In 1991, College of the Canyons began showcasing works of art from our academic departments on covers of our college catalogs.  These have included works from two art instructors, an art student, a mathematics instructor, a computer electronics instructor and a student from the multimedia program.  In keeping with our intention to define "art" in the broadest possible way, our 2000-2001 college catalog cover featured the beauty found in a simple petri dish - the "art" of biology lead instructor Don Takeda.  It was simple statement symbolizing both the beauty of the natural world and the incredible significance of new discoveries and advances in biotechnology.

Donald Takeda

Donald Takeda, lead faculty member in biological sciences, has taught at College of the Canyons since January 1972.  Growing up in the Central Valley, attending University of California at Berkeley and receiving his master's degree in botanical sciences from California State University - Los Angeles, Mr. Takeda was hired as our second biology instructor.  He joined Mr. James Boykin and taught every course in the biology department and some courses in the math department as well.  Mr. Takeda took primary responsibility for developing and teaching courses in botany and microbiology.  Many of his students have gone on to become teachers, pharmacists, veterinarians, nurses, medical doctors and biological researchers.

Mr. Takeda has seen many changes in the biological field and has incorporated these changes, where possible, into our curriculum.  He played a pivotal role in upgrading molecular-cellular biology, organismal biology and establishing our biotechnology program, which will provide unique opportunities for many of our students.  This program now includes such courses as Introduction to Biotechnology and Methods in Biotechnology; and includes a certificate component which will enable students with skills to access entry level positions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Besides dealing with the challenges in his subject area, Mr. Takeda has also provided oversight for a major remodel of biology classrooms and laboratories.  The last remodel included creation of a biotechnology laboratory, a dedicated computer laboratory and a greenhouse.  These newer and existing facilities are now comparable to any in the state.  Plans for an additional science building with more classrooms, laboratories and facilities are in the stages of preparation now.  His other primary challenge is one he shares with his wife Cindee --- raising their two children, Cameron and Phoebe.
Image of Serratia marcescens.  Mr. Takeda took the photograph of this Serratia marcescens culture during Spring Semester 1999 using an Olympus digital camera.  The culture is contained in a petri dish, which is backed by a grid from a Quebec colony counter to assist students in monitoring the bacteria's growth and population.
Serratia marcescens is a member of the Enterobacteriaceae family, which are more commonly known as "enterics."  They are gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic rods.  Included in this family are the more familiar bacteria, Escherichia coli and food-borne Salmonella.
Serratia marcescens is distinguished by its vivid red pigmentation.  The detection of its color as an air isolate has been utilized to determine air dispersal of bacteria.  Colors are highly useful in the clinical characterization and identification of microorganisms.
Epidemiologically, pigmentation can be a useful clue in the identification and distribution of an organism that causes a particular disease.  The acquisition of a color in organisms initially without pigmentation is often demonstrated in bacterial transformation exercises in molecular biology courses.  These exercises are the foundation for understanding gene editing and the
resultant recombinant DNA technology employed in biotechnology.