University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

About Project NEURON

Project NEURON is part of Impact on Science Education, a collaboration of scientists, teachers, and students to improve science education.

When active from to 2009 to 2015, Project NEURON (Novel Education for Understanding Research On Neuroscience) aimed to develop middle and high school science curriculum materials that emphasized inquiry and active learning. Our units addressed science education standards, including the Next Generation Science Standards, within the context of biology research performed on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.

Our curriculum materials were designed in an iterative process, tested by a dedicated group of teachers, and aligned to current science research. We provided professional development opportunities and disseminated our materials through publications and workshops at national conferences.

Who we are

We are a diverse group of dedicated scientists, educators, and content developers!

Project Leaders

Barbara Hug

Barbara Hug

Barbara is a Clinical Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the Principal Investigator for Project NEURON. Project NEURON is foundational to her work as it provides a context for collaboration with teachers, scientists, and graduate students to develop and implement curriculum materials that support science learning as described in the national science education reform documents (A Framework for K-12 Science Education, Next Generation Science Standards). Barbara holds a PhD in Developmental Biology and Genetics.


Donna Korol, Neuroscience Program, University of Illinois


George Reese, MSTE, College of Education, University of Illinois

Recent Contributers

Chandana Jasti

Chandana joined Project NEURON in fall of 2011 and has contributed to developing curriculum, coordinating outreach, and facilitating teacher institutes. She enjoys working closely with scientists and teachers to design ways to engage students in science and critical thinking. In her free time, Chandana enjoys horseback riding, playing tennis, and travelling. She holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University and a B.S. in Biology and certificate in teaching from the University of Illinois.

Logan Hillary Lauren

Logan started at Project NEURON in 2011 while completing their MS in Biology at the University of Illinois. They have contributed to many projects: developing curriculum and games, building this website, and creating illustrations, animations, and videos.

Sahid Rosado Lausell

Sahid joined Project NEURON in fall 2013. She is currently pursuing a MA in Curriculum and Instruction and a Teaching Certification in Secondary Mathematics at the University of Illinois. With her Hispanic background, she hopes to help Project NEURON develop and modify existing curriculum to be more accessible for ESL students. After completing her degree, she is eager to return to her home country of Puerto Rico as a teacher and encourage her students to have fun with math while learning its fundamentals.

Claudia Lutz

Claudia joined Project NEURON in the fall of 2011 as a graduate student volunteer, assisting with curriculum development and presentations at professional development workshops for teachers. Claudia has continued these activities as part of her new position as a Communications Specialist at the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB). She enjoys finding ways to get the public excited about science, especially her favorite topics: learning, memory, and honey bee behavior.

Sara Patterson Adamek

Sara is currently working toward a master's degree in curriculum and instruction and teachers' certification. While working at Project NEURON, she has found great opportunities to practice developing games, activities, and lesson plans. Much of her work has focused on the Why do honey bees work together? and How do small things make a big difference? units. In the future, Sara hopes to teach science in a rural midwestern high school.

Kristen Talbot

Kristen began working for Project NEURON in May 2011 while working on her Masters in Education and secondary education certificate. She utilized knowledge gained from her education and bilingual/ESL endorsement courses in the development of Project NEURON curriculum materials. Kristen graduated from the University of Illinois in May 2013 and currently holds a high school biology and chemistry teaching position in Boston, MA. Her passion for teaching stems from her of love science and desire to inspire students from traditionally underserved populations.

Robert Wallon

Rob is a graduate research assistant at Project NEURON and is currently working on his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. Before starting the program, Rob worked for three years as a high school science teacher in Morris, IL. He uses his classroom experiences and his interest in educational technology to create and continuously improve curriculum materials.

Tommy Wolfe

Tommy started at Project NEURON in 2012 while finishing his undergrad in integrative biology and psychology, and he has continued to be a part of the project since starting his Masters in Education. Although he has contributed to the development of many units, he is the primary developer of the Food for thought: What fuels us? unit alongside Claire Scavuzzo. He enjoys producing various creative media and is fascinated by the interactions between the body and the mind.

Additional Contributors of Project NEURON

  • Alicia Allen
  • James Allen
  • Quinn Baetz
  • Maggie Blattner
  • Jeff Brown
  • Denise Ford
  • Westyn Garber
  • Chris Johnson
  • Inge Karosevica
  • Zach Korol-Gold
  • Ryan Marzolf
  • Kevin Mazur
  • Katherine Mitterling
  • Sharon Morrisette
  • Nick Naeger
  • Jon Ogrodnik
  • Gavin Owens
  • James Planey
  • Sandhya Prathap
  • Claire Scavuzzo
  • Andrew Stengele
  • Patrick Watson
  • Hatun Zengin
  • Special thanks to Michael McKelvey, for website development!

Funding and Support

Project NEURON was funded by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA; Award No.: R25 RR024251-03; R25OD011144 and a SEPA supplement grant) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of the Director Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, Office of Research Infrastructure Programs. Our content is solely the responsibility of Project NEURON and does not necessarily represent the official views of SEPA, NIH or the University of Illinois.

Additional support was provided by the following University of Illinois organizations: College of Education, Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB), Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (MSTE), and the Office of Public Engagement.

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