The DNALC's multi-disciplinary staff has experience in elementary, secondary, and collegiate instruction; biochemistry and molecular biological research; computer programming; design, photography, fine arts, and interior design; science journalism; public relations and development; and opinion research.

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Allison Mayle, Ph.D.

High School Educator

In elementary school, one of my teachers put a petri dish of water on the overhead projector and asked us to think about why the water “disappeared”. I have a distinct memory of the moment when I realized that the water molecules got warm because of the light bulb and didn’t want to be near each other anymore, so they spread out and turned into gas! From then on, I was fascinated by the idea of science as a process of figuring out why and how things worked, and I took every science class I could in high school.

I attended Michigan State University in large part because of the opportunity to do research starting as a freshman through the Professorial Assistantship program. I really enjoyed working in the lab, so I applied to Ph.D. programs and landed in the Molecular and Human Genetics program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. In grad school, I studied the processes that control stem cell self-renewal (making more stem cells to maintain a pool throughout life), and how these processes go awry in blood cancers. This was an exciting time as CRISPR was coming on to the scene as a new method for gene editing, so I started working with this technique. I then moved on to a postdoc position at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where I continued to use CRISPR and study leukemia.

During my time in Houston I volunteered for programs that introduced high school students to careers in science and medicine, and at the Health Museum in the DeBakey Cell Lab where I guided visitors through a variety of science experiments. It wasn’t until I was interviewing to be a Scientist-in-Residence in NYC that I realized I was more invested in making science accessible to non-scientists than I was in doing primary research myself.

When I came across the DNA Learning Center, I knew that this was a place where my firm belief that science is for everyone was shared. I found out that they wanted to develop a CRISPR course and would be hiring Educators and applied immediately! I’m excited to spend more of my time teaching and sharing science with students.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
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