About the Center

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The DNA Learning Center, dedicated September 2013 and located in Jordan Hall of Science at the University of Notre Dame, is a hands-on science center devoted to modern biology education created to prepare K-12 students to thrive in the gene age. Our advanced science education center is the ideal teaching tool built 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. It is also designed as a resource for the local community on genetics information.

Leveraging Notre Dame’s strength in molecular biology, the center plans to offer workshops and resources for elementary through high school schools, one-week summer camps for middle and high school students, DNA workshops for the general public, classroom visits, and laboratory field trips for students in grades 5-12. As a licensee of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNALearning Center in New York, we have access to 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.

About the Dr. John and Heidi Passarelli Family Director of the DNA Learning Center  

Dr. Amy Stark was hired after a comprehensive search for an inaugural director. 

Dr. Amy Stark

Dr. Stark received her Ph.D. in Human Genetics from the University of Chicago where she had continued to work in biomedical research in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Stark's research has focused on the area of pharmacogenomics, the study of using genetics to predict a patient's drug response. Specifically, Dr. Stark has worked in the area of chemotherapy predictors and has incorporated genetics with protein levels, microRNA levels, methylation levels, and mRNA expression levels. Dr. Stark is also a leader within the professional society for human genetics, the American Society for Human Genetics. She was recognized in 2020 by Michiana 40 under 40 for her leadership in the community.

Beyond her scientific credentials, Dr. Stark has a deep passion for outreach and has been engaged in science outreach through a variety of organizations. To her, the most rewarding part of being a scientist is mentoring young scientists. She has served as the Executive Director of the Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair since the fall of 2019.

Dr. Stark is originally from the Chicagoland area.  She is a graduate of Lake Central High School,  Valparaiso University, and University of Chicago. Her hobbies outside of science include traveling, reading, and acting.


About the DNA Learning Center's Administrative Coordinator

Emily Arroyo started as the DNA Learning Center's Administrative Coordinator in 2023. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Emily graduated from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor’s degree in History.
Emily Arroyo
 Prior to coming to Notre Dame, she worked at Ancestry.com and in property management. Emily is thrilled to be part of the Notre Dame community and is especially excited to be helping young scientists learn more about genetics! In her free time, Emily likes to read, bake, and explore new places—especially National Parks!
Emily also works with Kim Poovey who relocated and  continues to remotely support the DNA Learning Center from her new home in Pennsylvania!