Tamara McEwen, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology; Chair, Division of Natural Sciences
Email Address
(620) 229-6191

Tamara J. McEwen (Ph.D., University of Missouri) is the Division Chair of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Professor of Biology. Dr. McEwen began at Southwestern College in August of 2011. Dr. McEwen teaches Biology, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Molecular Biology, Shades of Green, and Medical Terminology. 

“My husband and I have two grown sons and nine grandchildren. We also have a spoiled rotten rescue dog named Cupcake. We enjoy sailing and riding our bicycles. I also enjoy running and walking for exercise.”

Academic History 

B.S., Biology Education, Pittsburg State University

M.S., Biology, Pittsburg State University

Ph.D., Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, University of Missouri


  • United Methodist Exemplary Faculty (2019)
  • Charles H. and Verda R. Kopke Award for Distinguished Teaching (2017)
  • Faculty of Distinction, Kansas Independent College Association (2014)
  • Fassnacht Outstanding Faculty, Southwestern College (2014)
  • Faculty Member of the Year, SC Student Government Association (2019, 2014)
  • Phenomenal Woman, Southwestern College Diversity Council (2013)
  • Honorable Mention, Poster Competition, Intl. C. elegans Meeting, (2009)
  • University of Missouri Life Sciences Fellow, 8-05 to 7-09
  • 1st Place PSU Graduate Student Research Colloquium (2004)
  • Graduated Summa cum Laude & with Honors in Biology (undergraduate)


  • McEwen, Tamara J., Q. Yao, S.Yun, C. Lee, and Karen Bennett (2016). Small RNA in situ hybridization in Caenorhabditis elegans, combined with RNA-seq, identifies germline-enriched microRNAS. Developmental Biology. 418:248-257.
  • Beshore, Erica L., Tamara J. McEwen, M.C. Jud, J.K. Marshall, J.A. Schisa, and Karen L. Bennett (2011). C. elegans Dicer interacts with the P-granule component GLH-1 and both localize to nuclear pores.  Developmental Biology 350(2):370-381.
  • Chen, A., B. Gao, J. Zhang, T. McEwen, S.Q. Ye, D. Zhang, and D. Fang (2009). The HECT-type E3 ubiquitin ligase AIP2 inhibits activation–induced T-cell death by catalyzing EGR2 ubiquitination. Molecular & Cellular Biology 19:5348-56.
  • Orsborn, A. M., W. Li, T.J. McEwen, T. Mizuno, E. Kuzmin, K. Matsumoto, and K.L. Bennett (2007).  GLH-1, the C. elegans P granule protein, is controlled by the JNK KGB-1 and by the COP9 subunit CSN-5.  Development 134:3383-3392.


The focus of research in the Bennett Laboratory was germline development in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. Most of their research focused on a group of proteins known as the germline RNA helicases, or GLH’s, which are constitutive components of germline specific RNA and protein aggregates known as P granules. The Bennett laboratory discovered an interaction between GLH-1 and Dicer-1, the ribo endonuclease is responsible for processing microRNAs. Dr. McEwens project involved investigating the role of GLH-1 in relation to Dicer-1 in the microRNA pathway in the C. elegans germline.          

Dr. McEwens MS project and thesis entailed cloning a potential antibiotic producing gene, the soybean glucanase gene pBRU1, into a yeast shuttle vector, inducing protein production and purifying the glucanase encoded by this gene with the goal of quantifying the antimicrobial effects of the protein.

Lecture/Speaking Engagement Topics

Dr. McEwen is available to lecture or speak on:

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
Tamara McEwen, Ph.D.
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