Skip navigation


University of Central Oklahoma


Caroline Bentley, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Biology and the Health Professions advisor at the University of Central Oklahoma. After graduating from high school in Michigan, she attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she majored in biology with a pre-med concentration. She also was enrolled in several classes in Marine Biology as she has always had a strong interest in marine life. As an undergraduate, she was certified as an Advanced NAUI and PADI SCUBA diver, and enjoys diving when she is able.

She attended graduate school at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary for a Masters in Marine Science degree. For her thesis, she combined her interest in microbiology with marine animals in a project studying a parasite of the eastern oyster. After obtaining her master’s degree in 1995, she was accepted into a doctoral program at the School of Fisheries at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. Her Ph.D. research focused on a bacterial pathogen of salmon using both molecular and histopathology methods to better understand the virulence mechanisms used by this pathogen.

After completing her Ph.D. in 2000, she was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the INRA Research Center in Jouy-en-Josas, France to work with a team investigating the immune mechanisms used by trout during viral infection. Then, in 2001, she accepted a position on a molecular biology team working for the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), an international microbiology and biotechnology company in Manassas, Virginia. She began her teaching career at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the Department of Biology in 2004 to pursue a desire to teach undergraduate students. She then taught at Southern Nazarene University where she was professor and chair of Biology and the Health Professions Advisor. She joined the UCO biology faculty in 2016 to follow her passion in advising for the health professions as well as teaching microbiology. As the Health Professions Advisor at UCO, she works with students wanting to attend medical, dental, PA, or other graduate health programs through class advisement, interview preparation, and finding shadowing and volunteer opportunities with the goal of helping students become competitive applicants.

Education and Certifications

  • Oral Roberts University Biology, Pre-Med Concentration
  • Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary
    M.A. in Marine Science
  • University of Washington
    Ph.D. in Fisheries


I’ve always been fascinated by the processes of microbial pathogenesis and immunology. I’ve worked on a project at OU Tulsa identifying changes in genes expressed during thymocyte development and then at OMRF looking at gene expression profiles in dendritic cells during viral exposure. I’ve also been interested in mobile genetic elements in bacteria that confer antibiotic resistance. Research projects with students have focused on the identification and characterization of bacteria isolated from wastewater treatment plants, local recreational lakes, and commercial meat products. Moreover, we have been interested in identifying antibiotic resistance levels in bacteria isolated from these local sources. Most recently, I have started a research project with a colleague in sociology to analyze levels of cultural competency in pre-health students. We are also developing resources to help students discover ways to increase their own cultural competency during their undergraduate career.

Classes Taught

  • BIO 1211     Non-Majors General Biology Laboratory
  • BIO 2000     Intro to Health Professions
  • BIO 3054     Microbiology for Majors

Research, Published Work, and Scholarly Activities

  • Marino, J., Tan, C., Taylor, A. A., Bentley, C., Van De Wiele,, C.J., Ranne, R., Paliotta, M., Broughan, T., T. K. Teague. 2010. Differential IL-7 responses in developing human thymocytes. Journal of Human Immunology, Vol. 71:4, p.329-333.
  • O’Farrell, C., Vaghefi, N., Cantonnet, M., Buteau, B., Boudinot, P., and A. Benmansour.  2002.  Global survey of transcript expression in rainbow trout leukocytes reveals a major contribution of interferon responsive genes in the early response to a rhabdovirus infection.  Journal of Virology 76(16):8040-8049.
  • O’Farrell, C.L., Elliott, D.G., and M.L. Landolt.  2000.  Mortality and kidney hisopathology of Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha exposed to virulent and attenuated Renibacterium salmoninarum strains. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 43(3): 199-209.
  • O’Farrell, C.L., La Peyre, J.F., Paynter, K.T., and E.M. Burreson.  2000.  Osmotic tolerance and volume regulation in in vitro cultures of the oyster pathogen Perkinsus marinus.  Journal of Shellfish Research 19(1): 139-145.
  • O’Farrell, C.L. and M.S. Strom.  1999.  Differential expression of the virulence-associated protein p57 and characterization of its duplicated gene msa in virulent and attenuated strains of Renibacterium salmoninarum. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 38(2): 115-123.

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.