Starting in 1973, I have taught numerous courses centered on basic molecular genetics, chromatin structure and function, and eukaryotic genomes.  My students have been primarily university undergraduates, but the list includes courses targeted for graduate students, high school teachers, and K-8 teachers, as well as short lessons / lab experiences for K-12 students (high school, middle school, elementary school).  Course enrollment has varied from ~450 students (introductory molecular genetics) to 8 students (freshman eukaryotic genomics).  Much of the work with K-12 teachers and students was carried out with the WU Science Outreach program, now the Institute for School Partnership, directed by Victoria May (see ).

In all courses, the emphasis has been on thinking about how we know what we think we know – what is the experimental evidence.  In large courses this takes place during challenge questions to interpret evidence and describe experiments; more recently, in smaller courses this has involved engaging students in genomics research using a CURE format (course-based undergraduate research experience).  Over the last ~20 years I have focused on bringing more genomics into the biology curriculum.  This has led to establishing the Genomics Education Partnership ( ).  The publications listed below stem from these efforts.

Recent courses:


Bio 4342/434W:  Research Explorations in Genomics.  An intensive one-semester research lab course, in which students are engaged in research on the Drosophila dot chromosome using comparative genomics.  Students learn to use Consed, BLAST, large databases, and other tools and resources to improve the quality of a genome sequence and to annotate putative genes and other features, looking at the evolutionary processes in this region of the genome.  A “writing intensive” version of the course is available. 

For more information on Undergraduate courses offered through Washington University’s Biology Department, please visit the Biology Department website at .


Bio 5284: Current Research in Chromatin, Epigenetics, and Nuclear Organization.  A journal club for graduate students and upper-level undergraduates.

Bio 5924:  Molecular Basis of Heredity.  A lecture/discussion/lab course specifically for high school teachers seeking to update their background in molecular genetics.  Topics in genomics and epigenetics are emphasized.  Includes wet lab and computer lab.

For more information on Graduate courses offered through Washington University and the School of Medicine, please visit the Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences .  For more information on courses for K-12 teachers, please see the Institute for School Partnership .

Selected Publications:

Elgin, S.C.R., Flowers, S. and May, V. (2005) “’Modern Genetics for All Students:’ An Example of a High School / University Partnership,” Cell Biol Edu 4, 32-34 (

Flowers, S.K., Easter, C., Holmes, A., Cohen, B., Bednarski, A., Mardis, E.R., Wilson, R.K., and Elgin, S.C.R. (2005)  “Genome Science: A Video Tour of the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center for High School and Undergraduate Students,” Cell Biol. Edu. 4, 291-297.

Lopatto, D, C Alvarez, D Barnard, C Chandrasekaran, H-M Chung, C Du, T Eckdahl, AL Goodman, C Hauser, CJ Jones, OR Kopp, GA Kuleck, G McNeil, R Morris, JL  Myka, A Hagengast, PJ Overvoorde, JL Poet, K Reed, G Regisford, D Revie, A Rosenwald, K Saville, M Shaw, GR Skuse, C Smith, M Smith, M Spratt, J Stamm, JS Thompson, BA Wilson, C Witkowski, J Youngblom, W Leung, CD Shaffer, J Buhler, E Mardis, SCR Elgin (2008). “Genomics Education Partnership,” Science 322, 684-685. PMCID: PMC2953277.

Shaffer, C, C Alvarez, C Bailey, D Barnard, S Bhalla, C Chandrasekaran, V Chandrasekaran, HM Chung, D Dorer, C Du, T Eckdahl, J Poet, D Frohlich, A Goodman, Y Gosser, CHauser, L Hoopes, D Johnson, C Jones, M Kaehler, N Kokan, O Kopp, G Kuleck, G McNeil, RMoss, J Myka, A Nagengast, R Morris, P Overvoorde, E Shoop, S Parrish, K Reed, E Regisford, D Revie, A Rosenwald, K Saville, S Schroeder, M Shaw, C Smith, G Skuse, M Smith, E Spana, M Spratt, J Stamm, J Thompson, M Wawersik, B Wilson, J Youngblom, W Leung, J Buhler, E Mardis, D Lopatto, SCR Elgin (2010) “The Genomics Education Partnership: Successful integration of research into laboratory classes at a diverse group of undergraduate institutions,” CBE-Life Sci Educ. Spring: 9: 55-69. PMCID: PMC2830162.

Anderson WA, RM Amasino, M Ares Jr, U Benerjee, B Bartel, VG Corces, CL Drennan, SC Elgin, IR Epstein, E Fanning, LJ Guilette Jr, J Handelsman, GF Hatfull, RR Hoy, D Kelley, LA Leinwand, R Losick, Y Lu, DG Lynn, C Neuhauser, DK O’Dowd, T Olivera, P Pevzner, RR Richards-Kortum, J Rine, RL Sah, SA Strobel, GC Walker, DR Walt, IM Warner, S Wessler, HF Willard, RN Zare (2011) Competencies: a cure for pre-med curriculum.  Science 334: 760-1.  PMID 22076362. (letter to the editor).

Shaffer, CD, Alvarez CJ, Bednarski AE, Dunbar D, Goodman AL, Reinke C, Rosenwald AG, Wolyniak MJ, Bailey C, Barnard D, Bazinet C, Beach DL, Bedard JE, Bhalla S, Braverman J, Burg M, Chandrasekaran V, Chung HM, Clase K, Dejong RJ, Diangelo JR, Du C, Eckdahl TT, Eisler H, Emerson JA, Frary A, Frohlich D, Gosser Y, Govind S, Haberman A, Hark AT, Hauser C, Hoogewerf A, Hoopes LL, Howell CE, Johnson D, Jones CJ, Kadlec L, Kaehler M, Silver Key SC, Kleinschmit A, Kokan NP, Kopp O, Kuleck G, Leatherman J, Lopilato J, Mackinnon C, Martinez-Cruzado JC, McNeil G, Mel S, Mistry H, Nagengast A, Overvoorde P, Paetkau DW, Parrish S, Peterson CN, Preuss M, Reed LK, Revie D, Robic S, Roecklein-Canfield J, Rubin MR, Saville K, Schroeder S, Sharif K, Shaw M, Skuse G, Smith CD, Smith MA, Smith ST, Spana E, Spratt M, Sreenivasan A, Stamm J, Szauter P, Thompson JS, Wawersik M, Youngblom J, Zhou L, Mardis ER, Buhler J, Leung W, Lopatto D, Elgin SCR (2014)  A course-based research experience: How benefits change with increased investment in instructional time.  CBE-Life Science Education 13: 111-30.   PMID: 24591510.

Jordan, TC, SH Burnett, S Carson, SM Caruso, K Clase, RJ DeJong, JJDennehy, DR    Denver, D Dunbar, SR Elgin, AM Findley, CR Gissendanner, UP Golebiewska, N Guild, GA Hartzog, WH Grillo, GP Hollowell, LE Hughes, A Johnson, RA King, LO Lewis, W Li, F Rosenzweig, MR Rubin, MS Saha, J Sandoz, CD Shaffer, B Taylor, L Temple, E Vazquez, VC Ware, LP Barker, KW Bradley, D Jacobs-Sera, WH Pope, DA Russell, SG Cresawn, D Lopatto, CP Bailey, GF Hatfull. (2014) A broadly implementable research course in phage discovery and genomics for first-year undergraduate students. MBio 5: pii: e01051-13  PMID: 24496795.

Lopatto, D, C Hauser, CJ Jones, D Paetkau,V Chandrasekaran, D Dunbar, C MacKinnon, J Stamm, C Alvarez, D Barnard, JE Bedard, AE Bednarski, S Bhalla, JM Braverman, M Burg, H-M Chung, RJ DeJong, JR DiAngelo, C Du, TT Eckdahl, J Emerson, A Frary, D Frohlich, AL Goodman, Y Gosser, S Govind, A Haberman, AT Hark, A Hoogewerf, D Johnson, L Kadlec, M Kaehler, SC Silver Key, N Kokan, OR Kopp, GA Kuleck, J Lopilato, JC Martinez-Cruzado, G McNeil, S Mel, A Nagengast, PJ Overvoorde, S Parrish, M Preuss, LD Reed, EG Regisford, D Revie, S Robic, JA Roecklien-Canfield, AG Rosenwald, MR Rubin, K Saville, S Schroeder, K Sharif, M Shaw, G Skuse, CD Smith, M Smith, ST Smith, EP Spana, M Spratt, A Sreenivasan, JS Thompson, M Wawersik, M Wolyniak, J Youngblom, L Zhou, J Buhler, E Mardis, W Leung, CD Shaffer, J Threlfall, SCR Elgin (2014)  A central support system can facilitate implementation and sustainability of a classroom-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) in genomics.  CBE-Life Science Education 13: 711-23.

Commentary on Leung et al 2015, discussing student co-authorship:  see for a summary.

Pope WH, Bowman CA, Russell DA, Jacobs-Sera D, Asai DJ, Cresawn SG, Jacobs WR, Hendrix RW, Lawrence JG, Hatfull GF; Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters  Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science; Phage Hunters Integrating Research  and Education; Mycobacterial Genetics Course. (2015) “Whole genome comparison of a large collection of mycobacteriophages reveals a continuum of phage genetic diversity”. Elife. 2015 Apr 28;4:e06416. PMID: 25919952.  Self and 91 WU undergrads listed as collaborators.

Dinsdale E, SCR Elgin, N Gradgenett, W Morgan, A Rosenwald, W Tapprich, EW Triplett, MA Pauley  (2015) NIBLSE: A network for integrating bioinformatics into life science education.  CBE-Life Sci Educ 14, doi: 10.1187/cbe.15-06-0123.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015.  Integrating Discovery-Based Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum: Report of a Convocation. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.  (Chaired Planning   Committee and contributed substantially to written report.)

Elgin, SCR, G Bangera, SM Decatur, EL Dolan, L Guertin, SC Newstetter, EF San Juan, MA Smith, GC Weaver, SR Wessler, KA Brenner, JB Labov  (2016)  Insights from a Convocation:  Integrating Discovery-Based Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum.  CBE-Life Sciences Educ Summer; 15(2) pii: fe2 PMCID: PMC4909350.

Weisstein AE, E Gracheva, Z Goodwin, Z Qi, W Leung, CD Shaffer, SCR Elgin  (2016)     A Hands-on introduction to Hidden Markov Models.  CourseSource, ISSN 2332- 6530,         markov-models

Elgin, S, C Hauser, TM Holzen, CJ Jones, A Kleinschmit, J Leatherman, Genomics Education Partnership (117 additional contributing authors).  (2016) The GEP: Crowd-Sourcing Big Data Analysis with Undergraduates.  Trends in Genetics 33: 81-85.

Laakso, MM, LV Paliulis, P Croonquist, B Derr, E Gracheva, C Hauser, C Howell, CJ Jones, JD Kagey, J Kennell, SC Silver Key, H Mistry, S Robic, J Sanford, M Santisteban, C Small, R Spokony, J Stamm, M Van Stry, W Leung, SCR Elgin. (2017) An undergraduate bioinformatics curriculum that teaches eukaryotic gene structure.  CourseSource .

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017.  Report: Undergraduate Research Experiences for STEM Students:  Successes, Challenges & Opportunities. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.  (Member of the Authoring committee, contributed to writing and revision of report.)

Elgin, SCR, G Bangera, VP Buonacorsi, DL Chalker, E Dinsdale, EL Dolan, L Fletcher, A Hunt, CJ Lawrence-Dill, W Leung, LK Reed, AG Rosenwald, S Subramanya, E Wiley, J Williams (2017) A Gnomics Education Alliance. Figshare

Wilson-Sayers, MA, C Hauser, M Sierk, S Robic, A G Rosenwald, T M Smith, E W Triplett, J Williams, E Dinsdale, W Morgan, J M Burnette, III, S S Donovan, J C Drew, S CR Elgin, E R Fowlks, S Galindo-Gonzalez, N F Grandgenett, C C Goller, J Jungck, J D Newman, W Pearson, E Ryder, R Tosado-Acevedo, W Tapprich, T C Tobin, A Toro, L R Welch, R Wright, D Ebenbach, K C Olney, M McWilliams, & M A Pauley (2018) Bioinformatics Core Competencies for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education. PLoS ONE 13(6): e0196878.

Anbar, A, S Elgin, J Jez, D O’Dowd, B Shapiro, M Zaman (2018) Improving societies’ harassment policies.  Science 361: 984-5 (letter to the editor).