Eric Ribbens
Western Illinois University
Macomb, Illinois
About Me
I'm a botany professor at Western Illinois University.I am a plant ecologist. I'm interested in what plants do, how they interact with other plants and with their environment. Professionally, I am best known for my work in developing spatial models of seedling distributions for use in computer simulation models, but I have also been studying a group of neotropical trees, a small cactus that grows in Illinois, and innovative teaching methods (such as clickers and cases). I have been teaching at Western Illinois University since 2000. I have two great teenaged daughters, I play flute or piano most Sunday mornings at University Baptist Church, and I'm the oldest brother in a big family (I'm one of 8 children, my parents have 22 grandchildren, and 1 greatgrandchild in the oven). I like jazz and blues, I have published some creative writing, and I think every freezer should hold some popsicles. I struggled with college ... after two years, I dropped out with a GPA of 1.6, and worked for years in factories before going back to college, at first at a community college at night.
Western Illinois University
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455
United States
P (309) 255-1650
Eric Ribbens
Professor, Western Illinois University
About Me
As an adolescent, I had some health problems. I was tall and skinny and lethargic. Eventually we figured out that I had a benign tumor on my pituitary gland that was causing my hormone levels to get screwed up. I had irradiation to destroy the tumor, and now I take a variety of pills as hormone replacements and to deal with side effects such as high blood pressure. If you are really interested in learning more, go to my publications page and under teaching you should be able to find a link to a case I published called Chemical Eric, which has turned out to be a widely used case. I also have a genetic eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, so I'm legally blind now (I see what I look at but have no peripheral vision). I've had a stroke, an aneurysm, my heart is in atrial fibrillation ... but I'm still here!
NeliSiew and Samara, my daughters ..................Mary Fran, my wife .......................................playing my flute

about the time I had a pituitary tumor ......pointing at prickly pears in Michigan .......... collecting prickly pears in Minnesota
In addition to teaching at Western Illinois University and studying Opuntia fragilis, I also serve as a scientist mentor for PlantingScience, I am on the executive board of the U.S. Virtual Herbarium group, and I am on the editorial boards of the NSF Case Collection and the journal Ecosphere.