Amy Stark named new director of the Notre Dame DNA Learning Center

Author: Stephanie Healey

Amy Stark, director of the DNA Learning Center
Amy Stark

Amy Stark, Ph.D. has been named the director of the new Notre Dame DNA Learning Center, effective June 1. The DNA Learning Center was dedicated in September 2013 and will be a hands-on science center devoted to modern biology education that will prepare local elementary through high school students to thrive in the gene age.

As a licensee of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNA Learning Center in New York, the Notre Dame DNA Learning Center will utilize teaching methods, Internet technology, and intellectual property of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNALC while also developing complementary methods and approaches.

“I’ve always loved the engagement of science and genetics and was very excited when this opportunity was announced,” Stark explained. “I am very interested in promoting genetic literacy through outreach programs and I look forward to working with the community.” 

Stark will begin connecting with local schools soon and plans to start programming for elementary and high school students in the new academic year. Long term, she hopes to broaden the range of engagement for the center to include other Notre Dame departments, local hospitals, and programs for adults.

Before coming to Notre Dame, Stark was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Chicago. She investigated genetic predictors of chemotherapeutic drug response including predictors through protein levels and gene expression, and has published 18 scientific papers in the last four years. In addition to her expertise in human genetics, Stark has significant experience with outreach and science education. She was an instructor for a genetics course created by EduCuriousTM for at-risk high school students and has judged several regional and city-wide science fairs throughout Chicago and Northwest Indiana.  Stark earned her Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Chicago and her Bachelor of Science in biology and political science from Valparaiso University.