Broader Impacts Success Stories

Highlighting exciting, innovative broader impacts activities at Duke.

The Duke research community is engaged in exciting, impactful, innovative broader impacts activities.  This page highlights a few of these.  If you or your colleagues are doing interesting broader impacts activities, contact us and let us know, and we might profile your work here.


Noor outreach

Mohamed Noor, Ph.D.

Earl D. McLean Professor and Chair of Biology

Tell us about a Broader Impacts Success: 

I developed an activity wherein students set up crosses with fruit flies and observe spread of an “advantageous mutation” over generations. I then developed an additional piece to look for “selective sweeps” where students do PCR of markers near vs. far from the advantageous mutation and see absence of variation near but retained variation far. Concepts covered: natural selection, X-chromosome linkage, selective sweeps. The project was developed in partnership with NSF RET-supported teacher at local public high school, who presented it at state science teacher workshop and was coauthor on resultant publications (in American Biology Teacher and Evolution Education & Outreach).

Who was the primary target audience for this activity?

High school students and early-stage college students. A short version has also employed been in middle school.

What specific outcome/outcomes of this activity were most exciting and impactful for your target audience? For you?

Working with students in a public high school (as compared with elite private or science-focused schools which already have extensive resources) was a pleasure—the students really enjoyed doing hands-on activities and came away with stronger understanding and appreciation that evolution by natural selection is neither controversial nor difficult. The molecular evolution piece was successful for introductory college students in illustrating the concepts of selective sweeps and hitchhiking. The teacher with whom we worked is PHENOMENAL, and we continue to benefit from her insights in other projects. Finally, we partnered with Carolina Biological Supply to make a “kit” to allow teachers to get everything teachers need to run this activity themselves: