Taylor Allen

  • Associate Professor of Biology

Areas of Study


  • BSE, University of Pennsylvania, 1984
  • PhD, University of Washington, 1990
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, 1990–1996


Allen’s research is taking two paths. Illustrative of medical humanities, the first examines ways people have coped and found well-being in dire circumstances. With lenses of physiology and psychology, we are studying selected diaries and personal letters written by people during wartime, from the Crimean War to World War II. Writers include soldiers, nurses, surgeons, and civilians. One goal is to bring the themes that emerge from the diaries and letters into conversation with research literature on well-being. How do the emergent themes support or complicate psychological and physiological hypotheses on well-being and its intersection with the body and health?

The other path concerns teaching for equity and enduring, transferrable understanding in biology. This path asks several questions. How might a teacher prompt learners to adopt deep motivations and strategies for learning? How might a teacher nurture students’ growth in understanding the nature of science, the ways to reason causally, or the skills for creatively solving problems? How might an institution support instructors striving to create transformative, equitable learning or departments endeavoring to shift toward inclusive, evidence-based practices?

Allen’s research has appeared in Biophysical Journal, CBE-Life Sciences Education, and Nature and is currently supported through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Students have contributed as co-authors and have crafted their own pieces of digital scholarship (example 1 and example 2).

Fall 2024

Finding Well-being and Ways Forward Through Adversity — BIOL 003
Physiology — BIOL 312


Maureen Peters Presents with Students

April 14, 2014

Several fourth-year biology students attended the Ohio Physiology Society Annual Meeting at the Northeast Ohio Medical University this Fall with Associate Professor of Biology Maureen Peters. These included members of her lab, Nelson (Trip) Freeburg, Phoebe Hammer, Sam McCright and a member of Associate Professor of Biology Taylor Allen's lab, Helen Rich. The students presented posters describing their respective research projects, while Peters presented a talk entitled "As the Worm Turns: Understanding How an Intestinal Calcium Wave Elicits a Motor Program." Several students received recognition for their work. Phoebe Hammer '14 was awarded a Poster Presentation Prize. Nelson (Trip) Freeburg and Sam McCright both won the Peter K. Lauf Travel award to fund expenses associated with attending the Experimental Biology annual meeting in San Diego, CA in the spring.


Community Partnership Focuses on Accessibility in Science

August 7, 2017

Oberlin Associate Professor of Biology Taylor Allen and Peter Ogbuji, executive director of the Harrison Cultural Community Center, cosponsored a camp to make science more creative and accessible to children in Lorain County.