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Disan Davis

Disan is a scientist and educator striving to share her curiosity and love of science with others.

  • I <3 science
  • Some plants from Disan's garden. Can you spot the delicious raspberries, sweet corn, and rhubarb coming up in the spring?
  • Disan's recent research includes using kombucha as a model system for studying a range of biological and chemical questions including some related to fermentation and microbial succession.
  • Chocolate spaghetti being formed from a syringe and tubing...
  • make a delicious molecular gastronomy dessert: chocolate spaghetti with lemon foam and raspberry caviar!
  • #workingmom
  • Pi pie
Disan studies food in the lab (kombucha, egg proteins, etc.) and uses science in the kitchen (chocolate spaghetti anyone?!). She has optimized recipes through experiments with middle schoolers, studied vegan meringue substitutes, and used nutritious proteins to teach a variety of basic science concepts. 

Science is about the process of understanding things deeply so as to ask new questions and make new meaning

Furthermore, her experience as a certified middle and high school teacher has provided a foundation in educational theory and philosophy that guides her work in science outreach and informal educational settings. Now as a mom, she is curious about a whole new set of questions about life, development, and learning. As the former Program Manager at RockEDU, Disan oversaw RockEDU Online, advised on several of the LAB Initiative programs, and coordinated Teacher Professional Development.

What’s her story?

A native of Minnesota, Disan developed a love for all things water: lakes, boating, swimming, synchronized swimming, water skiing, and more! In high school, she hated biology, was indifferent to chemistry, and finally found a real interest in science in physics class. She ultimately studied chemistry at Carleton College, where she became captivated by the complexity and mystery of living things. The chemistry of living things and the chemistry used to study biological systems became her area of exploration as she started graduate school in New York City through the Tri-I Chemical Biology Program. After a complete pivot from her high school interests, she earned a PhD in biochemistry from The Rockefeller University for her work using protein chemistry to study the structure and function of potassium channels. She then taught science at Hunter College High School before returning to The Rockefeller University as the Program Manager of the Science Outreach Program. In this former role, Disan blended her experiences in the lab and the classroom to better engage students, support teachers, and include interested scientists in STEM education. She also was project lead for this website! Now, Disan is a Research Associate for the STEM PUSH Network, which is managed by the University of Pittsburgh.

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