The New School for Social Research

Faculty A-Z

  • Katayoun Chamany

    Mohn Family Professor of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Associate Professor of Biology

    Office Location:

    Eugene Lang Building


    Born in Iran, raised in Iowa, and trained as a geneticist and cell biologist, Katayoun has been conducting research to better understand why some students share her love for biology, while others recoil from the subject. Part of her work suggests that biology courses must be contextualized and made relevant, especially for those students who don’t initially see biology as important to their everyday experiences. To promote this education reform, she has developed seminars, workshops and educational materials that reflect an interactive and case-based method of teaching and learning with a strong emphasis on infographic thinking.  She firmly believes that biology is accessible and relevant to everyone, and that a basic understanding of biology it important for a democratic society. She offers courses to students in the Graduate Program in International Affairs,  undergraduates in theInterdisciplinary Science Major/Minor, the liberal arts, and design. She has also developed an interdisciplinary course for incoming students  in the Higher Education Opportunity Program and incoming freshman titled Biology Art, and Social Justice. In Spring 2016,  she launched Stem Cells Across the Curriculum, an open access collection of educational modules developed in collaboration with seven faculty members and nine students spanning biology, humanities, gender studies, bioethics, health policy, health psychology, disability studies, and critical race studies. The curriculum uses a social justice framework and infographic thinking to integrate the biological, ethical, social, and legal dimensions of stem cell research and has been adapted by a number of educators working at diverse institutions. She received the Distinguished University Teaching Award in 2000 and the Excellence in Faculty Advising from Eugene Lang College in 2010.  Katayoun is a guest contributor to the Biopolitical Times blog hosted by the Center for Genetics and Society. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley in 1996.

    Degrees Held:

    Ph.D. Cell and Molecular Biology UC Berkeley 1996

    B.A. Biology University of Iowa 1989

    Professional Affiliations:

    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    The New York Academy of Sciences
    The American Society for Cell Biology
    The International Society for Stem Cell Research
    Project Kaleidoscope, (PKAL) Faculty for the 21st Century
    Leadership Fellow for Science Education for New Civic Engagements & Responsibilities
    Editorial Board Member of the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science
    Editorial Board Member of the journal CBE-Life Sciences Education
    Member of the Steering Committee of Symbioses 
    Member of the Narrative, Health and Social Justice Seminar at Columbia University

    Recent Publications:

    Curriculum Development Projects

    Chamany, K. et al. March 2016. Stem Cells Across the Curriculum. An open access modular curriculum using case based teaching and learning, infographic thinking, and a social justice framework.  Link

    Chamany, K.  2006. Cell Biology for Life. Garland Publishing. An open access modular curriculum designed to provide social context for traditional cell biology courses. Garland Publishing. Link

    Chamany K. 2006. MDR Tuberculosis: A Case Study for Non-Science Majors Focused on Social Justice. National Center For Case Study Teaching in Science Case Collection. Peer Reviewed. Link

    Chamany, K. 2001. Ninos Desaparcidos Case: A Case Study About Genetics and Human Rights Case and Teaching Notes. National Center For Case Study Teaching in Science Case Collection. Peer Reviewed.  Link


    Chamany, K. 2016. “Critical Pedagogy: Stem Cell Research as it Relates to Bodies, Labor and Care.”  Studies in Social Justice. Forthcoming. 

    Chamany, K. et al. 2012. “Stem Cells and Social Justice: A SENCER Model Course.” Link

    Chamany, K. 2011. “Introduction II: Buying and Selling The Body.” In The Body and The State: How the State Controls and Protects the Body. Part II. Social Research. 78 (3):823-827. Link

    Chamany, K., Rubin, L. Paunova, E. and Pantuso C. 2010. “PGD for BRCA 1 and 2 Carriers Infographic and Information Pamphlet.” Link

    Chamany K., et al. 2008. “Making Biology Learning Relevant to Students: Integrating People, History, and Context into (College) Biology Teaching.” Life Sciences Education. (7):267-278. Link

    Chamany K. October 2006. “Science and Social Justice: Making the Cases for Case Studies.” Journal of College Science Teaching: 54-59. Link

    Chamany, K. October 2006. “Introduction III. Health.” In Politics and Science: How their interplay results in public policy. Social Research. 73(3): 781-784. Link

    Chamany K. 2001. “Ninos Desaparecidos: A Case Study About Genetics and Human Rights.” Journal of College Science Teaching. 3 (1):61-65.

    Invited Workshops, Presentations, and Papers

    Chamany, K. April 2016. "Biology & Social Justice Case Studies: Scaffolding Learning for Authentic Assessment." 34th Conference of the Empire State Association of Two Year College Biologists (ESATYCB). SUNY Orange, Middletown, NY. 

    Chamany, K. Pokrywka, N. and Russo-Tait, T. Nov 2015. “Stem Cells Across the Curriculum (SCAC) An Open Access Social Justice Educational Resource.” Faculty Resource Network: Advancing Social Justice. Washington, DC. Link Conference Paper.

    Chamany, K., Schwartz-Orbach, L. and Riggs, R. October, 2015. “Critical Pedagogy: Bodies, Labor, and Care. Consuming Intimacies Symposium.” Social Justice Institute, Brock University. Saint Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Link to Presentation.  &  Link to Conference Paper.

    Chamany, K.  May 2015. “Scaffolding Role-play: For Interdisciplinary Evidence Based Dialogues.” Annual Summer Workshop National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science.  SUNY, Buffalo. Buffalo, NY.

    Chamany, K. June 2014. “Enhancing STEM Education: Interdisciplinarity and Information Design." UC Irvine, Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, Irvine, CA. Link Seminar Presentation.

    Chamany, K. September 2013. “Biology and Social Justice Case Studies: An Innovative Approach for Reaching Diverse Populations.” National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, Buffalo, NY. Workshop.

    Conference Posters (* Designates Student Research Assistant)

    Chamany, K. et al. December 2015. “Stem Cells Across the Curriculum (SCAC): An educational resource that integrates the biological and social dimensions of stem cell research using infographic thinking.” The American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting. Washington. San Diego, CA.

    Chamany, K., Riggs, A.*, and Schwartz-Orbach, L*., and Wargaski, J. October 2015. “Sources of Stem Cells Radial Infographic, Adult Stem Cells Blood ZoomGraphic, and Embryo PGD Zoomgraphic In Stem Cells Across the Curriculum. Creative Intervention.” Consuming Intimacies Symposium, Social Justice Institute Brock University, Saint, Catharines. Ontario, Canada.

    Chamany, K., Wargaski, J., Riggs, A.,* and Schwartz-Orbach, L.*  May 2013. “Using Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis to Teach the Biological, Ethical, and Social Dimensions of Stem Cell Research in an Undergraduate Curriculum-Biology, Bodies, and Beliefs.”12th International Conference on Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. Istanbul, Turkey. (ResearchGate)


    Research Interests:

    Curriculum development and student learning outcomes assessment; the role of motivation and interest in student learning of biology; infographic thinking; case based teaching and learning; social justice/ critical pedagogy; stem cell research; the ethics of oocyte provision; public perception and understanding of new biotechnologies and reproductive technologies (ART, PGD, Genetic testing); standard of care and informed consent; HPV and its associated diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines; indigenous knowledge and resources as they related to benefit sharing; health as a human right.

    Awards And Honors:

    2011 Stem Cells & Social Justice, selected as a Model Course for the Science Education for New Civic Engagaments and Social Responsibilities

    2010 NYSTEM Grant $212,000 The Development, Implementation, and Assessment of  an Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Curriculum for Non-majors

    2010 Excellence in Faculty Advising from Eugene Lang College

    2008 SENCER Leadership Fellow for Science for New Civic Engagements and Social Responsibilities

    2000  University Distinguished Teaching Award from The New School

    1998  Project Kaleidoscope, Faculty for the 21st Century (1998-Present) 

    Current Courses:

    Biology, Art, & Social Justice

    Tutorial Advising

    Genes, Env. & Behavior

    Biodiversity Achieved Lab

    Science Fellows (Open Campus)

    Independent Study (Open Campus)

    Ind Senior Work (Open Campus)

    Biology & Art (Open Campus)