Community Engagement, Outreach, and Public Education

The Genetics Department offers a range of opportunities for people outside our department to explore the exciting world of genetics, genomics, and personalized medicine. 

Explore some of our various programs below, or find information on additional educational outreach programs at Stanford here.

Partnership with The Tech Interactive

Since 2002, the Genetics Department has partnered with The Tech Interactive (The Tech) to run a suite of community engagement programs related to genetics and science.  

Visit us in person at The Tech
Each year, over 7,500 museum visitors participate in hands-on genetic experiences led by scientists in the Stanford at The Tech program. This unique program provides an opportunity for early-career Stanford scientists to engage with community members of all ages, ranging from students visiting on field trips to multigenerational families.

Activities run on most weekdays and Saturdays, and are included with the general admission museum ticket. Open hours for the ChromoZONE can be found in The Tech’s weekly schedule.

Activities on rotation may include:

  • Ancient DNA Stories: Uncover the stories of people who lived thousands of years ago using DNA

  • Cabbage Paints: Create art with color-changing paint made from vegetables

  • Cheek Cell-fies: Take a close look at your cheek cells under a microscope

  • CSI San Jose: Use genetics to discover who left their DNA at a crime scene

  • DNA Necklaces: Extract your own DNA and take it home in a necklace

  • Draw with DNA: Create a marker with custom-made ink infused with DNA

  • Natural Selection: Discover how genetic differences can spread in a population

  • PTC Taste Test: Discover whether you have the genetic instructions to taste a bitter molecule

  • Sustainable Fishing: Discover how catch limits can change fish populations


Try out other genetics experiments at The Tech

In the Living Colors Lab exhibit, over 18,000 museum visitors each year genetically modify bacteria to turn them a wide range of potential colors. Competent cells for this activity are produced by staff in the Genetics Department.

Museum visitors analyzing DNA sequences from Ötzi the Iceman.

Visit us online at Ask-a-Geneticist
Ever wondered what the difference is between your DNA and DNA from a cactus? Or exactly how related Joffrey, Tommen, and Mycella Lannister are? Or whether you can see alleles with a microscope? Browse through answers to hundreds of genetics questions like these, asked by real people and answered by participants in the Stanford at The Tech program. Ask-a-Geneticist receives millions of users each year, and new articles are published a few times per month.

Request a virtual guest speaker (Bay Area teachers only)
The virtual STEMbassador program is offered at NO COST to teachers in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The Tech Interactive matches volunteer scientists (including many from the Genetics Department!), engineers, professionals, and subject experts to middle and high school teachers. If you are a teacher who would like to request a speaker for your class, learn more and signup here



Take a virtual field trip to a Genetics lab
Dive inside the tiny world of the microbiome with Professor Ami Bhatt to learn how bacteria can communicate with one another and form structured communities.


Activity guides and resources

The Genetics Department and The Tech co-created several new biology experiences that allow museum visitors, teachers, and families at home to explore the squishy intersection of biology, design, technology, and making. These biotinkering activities aim to authentically engage young people with science as a personally relevant process by supporting learner agency, choice, and open-ended exploration. Activities run daily at The Tech in the Biotinkering Lab, with downloadable resources and guides available here.


Research opportunities for local high school students

The Genomics Research Internship Program at Stanford (GRIPS) offers summer research opportunities for local high school students. See more information about GRIPS here.

Summer interns meet with their mentor outside the lab located on Porter Drive.

Online Learning and Certificate Programs

Genetics and Genomics Certificate

We offer a two-part series of courses within the Stanford Center for Professional Development. In “Foundations of Genetics and Genomics” learners explore core concepts related to genes, genomes, other -omes,  and other fundamental knowledge. In “Advanced Topics in Genetics and Genomics” participants dive deeper into topics such as gene therapy, stem cell therapeutics,  cancer genomics, genetic engineering, CRISPR/Cas systems, and precision medicine.

Participants earn a Stanford Certificate of Completion after successfully finishing either course. Learn more about this professional development opportunity here.


Fundamentals of Data Science in Precision Medicine and Cloud Computing

Start learning about the fascinating world of Precision Medicine from Stanford research scientists on Stanford Data Ocean. You will discover how deep data is revolutionizing the future of healthcare by harnessing diverse biomedical datasets and cutting-edge AI/ML techniques. Once you achieve a passing grade on the certificate exam, you will receive the certificate from the Department of Genetics at Stanford University. Learn more here.