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New Member Training

New Member Training (NMT) will help faculty integrate GEP curriculum materials into existing courses and engage their students in scientific research through Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) centered in bioinformatics and genomics.

New Member Training pages are password protected. GEP members should use the same generic password that we use to access the newsletter archive. Contact Katie Sandlin if you need the password.

If you’d like to be informed of future training opportunities, please let us know via the Contact form.

Countdown to Next NMT



December 14-17, 2022

January 4-6, 2023

January 10-13, 2023

January 10-21, 2022

January 3-14, 2022

December 6-17, 2021

July 26-August 6, 2021

July 12-23, 2021

June 14-25, 2021

January 4-15, 2021

December 7-18, 2020

December 7-18, 2020

Meet the Trainers

Trainer Resources (use generic password)

Alexa Sawa

Dr. Sawa is an Associate Professor of Biology at College of the Desert in Southern California where she teaches Molecular and Cell Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and General Biology. She has been using the GEP CURE in her Molecular and Cell Biology classes since 2016. Dr. Sawa is currently serving as the community college representative on the GEP’s Steering Committee and Director of Regional Nodes, and she is involved in training and mentoring new members.

Catherine Reinke

Dr. Reinke is an Associate Professor of Biology at Linfield University where she teaches Introductory Biology, Genetics, Molecular Cell Biology, and Animal Development. Her research explores gene silencing, specifically the mechanisms of microRNA biogenesis, function, and regulation. Her lab uses Drosophila melanogaster as a model system. As Director for New Member Training, Dr. Reinke has piloted and supported the expansion of the GEP through online training, and she also serves as a mentor to new GEP faculty.


Chris Shaffer

Chris Shaffer is a Senior Lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis and helped found the GEP along with Sarah Elgin and Wilson Leung. He and Wilson are the primary authors on many of the original GEP curriculum and was the Technical Director of the GEP when it was centered at Washington University. He has long had an interest in using CUREs to create more meaningful and impactful student experiences. His research interests center around the epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation in higher eukaryotes especially in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster and related species.


Jackie Wittke-Thompson

Dr. Wittke-Thompson is a Professor of Biology at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL, where she teaches courses in genetics, molecular biology, and cell biology. She has been using GEP curriculum in her genetics, molecular biology, and advanced research courses since becoming a GEP member in 2019. Dr. Wittke-Thompson’s research interests outside of GEP include eukaryotic genome structure and understanding changes in gene expression.


Jamie Siders

Jamie is an Associate Professor of Biology at Ohio Northern University where she teaches Genetics and Molecular Biology. Jamie’s research interests outside of the GEP include regulation of collective cell movement using Drosophila Border Cell migration as a model system. As Director of the Regional Nodes, Jamie works to assist regional node leaders in planning events and establishing the calendar of events for the year.


Jenny Mierisch

Dr. Mierisch is an Associate Professor of Biology at Loyola University Chicago where she teaches courses in Cell Biology and Stem Cell Biology. Her research interests include the mechanisms regulating gonad development and gametogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster, as well as the genetic regulation of glial development. She previously served as GEP's Co-Director for New Member Training and remains involved in the training and mentoring of new members.


Jim Youngblom

Dr. Jim Youngblom was a Professor and Department Chair of Biology at California State University, Stanislaus, where he taught Genetics and Genetic Biotechnology. Tragically, Jim passed away June 25, 2021 while hiking at Yosemite National Park. Jim joined the GEP in 2007 as one its earliest adopters. His steady contributions played a central role in shaping the community we love today. His smile and good spirits made many new members to the group feel immediately welcome.


Joyce Stamm

Dr. Joyce Stamm is a Professor of Biology at the University of Evansville, where she teaches courses in introductory and upper-level genetics and genomics. She is particularly interested in developing wet-lab and computer-based research projects (especially those that use Drosophila as a model organism) that engage undergraduate students in the research lab or in the classroom. As Co-Director for New Member Training, she is involved in the training and mentoring of new members.


Judy Leatherman

Judy Leatherman is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research area is in stem cell biology, using the Drosophila testis model system to study how adult stem cells are maintained by their in vivo niche. She also performs educational research on classroom teaching innovations, and involves undergraduates in GEP research projects both in the classroom and as independent study projects. Judy joined the GEP in 2012 and is currently serving as a Co-Director for New Member Training.