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Think Evolution: A summer institute for science educators

Sponsored by UCMP, in partnership with the National Center for Science Education, the Beacon Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Think Evolution VII: A summer institute for science educators

Calling all middle school, high school, and community college biology teachers and science educators!

Put on your evolution eyeglasses and your nature of science thinking cap and join us for (yet another) fun-filled five days of evolutionary explorations with biologists and educators at the University of California. The Think Evolution Summer Institute, returning for its seventh year, will combine lectures by prominent evolutionary biologists with sessions focused on hands-on activities for the middle school, high school, and community college classroom.

Monday through Friday, July 27–31, 2015
UC Museum of Paleontology, 2063 Valley Life Sciences Building, UC Berkeley
9:00 am to 3:00 pm

$75.00 for five days; includes lots of free resources distributed to participating teachers plus morning and afternoon snacks.

** The program is FULL and REGISTRATION IS CLOSED as of June 9, 2015 **

Institute schedule

Monday, July 27
8:00-8:30 am Registration
8:30-9:00 Coffee and munchies
9:00-9:30 Introductions and logistics
9:30-10:45 A conversation with Laura Novick, Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University
Solving problems in nature and at home: Unleashing the power of tree thinking in your classroom
Scientists use phylogenetic trees to organize data about evolutionary relationships, test hypotheses, and make inferences t1; activities collectively known as tree thinking. Many school biology textbooks display these trees. For the past 10 years, Laura, a cognitive psychologist, and Kefyn an evolutionary biologist and science educator, have collaborated to investigate how students understand and interpret evolutionary trees. Their joint conversation will discuss the results of their research, its relevance in biology classrooms, and what educators can do to introduce the world of tree thinking to students. Curriculum materials and resources will be shared, and participants will complete a tree-thinking activity suitable for use in their classrooms.
10:45-11:00 Break
11:00-12:15 A conversation with Kefyn Catley, Professor of Biology, Western Carolina University
Solving problems in nature and at home: Unleashing the power of tree thinking in your classroom, continued
See description above.
12:15-1:00 Tree thinking lab activity and resource sharing
1:00-3:00 Resource sharing, NOVA evolution labs
Tuesday, July 28
8:30-9:00 am Coffee and munchies
9:00-9:30 Morning warm-up and logistics for the day
9:30-10:45 A conversation with Travis Hagey, Postdoctoral student, Biological Sciences, University of Idaho
The gecko adhesive system: How it works and how it evolved
The question of why animals are shaped the way they are has intrigued scientists for hundreds of years. Considering links between morphology, performance, and habitat, my research investigates the adhesive abilities of geckos. Geckos are a diverse group of lizards, well known for their adhesive toe pads. Using mathematical modeling, 3D imaging borrowed from the medical field, and engineering simulations, I study how morphological variation in the tiny structures that make up gecko toe pads influence their performance. I also investigate broader patterns, using phylogenetic comparative methods to predict how adhesive performance has evolved across geckos and other pad-bearing lizards.
10:45-11:00 Break
11:00-12:15 A conversation with Terry Gosliner, Senior Curator, California Academy of Sciences
Biodiversity discovery and partnerships: new models for leveraging scientific discovery for conservation
12:15-1:00 Lunch with the scientists (bring your own lunch)
1:00-3:00 Animal mobility, trackways, and resource sharing
Wednesday, July 29
8:30-9:00 am Coffee and munchies
9:00-9:30 Morning warm-up and logistics for the day
9:30-10:45 A conversation with Rauri Bowie, Associate Professor of Integrative Biology, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, UC Berkeley
The use of phylogenetic data in bird systematics, biogeography and conservation
During this talk I will explore how phylogenetic data is contributing to rapidly improving our understanding of avian systematics, how such data has revolutionized about ideas about avian, how such data can contribute to our understanding of species distributions (macroecology) and why this all matters for conservation.
10:45-11:00 Break
11:00-12:15 A conversation with Satish Pillai, Associate Professor, UC San Francisco School of Medicine
Engaging the Extreme Evolvability of HIV
HIV/AIDS is one of the world's most serious health challenges. To date, there is no cure or effective preventative vaccine for HIV infection. The extreme evolvability of HIV is unquestionably critical to its ability to persist in the infected individual and in the human population at large. In my talk, I will present a range of viral phylogenetic analyses that attempt to answer key fundamental questions about the biology of HIV from an evolutionary perspective. Where did HIV come from? Why have we been unable to defeat HIV? How can we eradicate HIV in the future?
12:15-1:00 Lunch with the scientists (bring your own lunch)
1:00-3:00 The Tree Room, more tree-thinking, and NOVA evolution labs
Thursday, July 30
9:00-9:30 Shuttle and carpool to the Berkeley Space Sciences Lab
9:30-3:30 (with lunch break; bring your lunch) Talks and tours from UC Berkeley space and life scientists and an introduction to A Place for Life: A special astronomy exhibit on Understanding Evolution
Friday, July 31
9:00-9:30 Morning check-in and logistics for the day
9:30-10:45 A conversation with Kevin Padian, Professor and Curator, Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Paleontology, UC Berkeley
How phylogenies help us solve the BIG problems in evolution
10:45-11:00 Break
11:00-12:15 Intro to HHMI resources (with teacher ambassadors)
12:15-1:00 Lunch with the scientists (bring your own lunch)
1:00-3:00 More HHMI evolution resources (with teacher ambassadors)

About the Speakers

Rauri Bowie is the Faculty Curator of Birds in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley. The major focus of his research is centered on understanding how the diverse bird fauna of Africa has been assembled over time. In order to better understand the origin and underlying patterns of diversification inherent in the African avifauna, his research takes a hierarchical approach, combining higher-level systematics with population genetic and phylogeographic (spatial patterns of genetic diversity) methodologies. Rauri completed his studies in 2003 at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Kefyn Catley has been fascinated with bugs from a very early age. Following a first career as a musician he earned his B.Sc. in zoology from the University of Wales and a Ph.D. in arthropod systematics from Cornell. His background is in evolutionary biology and he worked for a number of years as a Research Scientist at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, studying the evolutionary biology of spiders. Traveling extensively he has studied spiders in Chile, Australia, Europe and throughout North America. He is a professor of biology and director of the science education program at Western Carolina University. His science education research revolves around students' difficulties in understanding evolution, macroevolution in particular, while his biological research focuses on the systematics and ecology of spiders. He has published on spider biology and systematics, evolution and environmental education, and the biodiversity crisis.

Terry Gosliner is a Senior Curator at the California Academy of Sciences and a leading researcher in the evolutionary history of nudibranchs, the colorful group also known as sea slugs. Utilizing phylogenetic techniques, both morphological and molecular, his research on the evolution and adaptive radiation of opisthobranch mollusks has implications to conservation biology. He has conducted extensive field work in southern Africa, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Galápagos Islands and California. He recently led the Philippine Biodiversity Expedition that documented remarkable new biodiversity from Philippine forest, coral reefs, and deep-sea environments. Terry holds degrees from UC Berkeley (BA), the University of Hawaii (MS), and the University of New Hampshire (PhD).

Travis Hagey is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Idaho, funded by the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. Working with Dr. Matt Riley, Travis is investigating gecko toe pad performance using microCT imaging and finite element analyses. Travis completed his Ph.D. at the University of Idaho with advisor Dr. Luke Harmon focusing his dissertation work in the micormechancis, diversity, and ecology of gecko adhesion.

Laura R. Novick is an associate professor of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt University, where she investigates students' ability to understand and reason with diagrams, particularly evolutionary trees. She earned a B.S. in psychology from The University of Iowa and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Stanford University. She is a Fellow of both the Association for Psychological Science and the Psychonomic Society. Laura is a co-author of the 2012 book, Discipline-based education research: Understanding and improving learning in undergraduate science and engineering, an outgrowth of her participation on an interdisciplinary National Research Council committee. She has also consulted with educators at natural history museums on best practices for depicting evolutionary trees in museum settings. In her spare time, Laura competes in agility with her two dogs. Read more about Laura's work with evolutionary trees.

Kevin Padian is Professor of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley and Curator at the UC Museum of Paleontology. His areas of interest are in vertebrate evolution, especially the especially the origins of flight and the evolution of birds from theropod dinosaurs. Kevin received a Bachelor's degree in Natural Science and Master's degree in Teaching from Colgate University and a Ph.D. from Yale University, where he focused on the evolution of flight in pterosaurs.

Satish Pillai is an Associate Investigator at Blood Systems Research Institute (BSRI), Associate Professor of Laboratory Medicine at UCSF, and an Associate Director of the UCSF Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). He received his B.Sc. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona and his Ph.D. in Biology at UCSD. Satish’s research employs a systems biology approach to investigate the host and viral genetic determinants of HIV evolution, pathogenesis, and persistence in vivo.

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