Justin Fendos

Justin earned a biology degree from the University of Minnesota before moving on to Yale University, where he received a Ph.D. in cell biology. He became an HHMI postdoctoral teaching fellow on March 11, 2013.

As an adolescent growing up in Asia, Justin was homeschooled. Much of the time, he would teach himself. From this experience, the seeds were planted that would later spawn a dedication to improve the lives of others through teaching. At the age of 14, he began teaching martial arts. He also has been a tutor, a teaching assistant, and an undergraduate instructor.

Justin is the director of undergraduate studies at Dongseo University in South Korea, where he plans the curriculum and teaches classes. Justin's teaching philosophy centers on a strong belief in the principles of active learning and backwards design. He has come to the University of Minnesota to solidify his expertise and educational credentials in this area by working in our cutting-edge active-learning program.

As a HHMI postdoc, Justin used backwards design to create a research program for the Active Learning Laboratory (ALL). ALL is a summer opportunity for transfer students to conduct authentic research under the guidance of a postdoc. Justin’s program will invite students to explore the potential of herbal remedies to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria. Essentially, students will have the opportunity to find their own antibiotic.

After his postdoctoral appointment, Justin hopes to continue his antibiotic research program at the University of Minnesota, while also creating an iteration of it at Dongseo University. He will return to Dongseo after his HHMI appointment, where he will continue his work designing curriculum and preparing undergraduates for their student-exchange program with the Institute of Technology in Berlin. The credentials and expertise gained working in the HHMI science education program should help him implement a more active-learning-based curriculum for his students. He also hopes to take on more administrative duties, so he can improve the Dongseo University undergraduate experience by securing more funds to improve the curriculum and upgrade the facilities.

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