Faculty Focus: Q&A with Chris Mayne

Monday, February 21, 2022
Chris Mayne

Chris Mayne, an associate professor of biology at Viterbo known for his “super science-dorky sense of humor” and use of science memes and cartoons in class, grew up in Lancaster. He earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville before earning a graduate degree in genetics from the University of Wisconsin.

As a post-doctoral fellow at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, he researched the physiology of the immune system, specifically examining how abnormal immune responses can lead to autoimmune disease. While at MCW, he served as instructor for several classes. He also taught classes as an adjunct professor at Waukesha’s Carroll University.

Chris Mayne and Viterbo student.jpg

Viterbo’s core value of hospitality resonates strongly with Mayne. “As a teacher, I feel that a learning environment is most effective when a teacher creates a hospitable classroom by showing an interest in students, demonstrating an appreciation for the value their diverse experiences add to class, and investing in their individual development,” he said.

One of Mayne’s core traits is enthusiasm. “I am definitely not afraid to ‘nerd out’ about some super cool detail about science or the human body,” said Mayne, who also serves as Viterbo’s pre-health advising coordinator.

A big sports fan and lover of the outdoors, he and his wife have two daughters, ages 9 and 12.

How many years have you taught at Viterbo?

I joined the Viterbo faculty in fall 2014. While visiting Viterbo during the interview process, the faculty and students were so incredibly friendly and welcoming that I knew this was the place for me.

What are your areas of expertise?

Genetics, molecular biology, and immunology. I study the genetics of the immune system and autoimmune diseases like MS, IBD, and lupus. My research centers on immune regulation of microbe-immune interactions, and how this relationship relates to autoimmune disease.

What are you best known for teaching?

Anatomy and physiology for nursing and dietetics students, and immunology, human physiology, and genetics for science and pre-health students. I love teaching and working with students and encouraging them to think for themselves and approach problems as scientists.

What do you love most about teaching at Viterbo?

I am fortunate to have students who are hard-working and are generally interested in the topics I am teaching. I also have colleagues who are dedicated, friendly, and caring. I seek to engage and energize my students both by incorporating active learning and student-centered approaches in the classroom, and with my enthusiastic and passionate attitude toward learning. I also enjoy training young scientists in the lab and utilize my research as another opportunity to promote inquiry-based learning.

What inspires you?

Seeing other people work hard and sacrifice not for economic gain, but to benefit others.