Notre Dame to dedicate new DNA Learning Center

Author: Marissa Gebhard

DNA Learning Center

In collaboration with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame will dedicate the DNA Learning Center at 11:30 a.m. Saturday (Sept. 28) in the Jordan Hall of Science, Room 139. The event is open to the public.

A hands-on science center devoted to modern biology education, the DNA Learning Center will prepare local K-12 students to thrive in the gene age. This advanced science education center will be the ideal teaching tool to inspire young students to pursue careers in science and to build a knowledge base that will extend into their educational and post-educational careers.

The DNA Learning Center at Notre Dame will fulfill the vision of benefactors John and Heidi Passarelli, who saw how Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center (DNALC) was providing hands-on genetics education to children across the New York metro area, and envisioned partnering the research expertise of the University of Notre Dame with the teaching methods of DNALC to bring the same opportunity to K-12 students in the South Bend community. John Passarelli, College of Science advisory council member, said, “The collaboration between the University of Notre Dame and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory will bring significant benefits to the University and the local community. The new center will bring a synergy between research, education and outreach that will impact the local community and strengthen the Notre Dame community.”

“As CSHL celebrates the 25th birthday of its DNALC this year, we are pleased to help this great university expand its outreach to local schools and provide advanced lab experiences to large numbers of pre-college students,” said David Micklos, DNALC executive director.

Leveraging Notre Dame’s strength in molecular biology, the center plans to offer two-day workshops and resources for K-12 educators, one-week summer camps for high school students, DNA workshops for the general public, and laboratory field trips for K-12 students. 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 DNALC such as specialized DNA learning kits that include reagents, supplies, equipment checklists, lab instructions and manuals for learning modern biology.

Greg Crawford, dean of the College of Science, said, “We are thrilled to open an advanced science education center to engage K-12 students. Through active, firsthand, investigative experiences, the young students will ask questions, probe for answers and develop an early understanding of basic science that will inspire them for the future.”

Contact: Marissa Gebhard, 574-631-4465,