Outreach and public engagement in science have become extremely important. Of course, this is not limited to science. As I discuss in the pedagogy section, language and philosophy are just as important. An educated populace is a key to a country’s success.

                I have been fortunate to be a part of several outreach experiences. Included here are the high school program, editorial outreach, community projects, bioinformatics databases and algorithms, and medicine and pathology outreach. Feel free to use anything that may be helpful to you.

 

High school education

 

Educational seminars are offered (depending on availability) to senior high schools in our local area. These include various topics from evolution and ecology, biodiversity, history of life, to preparing for a career in science. Two posters the "Origin of Life" and the "Evolution of death", which are based on my book “The evolutionary origins of life and death” by the University of Chicago Press, are available for teaching purposes. To order printed posters (any size) email the manager at the durandfoundation at g mail dot com. The cost is for printing and delivery.

 

Editorial outreach

 

I was an associate editor for the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution (2017-2020). As part of my duties, I provided outreach advice to new reviewers where English was a second language (https://methodsblog.com/2018/09/11/peer-review-week-2018/). This will hopefully helpfully be helpful to those whose native language is not English. I also take part in the sterling work that the journal does in promoting LGBTI+ participation in the STEM disciplines.

 

Community projects

 

I direct a community outreach program on ‘evolution in society’ to high school students aged 6-18 (5 weekends per year, field trips, and laboratory work) (2019-). This program helps to educate scholars on the importance of algae in freshwater systems in the Johannesburg area. For more on this project please email the manager at my foundation (durandfoundation at g mail dot com). Associated with this is the SANPCC (South African national Phycology Culture Collection for microalgae) www.sanpcc.org.za. We initiated this culture collection in 2018 as a repository for the preservation of unicellular algal isolates, teaching, and microalgal research in South Africa. This has now been fully funded and taken over by Umgeni Water.

 

Bioinformatic databases and algorithms

 

Researchers in my lab have developed an evolutionary rate database (EvoDB) and bioinformatics algorithms for identifying protein functions based on their evolutionary rate signatures (FIRE2).

 

The Durand Foundation

 

For about five years I have run this foundation in my family name. In this time, we have supported the individuals or organizations below, ranging from small prize awards to much larger scholarships. The current pandemic has put paid to our philanthropic ventures for the medium-term future. Hopefully, this will re-ignite when the economy improves. For an example of some of the sterling work I have supported see Viktor Rademacher's publication in eLife on ventilatory macroevolution in ornithischian dinosaurs here https://elifesciences.org/articles/66036

 

Recipients of funds from the Durand Foundation for Evolutionary Biology and Phycology

2016 

1. The SANPCC initiative

2. Dr. Santosh Sathe (postdoctoral fellow, University of the Witwatersrand, SA and the Institute for Systems Biology, USA)

3. Andrew Ndhlovu (Ph.D. student, University of the Witwatersrand, SA)

 

2017 

1. Ikhlaas Raoof (technician, University of the Witwatersrand, SA)

2. Andrew Ndhlovu (PhD student, University of the Witwatersrand, SA)

3. SANPCC

 

2018

1. Andrew Ndhlovu (Ph.D. student, University of the Witwatersrand, SA)

2. Viktor Radermacher (MSc student, University of the Witwatersrand, SA);

3. Dr. Roksana Majewska (postdoctoral scientist, University of North West, SA);

4. Sponsorship to the 31st Congress of the Phycological Society of Southern Africa, July 2018.

5. SANPCC

 

2019 / 2020

1. Nikiwe Ndlovu (BSc. Hons. student, University of the Witwatersrand, SA)

2. SANPCC

3. V. Radermacher

 

Medicine and pathology outreach

 

Medicine and pathology outreach have usually taken the form of newsletters and podcasts. Some examples are below. I have recently become involved in a new venture that shines a light on some of the crises in the private sector healthcare. These crises will be alluded to in the opinions and essays articles. See also private healthcare in SA. More on this is forthcoming in 2021 and 2022.

 

Examples of public engagement

Continuing Medical Education: For example, here is a CME on COVID-19 testing in the evolving pandemic

Podcasts: July 2020COVID testing in SA (podcasts don't always remain, pls email if you wish to get details or recordings)

Newsletters: April 2020 Scenario planning in the COVID pandemic

Origin of life med res.png
Origin of death med res.png