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A research career that began in Lafayette's honors program raising Mexican swordtail fish to study the effects of crowding on ovaries has led Christopher P. Phelps '65 to be selected chair of the department of anatomy at the College of Medicine of the Health Sciences Center at the University of South Florida, Tampa.

“I was especially influenced by two biology professors in my choice of career and my research, Dr. Robert S. Chase and Dr. Louis T. Stableford, ” says Phelps, who graduated with honors in biology. “Dean Chase was my teacher in comparative anatomy and my mentor in research. The study involved an experimental design that necessitated I raise a large number of swordtail fish from infancy. In June 1964, Dean Chase was kind enough to drive his Volkswagen microbus to transport a large number of young fish and numerous aquaria from Easton to my home in Plainfield, N.J. This made it possible to continue my project over the summer and bring my fish back in the fall to complete the work. He was also an excellent teacher and I learned a lot about novel ways of teaching anatomy, which I still use today in the teaching of human anatomy and medical neuroscience to first-year medical students.”

Both Chase and Stableford encouraged Phelps to become a laboratory assistant, working with biology laboratory associate Dr. Mary Jane Bradford, and to continue his studies. “I was successful in applying to an NIH-sponsored summer program in endocrinology at Rutgers University, which was run by an old friend of Dr. Stableford's,” says Phelps. “My postdoctoral work at UCLA was done with a classmate of Dr. Stableford's at Yale.”

Phelps joined USF in 1976 and has been professor of anatomy since 1992. He has a Ph.D. in endocrinology-zoology from Rutgers University.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles