Matthew Fisher

Matthew Fisher

Matthew Fisher

Greetings! I teach biology courses at OCCC and serve as the college’s representative to the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium. I became interested in science in my mid-twenties. After earning degrees at Chemeketa Community College and the University of Oregon and then working for a few years at a non-profit organization, I decided to go back to school to study biology. After taking the biology, chemistry, and math courses that I initially avoided as an undergraduate, I eventually completed two master’s degrees, one at Western Washington University in Biology and another at Montana State University in Science Education. I have been teaching biology full time since 2011.

My interests in biology are many. My research experience is in the field of community forest ecology, but I have increasingly become interested in the fields of genetics, bacteriophages, and space biology. The latter is a lesser-known field that concerns itself with studying the physiological effects of space travel on astronauts. As part of their coursework in BI 211 and BI 212, my students are part of the innovative SEA PHAGES research program, and to date they have discovered several bacteriophages that are new to science. I am passionate about nature and the cosmos, the conservation of wildlife, and the complexities of biological systems, from a single cell to entire ecosystems. In addition to biology, I am interested in the science of teaching/learning and am semi-active within the field of biology education research.

I enjoy helping students learn biology and meeting the challenges of studying college-level science. I delight in seeing students achieve their academic goals, whether that’s becoming a nurse, doctor, scientist, business owner, informed citizen, or any other goal they set out to achieve.

The classes that I teach at OCCC include:


Fisher, M.R., Blackburn, C.G, Poet, H.T., & Meisner, R. (2022). Complete Annotated Genome Sequences of Two Novel Microbacteriophages, Gingerbug and HerculesXL, from Western Oregon, USA. Microbiology Resource Announcements 11 (11).

Kiser, SL, Andrews, CM, Seidel, SB, Fisher, MR, Wright, NA, & Theobald, EJ. (2022). Increased Pass Rates in Introductory Biology: Benefits and Potential Costs of Implementing a Mathematics Prerequisite in a Community College Setting. CBE—Life Sciences Education 21 (4).

Vemu, S, Denaro, K, Sato, BK, Fisher, MR, & Williams, AE. (2022). Moving the Needle: Evidence of an Effective Study Strategy Intervention in a Community College Biology Course. CBE—Life Sciences Education 21 (2).

Fisher, M.R. (2022). Of Newts and Neurotoxins: Coevolution in a Predator-Prey System Provides a Multifaceted Backdrop for Engaging Students. The American Biology Teacher, 84 (2): 60-67.

Fisher, M.R. (2021). Book review: Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves. The American Biology Teacher, 83 (4): 275.

Fisher, M.R., & Peterson, M.A. (2021). Macromoth community structure along a 95-year post-harvest chronosequence in managed forests of northwest Washington State (USA), with comparison to old growth forest communities. Agricultural and Forest Entomology. 23: 311-322.

Fisher, M.R., Cole, D., Oh, Y. & Vemu, S. (2020) Identifying Differences in Learning Strategies by Demographics and Course Grade in a Community College Context. Journal of College Science Teaching, 50 (1): 3-10.

Fisher, M.R. (2020). Book review: On Trial for Reason: Science, Religion, and Culture in the Galileo Affair. The American Biology Teacher, 82 (6): 423-424.

Fisher, M.R. editor. (2019). Environmental Biology.

Fisher, M.R. (2018). Evaluation of cost savings and perceptions of an open textbook in a community college science courseThe American Biology Teacher, 80 (6): 410-415.

Fisher, M.R. (2016). Wastewater Treatment Provides for Authentic Inquiry-Based Experiences in the Lab and Beyond. The American Biology Teacher, 78 (9): 739-745.

Fisher. M.R. (2016). Immersing Students in Authentic Experiences and Scientific Practices to Increase Achievement, Motivation, and Attitudes Towards Science. Master’s Thesis, Montana State University.

Fisher, M.R. (2011). Changes in macromoth community structure following deforestation in Western Washington StateMaster’s Thesis, Western Washington University.

Professional Organizations
  • CC Bio INSITES (Community College Biology Instructor Network to Support Inquiry Into Teaching & Education Scholarship)
  • National Association of Biology Teachers
OCCC Directory Information
Matthew Fisher

Matthew Fisher

Biology Faculty, Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium Representative

Biology, Faculty

MS, Science Education, Montana State University MS, Biology, Western Washington University BS, Environmental Studies, University of Oregon


Phone: 541-867-8617