The Slotkin laboratory is dedicated to diversifying biology.
Below are some of the Outreach & Education activities that we either lead or participate in:
1. Mutant Millets - serving St. Louis Middle & High Schools.
Keith Slotkin is the lead-PI of this Outreach Project that is taught in ~10 schools per semester. The students grow EMS populations of Setaria and hunt for mutant plants! This project is a collaboration with the Danforth Center’s amazing Education Research and Outreach Lab and is supported by an NSF’s Understanding the Rules of Life grant.
Watch a pandemic-time introduction to Mutant Millets that Keith recorded from his office here.
Here is a recent teaching publication from this program:
2. Anyone Can Be A Scientist When They Use the Scientific Method!
This is a one-hour classroom exercise taught several times per year over the last four years by Keith Slotkin. The excercise is suitable for Middle or High School students. It explains what a scientist does on a daily basis, and demonstrates that everyone uses aspects of the Scientific Method in their daily life (for example to fix a broken lamp). This interactive hour helps demonstrate to students that thinking like a scientist is innate, helps give that ability a voice, and proves that anyone can be a scientist, even without a fancy lab. This exercise was born out of a long term collaboration with The Ohio State Young Scholars Program.
3. Slotkin Lab Internships from the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation’s Food, Agriculture and Nutrition Innovation Center
The Danforth Center has collaborated with Team U.S.A. and local hero Jackie Joyner-Kersee and her Foundation to form the Food, Agriculture and Nutrition Innovation Center in East St. Louis. This exciting partnership was recently announced. The Slotkin lab integrates High School interns from East St. Louis for summer research projects.
4. Course-Based Undergraduate Research
The Slotkin lab has developed Course-Based Undergraduate Research for students to screen for stress resilient plants in populations with or without active transposable elements. We visit the classrooms and help the students with their projects. This project was most recently integrated into a biology course at Lindenwood University with the help of Dr. Joshua Neely. This project was born out of the previous integration of Slotkin lab research into a Molecular Genetics laboratory course at The Ohio State University.
5. Scientific Talks to the Public
Keith Slotkin routinely gives talks to non-scientists. Here is an example video.
6. Danforth Center Research Experience for Undergraduates
The Slotkin lab is an annual participant in this NSF-funded REU project, integrating undergraduate students into the lab for a summer full of research, training and mentoring. More on this program here and here. See our Alumni page for recent students that have been a part of this program.
7. Danforth Center’s Responsible Conduct in Research Committee
Keith Slotkin is a member on the Danforth Center’s RCR Committee. We provide face-to-face training on best research practices, authorship, plagiarism, and other ethical traps that scientists commonly fall into.
8. Teaching Resources
After watching too many cooking shows, Keith wrote an essay on how to reimagine a laboratory course: R.K. Slotkin. Designing a Better Laboratory Course. Teaching Guide for Graduate Student Instructors 2005-2006, University of California Press.