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Louisa A. Stark, PhD

Languages spoken: English, Spanish

Academic Information

Departments: Human Genetics - Professor, Population Health Sciences - Adjunct Professor, Urban Institute for Teachers Education - Clinical Professor

Academic Office Information

(801) 585-0019

515 Tower
Genetic Science Learning Center
515 E 100 S STE 300, Room:
Salt Lake City, UT 84102

(801) 585-0019

George and Dolores Eccles Institute of Human Genetics

15 N 2030 E, Room: 5110B
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Research Interests

  • Education
  • Genetics/Genomics Education
  • Educational Technology
  • Educational Research
  • Education, Medical
  • Community Engagement
  • Community Partnerships
  • Community Health Education
  • Patient Education

Dr. Louisa Stark is a Professor of Human Genetics and director of the Genetic Science Learning Center. Her research interests focus on science and health education for students and educators from the K-12 level through graduate and medical education as well as patients and members of the lay public. The Center's mission is "making science and health easy for everyone to understand," which is accomplished by developing educational materials and programs that translate complex concepts for those who are not expert in a field. Many of these materials are freely disseminated via the Center's Learn.Genetics and Teach.Genetics websites, which constitute the most highly-used online life science education resource in the world. The sites are annually used by over 16 million visitors who view over 60 million pages and come from virtually every country. Dr. Stark has received multiple awards for her work, including among others, the Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education from the American Society of Human Genetics (2008), the first award of the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education from Science Magazine (2010), the Utah Governor's Medal for Science and Technology (2010), the Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education from the Genetics Society of America, and the MERLOT Award for Exemplary Online Learning Resources (2017).

Dr. Stark also co-directs the Collaboration and Engagement Team of the Utah Center for Clinical and Translational Science. In this role, she facilitates collaborations between researchers and community organizations, particularly those serving diverse communities. She is a founding member of the Community Faces of Utah collaborative which includes leaders of the Best of Africa, Calvary Baptist Church, the Hispanic Health Care Task Force, the National Tongan American Society, and the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake along with staff of the Utah Department of Health, faculty and staff of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, and members of the Collaboration and Engagement Team.

Education History

Professional Other Western Michigan University
Program Evaluation
Graduate Training University of Colorado at Boulder
Science Education
Doctoral Training University of Colorado at Boulder
Evolutionary Genetics
Undergraduate Grand Valley State University

Selected Publications

  1. Kepka D, Bodson J, Lai D, Sanchez-Birkhead AC, Davis FA, Lee D, Tavake-Pasi F, Napia E, Villalta J, Mukundente V, Mooney R, Coulter H, Stark LA (2018). Diverse caregivers' HPV vaccine-related awareness and knowledge. Ethn Health, 26(6), 1-16.
  2. Kepka D, Bodson J, Lai D, Sanchez-Birkhead A, Villalta J, Mukundente V, Tavake-Pasi F, Davis FA, Lee D, Napia E, Mooney R, Coulter H, Stark LA (2018). Factors Associated with Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Among Diverse Adolescents in a Region with Low Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Rates. Health Equity, 2(1), 223-232.
  3. Hawkins AJ, Stark LA (2017). More Than Metaphor: Online Resources for Teaching Cancer Biology. CBE Life Sci Educ, 16(3).
  4. Lai D, Bodson J, Davis FA, Lee D, Tavake-Pasi F, Napia E, Villalta J, Mukundente V, Mooney R, Coulter H, Stark LA, Sanchez-Birkhead AC, Kepka D (2016). Diverse Families' Experiences with HPV Vaccine Information Sources: A Community-Based Participatory Approach. J Community Health, 42(2), 400-412.
  5. Bass KM, Drits-Esser D, Stark LA (2015). A Primer for Developing Measures of Science Content Knowledge for Small-Scale Research and Instructional Use. CBE Life Sci Educ, 15(2).
  6. Hawkins AJ, Stark LA (2016). Bringing Climate Change into the Life Science Classroom: Essentials, Impacts on Life, and Addressing Misconceptions. CBE Life Sci Educ, 15(2).
  7. Botkin JR, Rothwell E, Anderson RA, Rose NC, Dolan SM, Kuppermann M, Stark LA, Goldenberg A, Wong B (2016). Prenatal Education of Parents About Newborn Screening and Residual Dried Blood Spots: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Pediatr, 170(6), 543-9.
  8. Simonsen SE, Digre KB, Ralls B, Mukundente V, Davis FA, Rickard S, Tavake-Pasi F, Napia EE, Aiono H, Chirpich M, Stark LA, Sunada G, Keen K, Johnston L, Frost CJ, Varner MW, Alder SC (2014). A gender-based approach to developing a healthy lifestyle and healthy weight intervention for diverse Utah women. Eval Program Plann, 51, 8-16.
  9. Stark LA (2015). Science Translator: An Interview with Louisa Stark. Genetics (200(3), pp. 679-80). United States.
  10. Botkin JR, Rothwell E, Anderson R, Stark LA, Mitchell J (2015). Public attitudes regarding the use of electronic health information and residual clinical tissues for research. J Community Genet, 6(2), 183.
  11. Barber NC, Stark LA (2015). Online resources for understanding outbreaks 
and infectious diseases. CBE Life Sci Educ, 14(1), fe1.
  12. Hawkins AJ, Stark LA (2015). Online Resources for Engaging Students in Bioethical Discussions. CBE Life Sci Educ, 14(4), fe4.
  13. Rothwell E, Wong B, Rose NC, Anderson R, Fedor B, Stark LA, Botkin JR (2014). A randomized controlled trial of an electronic informed consent process. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics, 9(5), 1-7.
  14. Botkin JR, Rothwell E, Anderson RA, Goldenberg A, Kuppermann M, Dolan SM, Rose NC, Stark L (2014). What parents want to know about the storage and use of residual newborn bloodspots. Am J Med Genet A, 164A(11), 2739-44.
  15. Botkin JR, Rothwell E, Anderson R, Stark LA, Mitchell J (2013). Public attitudes regarding the use of electronic health information and residual clinical tissues for research. J Community Genet, 5(3), 205-13.
  16. Barber NC, Stark LA (2014). Engaging with molecular form to understand function. CBE Life Sci Educ, 13(1), 21-4.
  17. Drits-Esser D, Bass KM, Stark LA (2014). Using small-scale randomized controlled trials to evaluate the efficacy of new curricular materials. CBE Life Sci Educ, 13(4), 593-601.
  18. Rothwell E, Anderson RA, Swoboda KJ, Stark L, Botkin JR (2013). Public attitudes regarding a pilot study of newborn screening for spinal muscular atrophy. Am J Med Genet A, 161A(4), 679-86.
  19. Lasalle B, Varner M, Botkin J, Jackson M, Stark L, Cessna M, Orthner C, Hulse N, Bernasconi A, Madsen R, Schultz D, Bradshaw R, Mitchell J (2013). Biobanking informatics infrastructure to support clinical and translational research. AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc, 2013, 132-5.
  20. Rothwell E, Anderson R, Goldenberg A, Lewis MH, Stark L, Burbank M, Wong B, Botkin JR (2012). Assessing public attitudes on the retention and use of residual newborn screening blood samples: a focus group study. Soc Sci Med, 74(8), 1305-9.
  21. Botkin JR, Rothwell E, Anderson R, Stark L, Goldenberg A, Lewis M, Burbank M, Wong B (2012). Public attitudes regarding the use of residual newborn screening specimens for research. Pediatrics, 129(2), 231-8.