The CLS will lead activities in physics education and human resource development centered around the needs of our research community and those of our local neighborhood.

Arvind coaches a graduate student

Physics Education & Training Culture

The 2021 NAS Decadal Report on Biological Physics emphasized the need for curricular development in biological physics [1]. Such curricular development both cultivates an appreciation for the role of physics in understanding living systems (by all physics students) and attracts students interested in living systems to pursue physics degrees. Further, increasing the range applications of physics concepts used in curricula increases interest in pursuing physics education by underrepresented populations [2-4]. The CLS will develop and disseminate curricular modules to incorporate PoLS into K-16 physics education

A central human resource challenge to the physics community is the systematic marginalization of certain racial and ethnic groups, gender identities and sexualities. The CLS will implement recommendations of recent studies to facilitate belonging, development of physics identity, and self-efficacy of all CLS participants (undergraduate & graduate students, postdoctoral fellows & senior investigators) and explore these as a holistic framework to catalyze changes in equity, diversity and inclusivity in physics communities [5-8]. The CLS will provide leadership and disseminate resources, tools, and ideas more broadly to our physics community.

Physics of Living Systems research community

The CLS will run programs to enhance education and career development within our research community.   This includes establishing a CLS postdoctoral fellowship, an annual symposium, collaboratorium at the Marine Biological Laboratory, These programs simultaneously serve to foster interactions within the CLS and with the research community at large.

Outreach to our neighborhood

Our programs for K-12 students and teachers-training courses are designed with intention of encouraging underserved and underrepresented communities throughout the South Side of Chicago to participate in science.


  1. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2022) Physics of Life.
  2. Hilborn RC, Howes RH, Krane KS (2003) Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics: Project Report. :140.
  3. Joint Task Force on Undergraduate Physics Programs (2016) Phys21: Preparing Physics Students for 21st-Century Careers. :72.
  4. Busch-Vishniac IJ, Jarosz JP (2004) Can Diversity in the Undergraduate Engineering Population Be Enhanced Through Curricular Change? Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 10(3):255–282.
  5. The AIP National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics and Astronomy (TEAM-UP) (2020) The AIP National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics and Astronomy (TEAM-UP) (2020) TEAM-UP Report. :186.
  6. Posselt J, Reyes KA, Slay KE, Kamimura A, Porter KB (2017) Equity Efforts as Boundary Work: How Symbolic and Social Boundaries Shape Access and Inclusion in Graduate Education. Teachers College Record, 119(10):1–38.
  7. Theobald EJ, Hill MJ, Tran E, Agrawal S, Arroyo EN, Behling S, Chambwe N, Cintrón DL, Cooper JD, Dunster G, Grummer JA, Hennessey K, Hsiao J, Iranon N, Jones L, Jordt H, Keller M, Lacey ME, Littlefield CE, Lowe A, Newman S, Okolo V, Olroyd S, Peecook BR, Pickett SB, Slager DL, Caviedes-Solis IW, Stanchak KE, Sundaravardan V, Valdebenito C, Williams CR, Zinsli K, Freeman S (2020) Active Learning Narrows Achievement Gaps for Underrepresented Students in Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(12):6476–6483.
  8.  National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2019) The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM.
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