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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. 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. 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 am an associate editor for the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution (2017-). As part of my activities, I provided outreach advice to new reviewers who are communicators of English as a second language ( 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) I initiated this culture collection in 2018 as a repository for the preservation of unicellular algal isolates, teaching, and microalgal research in South Africa. I am pleased to say that 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 just over five years I ran 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 COVID pandemic put paid to this philanthropic venture. For an example of some of the excellent student work that we supported see Viktor Rademacher's publication in eLife on ventilatory macroevolution in ornithischian dinosaurs here


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


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)



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

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




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.



2019 / 2020

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


3. V. Radermacher

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