John Doctor Education Prize

The John Doctor Education Prize was established in memory of John Doctor, a Society for Developmental Biology member, who passed away suddenly and prematurely in the fall of 2005. John was very active in the society as a member of the Professional Development and Education Committee (PDEC), a participant in education sessions at regional and national meetings, and as an organizer of the 2004 Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. His enthusiasm and enjoyment for teaching was inspirational for many who met him at SDB meetings.

In 2006, SDB began awarding the John Doctor Best Education Poster Award.  In 2016, the PDEC reinvented the award as an education video competition and challenged SDB members to produce engaging videos that teach difficult-to-explain developmental biology topics. The John Doctor Education Prize includes a certificate and a check for $1,000.


Create a short instructional video to communicate what we do as scientists to the general public. Video entries may be as short as 30 seconds or as long as 5 minutes.  Lab or group entries are encouraged. Videos may be geared towards college-level introductory biology, K-12, or non-scientists. Be sure to include relevance - your audience needs to know how science applies to overall well-being, quality of life, possible treatment of a medical condition, etc.

Choose one of the following topics:

  1. The developmental impacts of transmissible diseases, which may include viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites.
  2. Stories of scientific discovery related to developmental biology. The discovery does not have to be in developmental biology, but should have had an impact on the field of developmental biology.

    Selection Criteria

    All applicants (individual or all members of a group submission) must be current SDB members (2024 dues paid). Videos will be evaluated on both the content of the work presented and the quality of the presentation. Videos should be clear, concise, and visually appealing. The presenter should be knowledgeable and engaging. A brief 1-page summary about the video  is required with the submission. It should include tips for how the video could be used in the classroom, as well as the intended audience.

    Submission Deadline Extended: Monday, June 3, 2024 (11:59 PM EDT)


    John Doctor Education Prize Winners

    Tetiana Novosolova and Michael Barresi (Smith College)
    Brain Evolution Through Comparative Organoid Investigation
    1st Runner Up: Juliet King (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
    Using Humanized Mouse Models for Cleft Palate Research
    2nd Runner Up: Stella Alphas, Esme Hernandez, and Michael Barresi (Smith College)
    Organoids: Opening new doors to the study of ovarian cancer
    2020Aaron Alcala (University of Georgia)Leapin Lizards: A New Model to Study Reptile Development
    Amy Ralston (Michigan State University)
    Developmental Origami: An active learning exercise to explore the developmental origins of the body axes
    Youngeun Choi (Harvard University) My Fate is in Your Hands: Inductive Signals For Cell Fate Determination pdf
    Caryl A. Forristall (University of Redlands)Teaching the Concept of Induction with Feathers and Hen's Teethpdf

      Past Poster Award Recipients

      Sandra Leal, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS. "A forward genetic screen as a developmental biology laboratory exercise for undergraduates identifies gene candidates that regulate embryonic CNS development in Drosophila." Developmental Biology 356 (2011): A55.

      Sally Hoskins, City College of New York, NY. "Demystifying and humanizing research through intensive analysis of primary literature--testing the C.R.E.A.T.E. approach in diverse student populations and topic areas." Developmental Biology 356 (2011): A56.
      Judith Thorn, Knox College, Galesburg, IL. “Humanoids: a creative application project for developmental biology courses.” Developmental Biology 344 (2010): 438.

      Jamie Shuda, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. “Impacting K-12: what makes Project BioEYES work?” Developmental Biology 344 (2010): 421
      Sally Hoskins, City College of New York, NY. “Novel use of primary literature in class promotes critical thinking as well as interest in research careers.” Developmental Biology 306 (2007): A66.
      Michael Klimkowsky, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO.  “Mapping student misconceptions using Ed’s Tools, an online analysis system.” Developmental Biology 295 (2006): 349.