BIO Distinguished Lecture Series: Dr. David Micklos

Please join us on March 5th as the Directorate for Biological Sciences welcomes Dr. David Micklos, the Executive Director of the DNA Learning Center at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, for his Distinguished Lecture titled, “What’s Wrong (and Right) with American Science Education?”


Dr. David Micklos 

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

What’s Wrong (and Right) with American Science Education?


The poor performance of American precollege students in international science assessments begs the question: What is wrong with science education in this country? The countries that perform well on these assessments emphasize rote learning and tend to have relatively homogenous populations, centralized school authorities. The heterogeneity of American population and decentralized school systems are behind the poor scores but are also the source of what is right about American education: innovation and emphasis on science process and student research. Data from our longitudinal study (1998-2018) of high school biology provide evidence of widespread innovation in biology education but an erosion of teacher professionalism and esprit that enabled it. This was paralleled by a drastic decline in intensive teacher professional development by the NSF at the expense of formal research on science education. Our data argue for a renewed NSF commitment to teacher training—including the evidence-based practice revealed by a decade of intensive education research.


Dave Micklos founded the DNA Learning Center as the world’s first science center devoted to public genetics education. It operates at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and employs a multidisciplinary staff of 30. Dave is co-PI of two major NSF-funded collaborations: CyVerse, a national cyberinfrastructure for biology research, and InnovATEBIO, the National Center for Biotechnology Education Center. Through these and other grant-funded programs, Dave advocates for broad participation in student research using DNA sequence analysis and high-performance computing. He received the 1990 Dana Award for Pioneering Achievement in Education, the 2011 Science Prize for Online Resources in Education, and the 2012 Genetics Society of America Award for Excellence in Education. Dave is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is the only CSHL staff member to receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from its Watson School of Biological Sciences.

The lecture will be webcast at 3:00 PM EST on March 5th at the following URL:

Please contact Nick Hunt [] to attend in person at NSF Headquarters. Advance sign-up requests are required, and guidelines for visiting NSF are at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s