David W. Bollivar, Ph.D.


Miner Linnaeus Sherff Endowed Professor of Botany


B.A. Biology, Illinois Wesleyan University
Ph.D. Plant Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
NSF Plant Biology Postdoctoral Fellowship, Brown University


Dr. Bollivar performs research focused on understanding the molecular biology and biochemistry of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis. The products of the tetrapyrrole biosynthetic pathway include heme, chlorophyll, and bacteriochlorophyll. These compounds are important for respiration and photosynthesis. The focus of his research incorporates studies of biochemical steps at various points in the pathway for making these compounds.

His most recent focus has been on the first common step to all of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis catalyzed by the enzyme porphobilinogen synthase. This work has been done in collaboration with IWU students and faculty members at Fox Chase Cancer Center and Haverford College. Some of this work has been completed during a sabbatical at Fox Chase Cancer Center during the 2005-2006 academic year.

He maintains an interest in working on the Mg-protoporphyrin IX monomethyl ester cyclase, an enzyme that is involved in chlorophyll and bacteriochlorophyll biosynthesis. He has also begun studying some of the later steps that are found only in bacteriochlorophyll a biosynthesis.


Dr. Bollivar teaches

  • General Biology (BIOL 101)
  • Introduction to Genetics (BIOL 212)
  • Molecular Genetics (BIOL 412)