April 2, 2019


Dr. Kurt Toenjes

MSU Billings announces Acting Dean of the College of Allied Health Professions

Science professor Kurt Toenjes, Ph.D., begins role May 28



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS—Montana State University Billings has named Kurt Toenjes, Ph.D., as Acting Dean of the College of Allied Health Professions (CAHP).

Toenjes currently serves as Chair of the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences and is a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Biology at MSUB.

Toenjes has worked relentlessly for the last decade on funding and planning efforts of the Yellowstone Science and Allied Health Building. This involvement will serve him well in his new role as interim dean, as Toenjes will be tasked with getting the best science and health building built, alongside the architects, Chris Eagan, Director of Facilities Services, and other key decision makers.

“Kurt’s keen insights will give the knowledge and perspective to build the best science and health building we can while leading the faculty and staff during construction and transitions,” commented MSU Billings Chancellor Dr. Dan Edelman. “He has enthusiastic support from his fellow faculty and staff in the College of Allied Health Professions.”

With vast experience in the science field focused on molecular, cellular, and fungal cell biology as well as genetics, Toenjes has worked at MSUB since 2005. He has copious amounts of professional education, well-preparing him for this position, including a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona, postdoctoral training in Pathogenic Fungi from M.B.L. at Woods Hole, Mass., and postdoctoral research in Fungal Cell Biology from the University of Vermont. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Genetics from the University of California at Davis, Calif.

In addition to Department Chair, Toenjes currently serves as the Vice President of the MSUB Faculty Association. His previous posts include Chair of the General Education Committee and MSUB Foundation Member, to mention a few. His dedication to the university is no secret, as he has been recognized for several awards including Faculty Excellence in 2013, Winston & Helen Cox Fellowship in 2010, Science Mentor of the Year in 2009, and Walter & Charlotte Pippenger Excellence in Innovation Award in 2008.

Toenjes holds MSUB’s first patents, earning three for the university thus far. Working with the National Institute of Health (NIH) as well as the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), he has garnered 15 years of research and internship funding, and has worked in mentoring MSUB faculty applying for the two organizations’ grants. Toenjes oversees two workforce grants which are funded through Montana INBRE and the NIH. One grant is focused on undergraduate research and the other is a clinical internship program for  Medical Laboratory Sciences.

Toenjes will begin the role  of Acting Dean of CAHP on May 28. He replaces John Dorr, M.D., who has fulfilled the role of interim dean for the past nine months. Dorr will continue working at MSU Billings in a special role, focused on bridging community and college engagement within the College of Allied Health Professions.