Skip to Content

Faculty and Staff

Pearl R. Fernandes

Title: Professor of Biology
Department: Division of Science, Mathematics and Engineering
USC Sumter
Phone: 803-938-3725 or 803-730-0882
Office: BADM 109
Resources: Merit Page


A native of Bombay, India, Pearl Fernandes earned her BS degree in Life Sciences from Bombay University's St. Xavier's College; her MS degree in Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics from Bombay University’s Nirmala Niketan College; and her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of South Carolina Columbia. Fernandes is a Full Professor of Biology at the University of South Carolina Sumter; an Affiliate Faculty in Women’s Studies and an Associate Faculty in the School of the Environment at the University of South Carolina Columbia.

She conducted her postdoctoral researcher in gene-nutrient interactions with elected National Academy of Sciences member Dr. Robert Cousins at the University of Florida, Gainesville. In India, she held positions as a nutritionist for Catholic Relief Services in the area of Maternal and Child Health, as a faculty member in Nutrition at Bombay University, and as a consultant on Maternal and Child Health for the Indian Child Development Scheme (Maharashtra State).

She teaches lecture and lab courses in Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Principles of Biology and Genetics for biology and health science majors. She also teaches a Women’s Studies Course and General Biology for non-science majors. Fernandes coordinates linked interdisciplinary English and Biology courses focusing on Southeastern Wetlands for which she has received external funding. She is a mentor to many undergraduates including the first Magellan Scholar from the regional campuses of the USC System, and considers mentoring to be an important part of the young student’s intellectual and professional growth. She has several undergraduate scientific presentations to her credit.

Dr. Fernandes has been twice selected by students as USC Sumter’s Student Government Association Teacher of the Year, was nominated for Governor’s Professor of the Year by the faculty, and has received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the USC Sumter administration. She is active in the campus and community and received the Sumter YWCA TWIN Award. She has served nationally on the American Society for Cell Biology Minority Affairs Committee, is active in the National Center for Science Education and Civic Engagement, the Region II Science Fair, the South Carolina Junior Academy of Sciences, and acts as a guest editor for the South Eastern Naturalist. She serves on the Richland-Lexington University of South Carolina Alumni Board. Her professional publications include the American Journal of Physiology, Virology, and the American Journal of Hematology. Her bench research projects with undergraduates focus on water quality issues in wetlands around Sumter and Clarendon County, and using molecular and cellular methods to identify field Peromyscus species in Sumter County. She is a co-recipient of an NSF-CCLI grant conducting international pedagogical and clinical research in the field of HIV/AIDS.

Fernandes’ spare time is spent traveling locally and internationally, meeting international students and visitors to Columbia where she resides, and cooking and sampling ethnic food. She loves to read and her favorite authors include Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.