Headshot of Pamela Sandstrom.

Pamela Sandstrom

Teaching Associate Professor


Pamela Sandstrom is a Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Biology. Her position as an undergraduate instructor and academic advisor is one that fulfills her desire to educate and help others. After completing a degree in Physiology at the University of California, Davis, she became a Certified Ophthalmology Technician. In 2002, she returned to graduate school at the University of Nevada, Reno and earned her doctorate degree in Biochemistry for her research on cytochrome P450 enzymes. Since 2007, she has been focused on teaching with an emphasis on educational research. She has taught over 12,000 undergraduate students in a variety of classes: non-majors Biology, Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology, Anatomy and Physiology I/II, and Genetics, as well as laboratories in Cell Biology and Molecular Biology. She has also served as an advisor for Biology and Neuroscience majors.

Dr. Sandstrom strives to be an inclusive instructor who helps her students with their educational and professional goals. She encourages her students to be proactive about their education and take advantage of learning opportunities in her classrooms. Her Introductory Biology and Genetics classes offer students multiple pathways for success. To create student-centered classes that promote active learning, she has integrated technology, including online videos and assessments, and helped to establish a robust Biology Peer Instruction Program. Since 2008, around 500 high-achieving undergraduates have led over 1,200 discussion groups, and in 2015 she added Learning Assistants (LAs) to her lectures so that students have dedicated peers available to help them with challenging questions. Dr. Sandstrom is particularly proud of the role she has had in helping to create a community of learners and having served as a mentor to fourteen Westfall scholars and seven University Senior Scholars.


  • University of Nevada, Reno, Ph.D., Biochemistry 2002-2007
  • University of California, Davis, Bachelor of Science in Physiology 1994-1998

Presentations on scholarship of teaching and learning

  • “Peer Instruction and Active Learning Enhance Student Success.” P. Sandstrom and E. Pravosudova, poster presentation, 16th Annual Biology Leadership Community (BLC), Henderson, NV, March 2019.
  • “Getting the Most of Your College Experience.” P. Sandstrom, oral presentation, Nevada HOSA State Leadership Conference, Reno, NV, March 2018 and 2017.
  • "Peer-led Discussion Groups and Active Learning Enhance Student Involvement and Success." P. Sandstrom and E. Pravosudova, webinar, Pearson Learning Makes Us, October 2016.
  • "Practical Tips for Teaching Genetics: Engaging Students and Improving Performance." P. Sandstrom, webinar, Pearson Learning Makes Us, February 2016 and October 2015.
  • “Biology Discussion Groups at the University of Nevada.” P. Sandstrom and E. V. Pravosudova, poster presentation, 6th International Learning Assistant (LA) Workshop, Boulder, CO, November 2014.


  • P. Sandstrom, M.D. Ginzel, J. C. Bearfield, W. H. Welch, G. J. Blomquist and C. Tittiger (2008). Myrcene hydroxylases do not determine enantiomeric composition of pheromonal ipsdienol in Ips spp. J. Chem. Ecol. 34, 1584-1592
  • P. Sandstrom (2007). Monoterpenoid Metabolism by Bark Beetle Cytochromes P450 Dissertation. 230 pages.
  • P. Sandstrom, W. H. Welch, G. J. Blomquist and C. Tittiger (2006). Functional expression of a bark beetle cytochrome P450 that hydroxylates myrcene to ipsdienol. Insect Biochem. Molec. Biol. 36, 835-845.

Main courses taught

  • BIOL 300 - Principles of Genetics
  • BIOL 190 - Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 189A - Fundamentals of Life Science


  • 2021 Nevada System of Higher Education Regents' Teaching Award
  • 2019 Alan Bible Teaching Excellence Award
  • 2017 Nevada System of Higher Education Regents' and University of Nevada, Reno's Undergraduate Academic Advisor Awards
  • 2017 Faculty International Development Award (FIDA) to participate in University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) program in San Ramón, Costa Rica