Paul Durst

Assistant Director, STEM Education
Peter B. Lewis Library, Room 232

Ph.D. Biology, Duke University, 2014
B.A. Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 2006


Dr. Durst supports science education and outreach initiatives at the Council.  He is a biologist with expertise in ecology, evolutionary biology, and genomics.  His research has focused on island biogeography, the 'island rule', host-parasite co-evolution, and the epigenetic mechanisms underlying phenotypic plasticity.  Before coming to Princeton, he was a SPIRE postdoctoral fellow at UNC where he received training in the theory and practice of science education, and he served as visiting assistant professor at UNC Pembroke, teaching introductory biology and molecular ecology.

His projects at the Council include:

  • Science and Engineering Initiative: Paul works with faculty to develop innovative life science courses that engage students from a variety of disciplines.  In addition to advising on a number of courses, he has served as a co-instructor for STC/HIS/MOL/HUM 297 (Transformative Questions in Biology), and he currently teaches a freshman seminar on cognitive bias (FRS 124 - Our Biased Brains). 
  • Understanding the Nature of Evidence: Paul has developed a public lecture series that examines how evidence differs across disciplines.  The first lecture featured Brooke Gladstone, host and managing editor of NPR's On the Media.
  • Education Research: Paul is involved in the evaluation of a new course series for first-year undergraduates interested in engineering.  He recently presented the group's preliminary findings at the national Frontiers in Education conference.