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Aditi Pai Pilots Genetics and Genealogy Project

February 2016

Under the direction of Aditi Pai, Ph.D., associate professor of biology and co-director of the Teaching Resource and Research Center, Spelman College will pilot an introductory biology course and take part in a genetics and genealogy project, with curriculum based on Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s PBS series “Finding Your Roots.”

The biology course “Personalized Genetics and Genealogy Exercises to Enhance Introductory Biology Courses,” funded with a $304,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, will launch in fall 2016.

“The project aims to promote science education through an interdisciplinary approach of using genealogy, and for learners to engage in biology concepts through exploring their personal DNA,” explained Dr. Pai. “Students will be taught the basics of genetics and evolution by exploring their own DNA with a genetic testing kit, and ways to investigate their family history using the genetics and DNA tools of biology as well as the tools of history.”

Prior to joining Spelman College in 2006, Dr. Pai was a research assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She received her bachelor’s degree in zoology from St. Joseph’s College in India, a master’s degree in ecology from Pondicherry University in India, and a Ph.D. in biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Dr. Pai can provide perspective on the following topics: evolutionary biology, behavioral ecology and host-parasite evolution.