Instructors picking and patching isolates for isolate bioassay at the Johns Hopkins TEPI Training in July.

Since the formation of Tiny Earth network in 2017 and its prior development, over 700 instructors in 30 countries and 45 U.S states and territories have been trained to teach the Tiny Earth microbiology Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE). In the spring and summer of 2022, Tiny Earth hosted four week-long immersive trainings: 2 virtual trainings, including an international focused training, and in-person trainings at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Johns Hopkins University. In the past few years, Tiny Earth instructors and communities of practice have collaborated to develop a more comprehensive, inclusive, and adaptable curriculum with evidence-based teaching practices. In addition to inspiring diverse students to persist in STEM and addressing the dwindling supply of antibiotics, the network aims to support instructors in implementing a CURE at every US college and university.

This year, 88 instructors from 7 countries and 28 US states and territories joined the force to mitigate one of the most critical public health crises facing the world: antibiotic resistance. Instructors, whose home institutions range from high-level research universities to rural community colleges and even high schools, became partner instructors in the Tiny Earth. The program is founded by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Jo Handelsman. Our Tiny Earth Partner Instructors (TEPIs) are dedicated to encouraging students to pursue careers in science through real-world applicable laboratory and field research in introductory courses, while engaging with the network to help develop curriculum and promote community engagement. Through the course, students and instructors address a worldwide threat to public health – the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics – by tapping into the collective power of student researchers, living up to Tiny Earth’s motto, “studentsourcing antibiotic discovery.”

To achieve these goals, the initiative leverages a network of partner instructors who learn the curriculum and integrate the research protocols in their lab-based courses at universities, colleges, and even high schools. Tiny Earth’s student scientists, many of them experiencing hypothesis-driven research in action for the first time, hunt for novel antibiotic organisms in soil samples. In 2020, Tiny Earth adopted the ‘train-the-trainer’ model to implement a Certified TEPI Trainer program, recruiting TEPIs to effectively train other instructors across the country and expand accessible training opportunities. In 2022 alone, 7 instructors completed the Certified TEPI training with 9 others working towards certification.

“A diversity of student scientists, like a diversity of soil samples, only enhances Tiny Earth’s discovery potential and impact.” — Nichole Broderick, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University & Tiny Earth Director of Science and Training

The Tiny Earth network partners with institutions reflecting the diversity of the United States and the globe. This year’s training included instructors from the US, Canada, Denmark, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, and United Kingdom. In the US, there were participating instructors from 4 high schools, 18 minority-serving institutions, and 10 research universities.

Minority-serving and Research Institutions of instructors trained in 2022

California State University Fullerton – AANAPISI & HSI
University of Nevada-Las Vegas – AANAPISI & HSI, Research
Northland Pioneer College – ANNH & NASNTI
Bishop State Community College – HBCU
Central State University – HBCU
Tuskegee University – HBCU
Dallas College – Mountain View Campus – HSI
Florida Atlantic University – HSI
Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla – HSI
Keiser University Flagship Campus – HSI
Los Angeles Pierce College – HSI
Mount Mary University – HSI
Roosevelt University – HSI

University of Arkansas Cossatot – HSI
University of North Texas – HSI
University of Puerto Rico at Cayey – HSI
University of Texas at San Antonio – HSI, Research
Yakima Valley College – HSI
Missouri University of Science and Technology – Research
Arkansas State University – Research

Florida Atlantic University – Research
Rutgers University – Research
University of Connecticut – Research
University of San Diego – Research
University of Wisconsin-Madison – Research
Washington University in St. Louis – Research

AANAPISI = Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions | HSI = Hispanic Serving Institutions | HBCU = Historically Black Colleges and Universities | ANNH = Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions | NASNTI = Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions

Congratulations to all our newly trained TEPIs!


Press release templates are available for TEPIs trained in 2022. Email for more information.