The 21st Century is the “age of the genome.” Scientific discoveries in the fields of genetics and genomics are transforming our knowledge of how organisms function and how genes and the environment interact. These insights have led to advances in medicine as well as our understanding of cell biology, evolutionary relationships, and ecology. Students, teachers and the public must be prepared to make informed decisions about health care, participation in research, use of genetically-modified agricultural products, public funding for stem cell research and evidence in criminal cases. In addition, the next generation of researchers are first inspired by knowledgeable K-12 teachers who employ scientifically accurate, up-to-date and engaging materials in the classroom.
To meet these needs, the Genetic Science Learning Center provides nationally and internationally-recognized resources and programs for students in grades 5-20, current and future teachers, and members of the public.
The Genetic Science Learning Center was founded in 1994 and was established as an official University Center by the Utah State Board of Regents in October 2001. Our team of 14 includes individuals with expertise in science and health educational materials development, science writing, instructional design, multimedia art and visualization, video/movie direction and production, graphic design, web development, software development and programming, bioscience research, K-12 teaching, teacher professional development, community-based participatory research and programs, and science education research and evaluation. Our programs include:
Developing and Producing Science and Health Education Materials
The Center’s companion Learn.Genetics and Teach.Genetics websites constitute the most widely-used online genetics education resource in the world and one of the most widely-used online science education resources. Learn.Genetics features interactive, visually engaging materials for students in grades 5-12 and higher education as well as the public. Teach.Genetics provides related resource materials for educators, including videos and comprehensive guides for classroom activities that support and extend the online materials. All of our materials are developed in collaboration with researchers and master teachers from across the US.
We also collaborate with researchers at the University of Utah and other institutions across the US to develop movies, multimedia and print materials for use in science and health-related research projects.
We have received several awards for our websites and materials:
- Science and Technology Web Award from ScientificAmerican.com – one of the top 50 websites and one of the five best for Biology (2003)
- Science and Technology Web Award from ScientificAmerican.com – one of the top 50 websites and one of the five best for Health and Medicine (2004)
- Gene Screen Film Festival, award for the Using Family History to Improve Your Health movie, Genetic Alliance (2009)
- First Place, Noninteractive Multimedia category for The Epigenetics of Identical Twins movie. 2009 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and AAAS/Science Magazine
- Science Prize for Online Resources in Education from AAAS/Science Magazine (January 29, 2010; the first award of this Prize)
“Science Prize for Online Resources in Education”
“Prize” in “the first award of the Prize”
Science Teacher Education and Professional Development
Each year approximately 600 educators from across the US and other countries participate in our professional development programs for teachers of grades 5-12. These programs update teachers’ knowledge, model best practices in inquiry-based teaching and learning, and prepare teachers to use Center-developed materials. They include year-long programs for Utah teachers, 3-10 day summer institutes, and hands-on workshops at state, regional, national and international science teacher conferences, and for Utah school districts.
Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the College of Education, we coordinate and supervise the science methods courses taught through the Urban Institute for Teacher Education. We also help facilitate and teach courses for the Masters of Science in Secondary Science Teaching program for biology and chemistry teachers.
Community-Engaged Science and Health-Focused Programs with Diverse Communities
We work in collaboration with the African American, African refugee, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, and Pacific Islander communities in the Salt Lake Valley, the Utah Department of Health and University of Utah faculty and staff. These projects are designed to educate community members and improve their health. Some projects focus on the connection between genetics and health and the importance of family health history.
Research and Evaluation in Science and Health Education
We conduct research and evaluation on the Center’s programs to determine their effectiveness. Research designs include randomized controlled trials, closely-matched comparison groups, longitudinal studies, qualitative studies, and mixed-methods studies. We also develop knowledge assessments and other instruments for use in research and evaluation projects.
We also collaborate with researchers at the U of U and other universities to conduct scientific, health-related and education-focused studies. And we conduct evaluations for science education programs at the U of U and Utah school districts.
Hosting National Science Education Conferences
We facilitate interaction and collaborations among science education partnership and outreach programs nation-wide by planning and hosting annual conferences. These conferences bring together 250-300 PIs, project staff, evaluators, teachers who participate in the programs, NIH staff and other interested individuals.
Rothwell EW, Anderson RA, Burbank MJ, Goldenberg AJ, Lewis MH, Stark LA, Wong B and Botkin JB (2011). Concerns of newborn blood screening advisory committee members regarding storage and use of residual newborn screening blood spots. American Journal of Public Health. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2010.200485
Stark LA (2011). Life Sciences Career Exploration. CBE-Life Sciences Education. 10:231-234.
Stark LA (2010). Beneficial Microorganisms: Countering Microbephobia. CBE-Life Sciences Education. 9:387-389.
Stark LA (2010). Epigenetics Online: Multimedia Teaching Resources. CBE-Life Sciences Education 9:6-9.
Stark LA and Pompei K (2010). Making Genetics Easy to Understand. Science 327:538-539 (PubMed ID: 20110495).
Stark LA (2009). Darwin on the Web: Resources for Darwin 200 and Beyond. CBE-Life Sciences Education 8:1-6.
Stark LA (2008). Plant Movements Revealed. CBE-Life Sciences Education 7:284-287.
Stark LA (2008). Bringing Developmental Biology to Life on the Web. CBE-Life Sciences Education 7:5-9.
Stark LA, Giles R and Johnson J (2008). Consumer Genetics Education Network (CGEN): Genetics Education Materials for Hispanic/Latino Students and Families. NCC Collaborator 2 (2):3. (http://www.nccrcg.org/newsletter/NCC_Collaborator_06-09-08.pdf)
Stark LA (2004). Life Science Education: Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s World, pp. 1-16, IN Innovation and Diversity in Education, Khoo A, Heng MA, Lim L, and Ang RP, eds. McGraw-Hill Education (Asia), Singapore.
Thomas L, Stark LA and Judd-Murray, MR (2002). Activities for “Standard V: Inherited Traits” IN Fifth Grade Teacher Resource Book, eds, Embley P. and Nance P. Utah State Office of Education and Jordan School District.
Stark L (2002). Does Sunscreen Protect My DNA? IN Relating Genetics to Everyday Life: A Collection of Activities for the High School Biology Classroom. The Science House, ed., North Carolina State University.
Wilson ET and Stark L (2002). Finding a Gene on the Chromosome Map IN Relating Genetics to Everyday Life: A Collection of Activities for the High School Biology Classroom. The Science House, ed., North Carolina State University.
Price B, Wilson ET and Stark L (2002). Mystery Yeast Mutation IN Relating Genetics to Everyday Life: A Collection of Activities for the High School Biology Classroom. The Science House, ed., North Carolina State University.
Educational materials published on the Genetic Science Learning Center’s Learn.Genetics and Teach.Genetics websites
[link Learn.Genetics to http://learn.genetics.utah.edu and link Teach.Genetics to http://teach.genetics.utah.edu]
Stark L (2011). Executive Producer. Stem Cells module. Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah.
Stark L (2010). Executive Producer. Variation, Selection and Time module. Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah.
Stark L (2009). Executive Producer. Great Salt Lake Ecology module. Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah.
Stark L (2009). Executive Producer. Epigenetics module. Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah.
Stark L (2008). Executive Producer. Amazing Cells module. Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah.
Stark L (2008). Executive Producer. Molecular Genealogy.
Stark L (2006). Contributing writer and editor. Using Family History to Improve Your Health module.
Stark L (2005). Executive Producer. The New Science of Addiction: Genetics and the Brain module.
Stark L (2005). Contributing writer and editor. Personalized Medicine: Pharmacogenomics module.
Stark L (2003, 2006). Contributing writer and editor. Introduction to Heredity (Grades 5-7) activities.
Stark L (2003). Contributing writer and editor. Gene Therapy: Molecular Bandage? module.
Stark L (2002). Contributing writer and editor. Cloning in Focus module.
Stark L (2002). Contributing writer and editor. Stem Cells in the Spotlight module.
Price B, Wilson ET and Stark L (2002). Mystery Yeast Mutation
Wilson ET and Stark L (2002). Finding a Gene on the Chromosome Map.
Stark L (2002). Does Sunscreen Protect My DNA?
Starr H and Stark L (2001). How to Extract DNA From Anything Living
Stark L (2000). Colorful Electrophoresis.
Stark L (2000). Build A Gel Electrophoresis Chamber.
Stark L (1999). DNA Extraction From Wheat Germ.
Crowley C, Menlove R, Stark L, and Starr H (2005) Stem Cells and You. Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah and Utah Museum of Natural History.
|Louisa Stark, Ph.D.
Department of Human Genetics
University of Utah
15 N 2030 E Rm 7120
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-5330