Dr. Rolf Myhrman

Professor Emeritus

Dr. Myhrman was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington.  He and his wife Barb, a registered nurse, have two daughters, Krissy and Karen, both of whom have degrees in elementary education.  Krissy and her husband and five children live on an island near Tacoma, and Karen and her husband live in Elgin. 

The Myhrmans have a cabin not far from Krissy’s home, and spend several weeks there each summer.  Dr. Myhrman enjoys reading (especially mystery novels), hiking, water sports, and taking grandchildren for boat rides.

Sears Roebuck Foundation “Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership”award, 1991.

“Caring for People” research award from the American Scientific Affiliation, 1993

BA (Pre-engineering) Columbia University (New York)
PhD (Chemistry) Northwestern University (Illinois)   
Dissertation topic:  Studies of an enzyme in lobster tail muscle whose function is analogous to that of one of the enzymes involved in blood clotting in humans.

Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Immunology, Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, 1972-73.  Studies on activation of the complement system, a critical component of the immune response. 

Visiting scientist, Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle.  Spring semester 1987.  Studies of a bacterial enzyme as a prelude to development of new antibiotics.

Visiting scientist, Environmental Research Division and Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois, 1991-95.  Development of degradable plastics from high-starch food wastes.

Burgess, S, A. Hemmer, and R. Myhrman.  2003.  Examination of raw and roasted Mucuna pruriens for tumerogenic substances.  In: Increasing Mucuna’s Potential as a Food and Feed Crop.  Proceedings of an international workshop held September 23-26, 2002, in Mombasa, Kenya.  Ed. by M. Eilittä, J. Mureithi, R. Muinga, C. Sandoval, and N. Szabo.  Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems 1(2-3):287-294. 

Myhrman, R.  2002.  Detection and removal of L-Dopa in the legume Mucuna. In: Mucuna as a Food and Feed: Current Uses and the Way Forward.  Ed. by M. Flores, M. Eilittä, R. Myhrman, L. Carew, and R. Carsky.  Workshop held April 26-29, 2000 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  CIDICCO, Honduras.  Pp. 142-163.  Available online at

Del Carmen, J., A.G. Gernat, R. Myhrman, and L.B. Carew. 1999. Evaluation of raw and heated velvet beans (Mucuna pruriens) as feed ingredients for broilers. Poultry Science 78:866-872.  Available online at

(A complete list of Dr. Myhrmans publications are available upon request. Please contact Dr. Myhrman at his email address listed above.)

American Chemical Society
American Scientific Affiliation (The ASA is an association of Christians with interests in science, science education, and the interface between science and Christian theism.)

Hunger-related research to benefit undernourished people in developing countries. 

In 1990, Dr. Myhrman established the Nutrition Research Program (now the World Hunger Research Center) as a resource for agricultural research organizations and university faculty in developing countries.  The primary focus has been the velvet bean (Mucuna), a fast-growing leafy plant that enriches depleted soils and produces seeds (“beans”) with high protein content.  Since Mucuna is unusually resistant to drought and to destruction by insects, it is a significant potential food source during times of famine in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa.  Unfortunately, the beans contain high levels of L-dopa, the same substance that has been used to treat Parkinson’s disease.  For this reason, the beans must be carefully processed prior to consumption by humans and most animals.

At the Center, Judson students and post-graduate research associates have run thousands of analyses of velvet bean samples sent by collaborators in Central America, Africa, and India.  The results have enabled these collaborators to monitor the success of their efforts to devise culturally feasible methods for removing the L-dopa from the beans.

Academic Presentations
Keynote speaker for a conference on “Christians in International Agriculture” (the 1995 annual meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation.) 

Invited speaker for a workshop on “Mucuna (Velvetbean) as a Food and Feed: Current Uses and the Way Forward,” held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in April 2000.

Invited speaker for a workshop entitled “Increasing Mucuna’s Potential as a Food and Feed Crop,” held in Mombassa, Kenya, in September, 2002.

Invited speaker for a symposium entitled “Science and Technology in Service to the Poor” at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation, to be held at Calvin College in Michigan.