steinbeck Center.

William Gilly

Professor Gilly has been at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station since 1980. He unintentionally began his scientific training as a child in Pennsylvania, when he started getting off his school bus at random stops to explore new ways home. He continued more formally in Electrical Engineering at Princeton but wandered into sensory physiology and the nervous system during his junior year. That interest led to graduate study in Physiology and Biophysics at Washington University (St. Louis) and Yale University. Although this training was carried out in medical schools, Gilly discovered the advantages of marine stations and invertebrates during summer courses at Friday Harbor Labs in Puget Sound and at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. During the latter he survived on a diet of squid-stuffed zucchini, which affected him deeply and led to his return to Woods Hole as a postdoctoral fellow (University of Pennsylvania) to study ion channel biophysics using squid giant axon model.

Not surprisingly, Gilly came to Stanford largely because of the availability of squid. Monterey Bay has been the site of commercial squid fishing since the late 19 th century, and that industry continues today with fishing boats operating within a few hundred yards of his lab at Hopkins Marine Station. ButHopkins has also been home to invertebrate zoologists and ecologists for an equally long time, and the presence of these local species turned out to be equally important. During Gilly’s 25 years of squid research, he has moved steadily from a strictly molecular-cellular-physiological level to an organismal-behavioral one, and this in turn has led to the ecological level. His current research is focused on the jumbo squid, Dosidicus gigas, in the Sea of Cortez and integrates oceanographic parameters, behavioral aspects of the squid, and sociological features that are relevant to the commercial fishery for this species.

In 2004, Dr. William Gilly served as Director and Chief Scientist of the Sea of Cortez Expedition and Education Project, an 8-week journey throughout Mexico's Sea of Cortez that retraced the legendary 1940 trip made by writer John Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed Ricketts. As the 1940 team wrote, "We wanted to see everything our eyes would accommodate." By visiting the same sites at the same time of year, the 2004 team's goal was to see today's Sea of Cortez through their own eyes, as well as those of Steinbeck and Ricketts, and to document changes in this mythical place. This expedition has directly led to the current Holistic Biology course.


Chuck Baxter

My commitment to holism has grown from a career of developing diverse interests in biology -- to become a naturalist and to support students who ask questions of organisms in nature. The answers have become increasingly multifaceted.

My introduction to nature began as a child when my parents spent weekends gardening or in the country and on the seashore. In college I was headed for a respectable career in engineering when a friend introduced me to diving in the kelp forests of southern California. I was seduced by the tasty and beautiful inverts to switch my major to biology.

From 1961 to 1993 I taught biology at Stanford and Hopkins Marine Station. My areas of interest focused on the structure and function of animals, how they had evolved, how they operated in natural systems and how humans were impacting those systems. For a few years I was part of the concept and planning group for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. From 1988 to 1996 I had a part time appointment doing benthic ecology in the Monterey Canyon using MBARI’s ROV. From 1996 to 2003 I did concept and content development for Sea Studios Foundation television production company.

I have long-standing interest and ongoing collaborations on climate forcing of coastal communities and the biogeographic responses of species along the Pacific coast. In 2004, after more than 50 years of personal explorations of Baja – roaming the deserts, fishing, diving, exploring the intertidal -- I participated in the Sea of Cortez Expedition and Education Project. On this journey we conducted field studies and examined the historical ecology of the Baja peninsula and Sea of Cortez, using the baseline set by Steinbeck and Ricketts in 1940. An even more rigorous historical comparison of intertidal communities is possible right here at Hopkins Marine Station. A baseline for study was established by the Hewatt transect in 1932, and a continuous intertidal temperature record plus many subsequent studies provide the setting to examine climate forcing.


Susan Shillinglaw, Ph.D.
San Jose State University

Susan Shillinglaw is a Professor of English at San Jose State University, Scholar-in-Residence at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas and a visiting instructor in Holistic Biology. For the past 18 years, she has taught Steinbeck courses, edited a Steinbeck journal and published on Steinbeck—her children complain that she can turn any conversation around to John Steinbeck, man or his work. Her keen interest in all things Steinbeckian (including his long-standing friendship with Ed Ricketts) shapes her new book, A Journey into Steinbeck’s California, which examines the impact of place on Steinbeck’s creative vision. It will be published in February 2006.

She has published many essays on Steinbeck as well as introductions to Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row, and A Russian Journal for the Penguin New American Library. She is currently working on a new introduction to The Winter of Our Discontent, one of Steinbeck’s most problematic texts (and inspired by an early 1960’s quiz show scandal). She is also working on a short biography of Steinbeck and another on his first wife, the feisty and creative Carol Henning Steinbeck. Theirs was a collaborative marriage, a true artistic partnership.

Professor Shillinglaw was born in Iowa , grew up in Colorado , graduated from Cornell College in Iowa and received her PhD at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Her first job was in Buffalo , New York , and she has been in California since 1984. In 2003, 30 years after graduating from Cornell College , she was recognized as the “distinguished undergraduate” from her class—her most meaningful award.