Dan E. Wells

Dean, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Dan E. Wells, Interim Dean, NSM

Dan E. Wells currently serves as Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Houston. The College spans six departments (Biology and Biochemistry, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Mathematics, and Physics) with 210 faculty members. There are more than 1,050 graduate students and 4,300 undergraduate majors.

Dr. Wells obtained his Ph.D. in cell, molecular and developmental biology from Indiana University (1983). Following his Ph.D., he was awarded an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. He received his B.A. in biology and his M.A. in zoology, both from California State University. 

Dean Wells joined the University of Houston’s Department of Biology and Biochemistry faculty in 1986. During his tenure at UH, he has served as president of the Faculty Senate, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, and chair of the Department of Biology and Biochemistry three different times. 

His research focuses on genetics. One of his long-term interests is the molecular and genetic characterization of a series of human syndromes characterized by defects in proper cartilage and bone development. These include Langer-Giedion Syndrome, Tricho-rhino-phalangeal Syndrome and Hereditary Multiple Exostoses. Mouse and frog model systems have been used for functional analysis of the genes involved in these syndromes. Dr. Wells has published 90 research articles; forty-six of these articles focus on human genetic disease.

Consistently recognized for his teaching, research and mentoring, Dr. Wells received the university’s Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship in 1997, the Cooper Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998 and UH’s Career Teaching Excellence Award in 2011. He received two National Science Foundation grants for teaching and undergraduate research, was the principal investigator of a student success grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and served as co-principal investigator (Co-PI) for the NSF ADVANCE grant and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation grant. He is currently the Co-PI for a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant focused on student success in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. At UH, he has graduated 19 M.S. students and 18 Ph.D. students and worked with 27 undergraduates on research projects.

Dr. Wells is active in professional and community service. In 2005, he received the Scientific and Humanitarian Achievement Award from the International Hereditary Multiple Exostoses Coalition. He serves on the Medical Advisory Board of the Multiple Osteochondroma Research Foundation and is a scientific advisor for the Langer-Giedion Syndrome Association and the Hereditary Multiple Exostoses Association. He was the HUGO editor for the Human Genome Database from 1996 to 2002. He also chaired the biology section of the K-16 Houston Pathways Initiative from 2008-2013. He currently serves as president of the UH chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.