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John Placyk, Ph.D.

Science Division Chair - Biology - Athens

John Placyk headshot

Dr. Placyk grew up in South Jersey near Philadelphia where he completed his B.S. in Marine Science from Stockton University in 1998.  He then moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he obtained his M.S. in Biology in 2000 studying salamander behavior before spending a summer as a research assistant at the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Manomet, Massachusetts working with shorebirds and wetland birds. In 2000, he traveled to Knoxville, TN to become a Vol and finished his Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology in 2006 studying garter snake behavior, morphology, ecology, and genetics.  After a short stint as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tennessee, he joined the Biology faculty at the University of Texas at Tyler in 2007, where he was granted tenure and promoted to Associate and then full Professor, was awarded over a million dollars in research grants to support his research program in conservation biology, finished a dozen graduate students and hundreds of undergrads, and was both acting and assistant chair of Biology before deciding he wanted to focus primarily on teaching.  As a result, he "retired" from UT-Tyler in May of 2019, briefly taught high school science, and settled into his forever home at Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) in the spring of 2020. Despite leaving his research lab behind, Dr. Placyk continues to publish peer-reviewed journal articles. You can see Dr. Placyk's past and ongoing research on his Google Scholar profile. 

Dr. Placyk and his wife and three children run a rescue/hobby ranch in Murchison, Texas, where he served as mayour until becoming TVCC Science Division Chair in the spring of 2021.  Dr. Placyk and his family currently care for 7 horses, 2 donkeys, 3 goats, 3 tortoises, 3 aquatic turtles, an ornate box turtle, a bearded dragon, ~100+ chickens, 2 ducks, 2 pot-bellied pigs, ~12 dogs, and ~30 cats.  One visit to Dr. Placyk's office and you'll also see he's a huge Star Wars and 1980's toy fan.  In his spare time, Dr. Placyk likes to read Star Wars and Star Trek novels, watch Disney+, play his vintage Nintendo game system, and spend time outdoors.  Dr. Placyk can be reached at or 903-675-6382.

Posted Date:
6/29/2023 12:57:37 PM