Kevin M.  Drace
Assistant Professor
Howard College of Arts and Sciences
Biological and Environmental Sciences
217 Propst Hall

Kevin Drace prioritizes student success and meaningful engagement in the classroom. With a focus on fostering curiosity and relevance, he creates meaningful learning experiences for his students. After earning his PhD in Microbiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2008, Drace taught in the College of Liberal Arts at Mercer University for eight years. He then joined the faculty at Birmingham-Southern College, where he served as Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology until coming to Samford University. His research addresses the biological impact of heavy metal contamination from small-scale gold mines in Africa and Latin America. He actively involves undergraduate students in his research, providing them with valuable hands-on experience that has contributed to numerous publications, presentations and grants. In 2015, the National Association of Biology Teachers awarded him the Biology Teaching Award for Excellence in Biology Education for his early contributions to Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs). And in 2019, Drace was honored with the Course Hero-Woodrow Wilson Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching, which supports outstanding educators who demonstrate excellence and a passion for teaching. Drace's teaching approach centers on creating an open environment that cultivates mutual appreciation for biology. His dedication to excellence in teaching, innovative practices and his commitment to research-based experiences contribute to the growth and success of his students. He lives in Vestavia Hills with his wife, Wendi, his children, Isla, Andrew, and Philip, and his dog, Roosevelt.

Degrees and Certifications 

  • PhD in Microbiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama (2008)
  • BS in Biology, Athens State University, Athens, Alabama (2002)


  •  Seney C.S., Bridges, C.C., Aljic, S, Moore, M.E., Orr, S. E., Barnes, M.C., Joshee, L, Uchakina, O.N., Bellott, B.J., McKallip, R.J., Drace, K., Vega, C.M., Kiefer, A.M. Reaction of Cyanide with Hg0-Contaminated Gold Mining Tailings Produces Soluble Mercuric Cyanide Complexes. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2020, 33, 11, 2834–2844. 
  • Brown, S.T., Hasan, K.M., Moody, K.H., Loving, D.C., Howe, K.E., Dawson, A.G., Drace, K., Hugdahl, J.D., Seney, C.S., Vega, C.M., Fernandez, L.E., Kiefer, A.M. Method for mapping Hg0 emissions from gold shops in artisanal and small-scale gold mining communities. MethodsX, September 2020, 7. 
  • Drace, K., Giangiuli S., LeSar C., Kiefer, A.M. Draft Genome Sequence of Mercury Resistant Pseudomonas putida Strain DRA525. Genome Announcements, May 2018, 6 (18) e00370-18. 
  • Drace, K., Kiefer, A.M., Veiga, M.M. Cyanidation of Mercury-Contaminated Tailings: Potential Health Effects and Environmental Justice. Current Environmental Health Reports, 2016, 3(4): 443-449. 
  • Kiefer, A.M. Drace, K., Seney, C., Veiga, M. Challenges Associated with Using Retorts to Limit Mercury Exposure in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining: Case Studies from Mozambique, Ecuador and Guyana. Trace Materials in Air, Soil, and Water. American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2015. Chapter 3, pp 51-77. (Book Chapter) 
  • Stephenson, B.P., Drace, K. A new report of albinism in the Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), and a review of existing records: Is there a geographic bias in observations? Herpetological Review, 2014, 45:569-577. 
  • Kiefer, A.M., Drace, K., Gottlieb, S., Coursey, S., Veiga, M.M., Marrumbe, N., Chapo, M. Evaluation of Mercury Content in Amalgams from Munhena Mine, Mozambique. Journal of Cleaner Production, 2014, 84(1):783-785. 
  • Drace, K. Gamification of the laboratory experience to encourage student engagement. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, December 2013, 14(2): 273 – 274.  
  • Drace, K., Kiefer, A.M., Williams, M., Veiga, M.M., Ascari, B., Bolt, D., Geist, G., Skidmore, A., Reidy, L., Cizdziel, J. Mercury-Free, Small-Scale Artisanal Gold Mining in Mozambique: Utilization of Magnets to Isolate Gold at Clean Tech Mine. Journal of Cleaner Production, September 2012, Volume 32:88-95. 
  • Drace, K., Keeling P.M., Couch, B. Increasing Student Understanding of Microscope Optics by Building and Testing the Limits of Simple, Hand-Made Model Microscopes. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, May 2012, 13(1): 45 – 49. 
  • Chaston, J., Suen, G., Tucker, S., Anderson, A., Bhasin, A., Bode, H., Drace, K. Goodrich-Blair, H. The entomopathogenic bacterial endosymbionts Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus: convergent lifestyles from divergent genomes. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6(11): e27909. 
  • Drace, K., S. McLaughlin, and C. Darby. Caenorhabditis elegans BAH-1 is a DUF23 protein expressed in seam cells and required for microbial biofilm binding to the cuticle. PLoS ONE, 2009; 4(8): e6741. 
  • Drace, K., Darby, C. The hmsHFRS operon of Xenorhabdus nematophila is required for biofilm attachment to Caenorhabditis elegans. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, July, 2008; 74(14): 4509-4515.
  • Darby, C., Chakraborti, A., Politz, S. M., Daniels, C. C., Tan, L., Drace, K. Caenorhabditis elegans Mutants Resistant to Attachment of Yersinia Biofilms. Genetics, May 1, 2007; 176(1): 221 - 230.