Cristi Hunnes

Contact Information

Professor of Chemistry and Biology
B.A. Carleton College
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Phone: 406.657.1154
Office: Bair Science Center 101E


Dr. Cristi Hunnes grew up in Montana. She attended college at Carleton College, a strong liberal arts college located just south of Minneapolis. While in college, she discovered a passion for chemistry and biology and decided that an ideal career would be teaching these subjects in a small, liberal arts college. In order to pursue that career path, she entered graduate school in order to earn her Ph.D. Her Ph.D. research focused on characterizing nickel enzymes isolated from methanogenic bacteria. After completing her Ph.D. in inorganic biochemistry, Dr. Hunnes decided that in order to be an effective teacher, she needed to know more about how chemistry was done in the "real world." She accepted a research position at Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company located in Indianapolis. She spent three years working on drug development. While she loved her job, she still felt drawn to teaching. She moved back to Montana, taking a job at Energy Laboratories. Here, she learned about another chemistry industry, with a job focusing on environmental testing. After two years, she was fortunate to be offered a job at Rocky Mountain College. She knew her dream had come true. She had a job teaching at a small liberal arts college and was even lucky enough to land that job in her home state of Montana. Dr. Hunnes has been teaching at RMC since Fall of 1994.

For Dr. Hunnes, teaching allows her to spend her days combining her love of chemistry and biology with the joy of helping students learn and become excited about her subject area. She loves having small classes, so that she can truly get to know the students and engage them more actively in the material. With her NIH grant, she is also able to expose students to research and add another dimension to the education of students interested in careers related to the biomedical sciences. She feels blessed by her students who have gone on to successful careers, often after earning advanced degrees.

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Hunnes is the mother of three young children. She also has four cats and one dog. She plays the flute in the community band and enjoys helping her children learn musical instruments. She and her children make sandwiches for low-income people as part of a Salvation Army outreach program. She is passionate about travel, photography, hiking, skiing, and reading good books.

Courses Taught

  • Biochemistry I
  • Microbiology
  • General Chemistry
  • Introduction to Pharmaceutical Science 
  • Bugs and Drugs
  • Supervision of Environmental Health Research


Rocky Mountain College
1511 Poly Drive
Billings, MT 59102