For more than thirty years Dr. Aprison has translated scientific ideas about the biological and physical sciences into memorable, interactive learning experiences. At the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry there have been millions of people impacted by his exhibitions. Personal insights gained about scientific concepts were the result of Dr. Aprison's interpretive design skills. Many project development groups he organized were composed of designers, scientists, educators, writers, evaluators, software engineers, AV & computer technologists, and fabricators. They worked closely with Dr. Aprison when he was project director of the initiatives and leader of the Department of Science and Technology. As a result, many outstanding award-winning exhibitions, successful hands-on interactives, and powerful outreach programs were produced. For example, thousands of students, teachers, and adults continue to annually visit Dr. Aprison's popular Genetics: Decoding Life and Science Storms exhibitions. In total, three exhibitions (Imaging: The Tools of Science, AIDS: The War Within, and Science Storms) won national awards from the American Association (Alliance) of Museums.
Dr. Aprison joined the Museum of Science and Industry after finishing his research as an NIH post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at Indiana University in Bloomington. There he studied the molecular genetics of sex-specific regulation of gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster. Dr. Aprison also taught undergraduates genetics and developmental biology. As projects finished at Indiana Dr. Aprison began to plan his lateral move into the science museum world.
Prior to Indiana, in graduate school at Brandeis University Dr. Aprison studied hormonal regulation of vitellogenin yolk protein gene expression and DNA synthesis in Xenopus laevis liver cells. At Brandeis he taught undergraduates biology labs and received his Ph.D. degree in biology. Dr. Aprison's scientific knowledge, instructional empathy, and management skills developed at Brandeis and Indiana helped him to create successful exhibitions and educational programs at the Museum of Science and Industry.
After nineteen years at the Museum of Science and Industry Dr. Aprison became Director of STEM Education and Associate Professor of Education in Johns Hopkins University's School of Education. There he produced STEM learning curricula and lesson plans for high school teachers and students. As Co-Chair of the Johns Hopkins faculty Discovery Working Group he helped produce a strategic framework study for planning the University's future growth in research, scholarship, and education.
After working at Hopkins for a year Dr. Aprison was invited back to the Chicago to join the Institute for Genomics & Systems Biology at the University of Chicago. There he became Education & Outreach Director. With support from three P50 NIH center grants Dr. Aprison produced hands-on education, training, and outreach projects organized in collaboration with faculty, students, and staff partners in University departments, Ph.D. training programs, science museums, and science centers.
At the University of Chicago Dr. Aprison continues to develop and oversee training programs for high school students, teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, and academic faculty in the Chicago area. Dr. Aprison leads projects to design and implement the following: a) hands-on STEM inquiry modules; b) object-, game-, or phenomena-based interactives; c) problem-based learning (PBL) challenges; d) undergraduate & graduate courses; e) public outreach symposia (Brain Awareness Days & DNA Days); f) traveling science museum exhibit plans; g) high school summer research experiences; h) REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduate) summer programs; i) underrepresented minority (URM) post-baccalaureate research training programs; and j) faculty career development initiatives. For many years Dr. Aprison has taught an upper-level spring quarter undergraduate course, Systems Biology: Molecular Regulatory Logic of Networks. Dr. Aprison serves as Co-Chair of the University of Chicago's graduate Biological Sciences Division Diversity Committee (BDC). He is Senior Lecturer in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division of the College.
Dr. Aprison's research and teaching interests are in genetics, genomics and systems biology. In 2015 Dr. Aprison was named AAAS fellow for his distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. In 2017 Dr. Aprison shifted his work activities to be 65% time at the University of Chicago and 35% time at Northwestern University as a visiting faculty member in affiliation with the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO).
As Visiting Lecturer in the Management and Organizations Department of the Kellogg School of Management Dr. Aprison collaborates with NICO faculty, students and staff. Dr. Aprison is developing ideas to produce "broader impact" public outreach initiatives about big data and complexity science. Planning includes collaborative input from Northwestern University and University of Chicago faculty and students. Final deliverables may include interactive exhibits, lessons, citizen science projects, research experiences for undergraduates (REUs), and goal-based STEM learning programs designed for implementation in science museums, classrooms, and community programs. These outcomes depend on the availability of human resources, budgets, and coordination support.