Skip navigation

Important Update:

The UCO campus is closed Friday, July 3, in observance of the Fourth of July. Operations will resume Monday, July 6.

Campus buildings reopened to the public effective July 1. Services are available virtually or by appointment only. Visitors should reach out to individual departments regarding appointments. Masks and social distancing are required while on campus. To learn more about current operations, view the university's summer reopening plan

Lecturer

University of Central Oklahoma

About

Dr. Olson started teaching in the Department of Biology in 2007, celebrating many enjoyable years of service at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO).  The courses taught range from General Biology for non-majors to Evolutionary Medicine.  Like many in the department, he has a love for the outdoors and trying to find out “the meaning of Life”.  Born in Chicago, he has lived in Omaha, Boston, Kansas City, and Fort Collins, Colorado.  However, Oklahoma is his true home.  If not spending time playing outdoors when younger, Dr. Olson was involved in sports.  Eventually, he settled on competitive golf which ultimately was a prelude to a career in the biological sciences.

Dr. Olson completed his B.S. and M.S. in Biology at UCO with an emphasis on plant physiology and ecology.  Subsequently, he continued his interests in environmental biology at the University of Oklahoma while working on vegetation-assisted microbial bioremediation and restoration of industrial hazardous waste near Houston, Texas.  After earning a Ph.D. in Botany at OU, Dr. Olson worked as a post-doctoral fellow on an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sponsored project (Ecological Restoration of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon-Contaminated Soils) in dual appointments representing the Departments of Biology and Engineering at Colorado State University. 

Today, Dr. Olson enjoys working with all students on topics in environmental biology including microorganisms involved in pollution biodegradation, environmental quality of both aquatic and soil habitats, conservation of the natural environment, and even questions involving “why do we get sick” (evolutionary medicine).   

Dr. Olson lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with his wife and 2 sons on a little organic parcel of land, where there are always trees to trim and mindless mowing to keep him connected to Mother Nature.

Education and Certifications

University of Central Oklahoma - Bachelor of Science in Biology (BS)

University of Central Oklahoma - Master of Science in Biology (MS)

University of Oklahoma - Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)

Post-Doctoral Fellow - Colorado State University

Classes Taught

BIO 1114  General Biology for Non-Majors

BIO 1211  General Biology Lab

BIO 1211  General Biology Lab - Online

BIO 1225  General Biology II – Diversity of Life

BIO 1340  Plant Biology and Lab

BIO 2314  Introductory Microbiology and Lab

BIO 4334 / 5334  Environmental Microbiology and Lab

BIO 4354 / 5354  Plant Anatomy and Lab

BIO 4871  Senior Seminar:  Evolutionary Medicine

Interests

My primary research interest stems from my doctoral education and post-doctoral experiences.  The aim is to understand the role of nature in the restitution of anthropogenic and other naturally-disturbed environments.  Overall, the goal is to provide cost-effective remedial and restorative strategies towards the growing problem of human pollution and other disturbances worldwide.

In a general sense, I have curiosities in all areas of environmental biology including reestablishment of thriving environs in contaminated settings, microbial ecology, indicator pathogens and antibiotic resistance in the natural world.  Conserving natural resources is in the end the overarching quest.

I have been involved in additional research opportunities at UCO.  Currently, I am providing guidance for undergraduate students involved with the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP), UCO Student Transformative Learning Record (STLR), and the UCO High Impact Practices (OHIP).  Additionally, I served as a mentor for the US-Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program for Iraq.  Lastly, I’m involved with SEA-Phages (Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) administered by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science Education program.

By providing both capstone and STLR experiences, my focus is centered towards both undergraduate and graduate education and research particularly for those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Research, Published Work, and Scholarly Activities

2019. Alma Marquez, Joseph Nguyen, Kennedy Rozneck, Nicole Ross and Paul Olson.  Standardized Methods for Monitoring the Water Quality of Primary Inflows (Deep Fork River) Entering Arcadia Lake in Central Oklahoma.  Oklahoma Research Day.  Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

2018.  Alma Marquez and Paul Olson.  Evaluation of Microbacterium Phage Biology in Oklahoma Soils.  Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation Research Symposium.  Oklahoma State University. 

2018.  Alma Marquez and Paul Olson.  Evaluation of Microbacterium Phage Biology in Oklahoma Soils.  National Conferences on Undergraduate Research.  University of Central Oklahoma.

2018.  Alma Marquez and Paul Olson.  Hunting for Viruses:  Protocols for the Isolation, Enumeration, and Characterization of Soil Bacteriophages.  Oklahoma Research Day.  Northwestern Oklahoma State University. 

2018.  David Freeman, Luis Frias, Alma Marquez, and Paul Olson.  Community-Level Antibiotic Profiling and Resistance of Microorganisms in Oklahoma Soils. Oklahoma Research Day.  Northwestern Oklahoma State University. 

2018.  David Freeman and Paul Olson.  An Assessment of Copper in High-Touch Areas for use in A Pharmacy’s Cleanroom.  Oklahoma Research Day.  Northwestern Oklahoma State University. 

2018.  Dana Khdr Sabir and Paul Olson.  Antimicrobial Activity of Silver Nanoparticles Against Pathogenic Acinetobacter bumannii.  Oklahoma Research Day.  Northwestern Oklahoma State University. 

2017.  Dana Khdr Sabir and Paul Olson.  Antimicrobial Activity of Silver Nanoparticles Against Pathogenic Acinetobacter bumannii.  US-Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program for Iraq.  University of Central Oklahoma.

2017.  Lizan A. Majeed and Paul Olson.  Ecological Approach with Respect to the Bioremediation of Priority Pollutants.  Oklahoma Research Day.  Northwestern Oklahoma State University. 

2016.  Lizan A. Majeed and Paul Olson.  Ecological Approach with Respect to the Bioremediation of Priority Pollutants.  US-Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program for Iraq.  University of Central Oklahoma.

2014.  Jocelyn Bidlack and Paul Olson.  Bioremediation of Chlordane by Indigenous Actinomycetes Bacteria.  Oklahoma Research Day.  University of Central Oklahoma.

2013.  Jocelyn Bidlack, James Green, Felicia Osburn, BrieAunna Webster, and Paul Olson.  Investigation of Indigenous Actinomycetes as Chlordane Remediation Agents.  Oklahoma Academy of Science Technical Meeting.  Cameron University.

2012.  Jocelyn Bidlack, James Green, Felicia Osburn, BrieAunna Webster, and Paul Olson.  Preliminary Investigation of Actinomycetes as a Chlordane Remediation Agent.  Oklahoma Academy of Science Technical Meeting.  University of Central Oklahoma.

2011.  Jocelyn Bidlack, Paul Olson, Carmen Cowo, Erin Ralstin, Robert Dinger, and Jim Bidlack.  Effect of Jasmonic Acid on Biomass Accumulation and Enzyme Activity in Switchgrass.  Oklahoma Academy of Science Technical Meeting.  Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

2008.  Olson, P.E., A. Castro, M. Joern, N.M. DuTeau, E. Pilon-Smits, and K.F. Reardon.  Effects of agronomic practices on phytoremediation of and aged PAH-contaminated soil.  Journal of Environmental Quality.  37:1439-1446

2007.  Olson, P.E., A. Castro, M. Joern, N.M. DuTeau, E. Pilon-Smits, and K.F. Reardon.  Comparison of plant species in a greenhouse phytoremediation study on an aged PAH-contaminated soil.  Journal of Environmental Quality.  36:1467-1469

2003.  Olson, P.E., E. Pilon-Smits, and K.F. Reardon.  Ecology of Rhizosphere Bioremediation  In:  “Phytoremediation:  Degradation and Control of Hazardous Wastes”  Eds. S.C. McCutheon and J.L. Schnoor.  Wiley and Sons.  pgs. 317-353.

2003.  Olson, P.E., T. Wong, M.B. Leigh, and J.S. Fletcher.  Allometric modeling of plant root growth and its application in rhizosphere remediation of soil contaminants.  Environmental Science and Technology.  37(3):638-643

2001.  Olson, P.E., P.R. Philp, and J.S. Fletcher.  Natural attenuation / phytoremediation in the vadose zone of a former industrial sludge basin.  Environmental Science and Pollution Research.  8(4):243-249

2000.  Olson, P.E. and J.S. Fletcher.  Ecological recovery of vegetation at a former industrial sludge basin and its implications to phytoremediation. Environmental Science and Pollution Research.  7(4):195-204

1999.  Olson, P.E. and J.S. Fletcher.  Field evaluation of mulberry root structure with regard to phytoremediation.  Bioremediation Journal.  3(1):1-7

1997.  Olson, P.E. and J.E. Bidlack.  Yield and enzymatic activity of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) subjected to alternative pest control.  Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants.  4(4):3-16

The views expressed by UCO faculty and staff on their personal websites and social media pages do not necessarily reflect the positions of the University of Central Oklahoma. UCO faculty and staff are advised to follow the university’s social media guidelines and are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with policies outlined in UCO’s Employee Handbook and/or Faculty Handbook.