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Genetics, Diversity, and Human Biology in Tokyo

Faculty Leader

Stanley Lo

Stanley Lo headshot

Stanley Lo is a Teaching Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology in the School of Biological Sciences; he is also an Affiliate Faculty in the Research Ethics Program and the Joint Doctoral Program in Mathematics and Science Education on campus. Collaborative projects in his research group examine how faculty conceptions of diversity inform their instructional and mentoring practices, explore how student identities intersect with their experiences and learning, and develop and evaluate innovative programs to support student success.
Stanley earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard University in 2009. He was honored as a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences in 2011-2012 and subsequently Education Mentor in the Life Sciences in 2012-2016. He developed an initial idea for this Global Seminar program as a Changemaker Faculty Fellow in Anti-Racist Pedagogy at UC San Diego in 2021-2022.
Stanley was born in Hong Kong where he lived in a neighborhood with a number of Japanese expat families. He took Japanese language courses throughout high school in Canada and college in the United States. He also studied abroad in Japan for a summer through the Princeton in Ishikawa Advanced Japanese Language program. One of his goals for this Global Seminar program is to share this important study-abroad opportunity with students studying biological sciences.


  • BILD 60GS: Exploring Issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Relation to Human Biology (draft PDF coming soon)
  • BICD 102GS: Genetics Inquiry (draft PDF coming soon)

Why you should go

Japan has a long history of genetics research from the classical to modern era. Particularly of note is the use of the medaka fish as a model organism, which is largely not studied elsewhere in the world. In BICD 102GS Genetic Inquiry, we will read selected primary literature papers on the genetics of pigmentation in humans and model organisms, with different fish from various parts of the world, including medaka, as comparisons. We will discuss the advantages and tradeoffs of different model organisms, while learning how fundamental concepts in genetics are developed through research. In BILD 60GS Exploring Issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Relation to Human Biology, we will draw connections to the genetics of pigmentation and examine how concepts in genetics are misused in public discourse to justify racism, oppression, and discrimination. We will also explore the genetics of ancestry across the globe and in Japan, while considering the implications of diversity in relation to equitable access and outcomes in human health.

Who should go

Anyone who is interested in learning more about genetics, diversity, and human biology in a place-based context in Tokyo and other excursion locations in Japan! BICD 102GS Genetic Inquiry will fulfill an upper-division elective for Biological Sciences majors, and BILD 60GS Exploring Issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Relation to Human Biology will fulfill the campus DEI course requirement (pending approval).

Prerequisites for both courses together include BICD 100 (or BICD 100R), MATH 11, BILD 1 (which is a prerequisite for BICD 100), and BILD 2 or BILD 3.

Information Sessions

  • Wednesday, Jan 24, 5:00 - 6:30 pm
  • Register here for the live Zoom link, and/or to get the post-session recording.

See the Info Session Calendar


Departure from U.S.: Sat., June 29, 2024
Arrival: Sun., June 30, 2024
Mandatory Orientation: Mon., July 1, 2024
First Day of Class: Mon., July 1, 2024
Last Day of Class: Fri., August 2, 2024
Departure for the U.S.
(or personal travel):
Sat., August 3, 2024

Flight Information

  • You will be responsible for purchasing your own airplane tickets, and your program coordinator will provide guidelines and resources during the pre-departure process to help you find an appropriate flight.
  • Do not purchase plane tickets until the program is confirmed. All approved applicants will be notified by e-mail when the contract has been signed.

Global Seminar Fees

All fees subject to change. See for current tuition and campus-based fees.

  UCSD Other UC Non-UC
Program Cost:
(includes $500 administrative fee)
 $5,921.26  $5,921.26  $5,921.26
Estimated Tuition and Campus-Based Fees:
$2,514.43 $2,564.43 $3,454.43
(not including airfare or personal expenses)
 $8,435.69  $8,485.69 $9,375.69

Budget Sheet

Funding Options

See the funding options page to learn how financial aid and scholarships can help you pay for this program.

Local Site Visits

  • Miraikan Museum: National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
  • National Museum of Nature & Science
  • Institute of Nature Study, Tokyo Sea Life Park, or Zoorasia Yokohama Zoo
  • Local university research lab visit

Overnight Excursions

  •  Shizuoka & Kanagawa
    • Numazu Deep Sea Aquarium
    • Coelacanth Museum

Excursions are subject to change without prior notice. No refunds are possible.


  • Double-occupancy rooms at a 3-star hotel
  • Rooms have wifi & air conditioning
  • Housing arrangements are subject to change based on local circumstances without prior notice. No price adjustments are possible.

Included Meals

  • Welcome dinner upon arrival
  • Farewell dinner at end of program

Classroom and Computer Access

  • Classroom space is to be confirmed. 
  • It will have wifi & air conditioning.
  • Wireless access may be intermittent due to local conditions. No refunds or price adjustments are possible.


  • Transportation by private bus to and from Haneda airport to the student housing is included in the program. Two different pick-up times will be arranged based on the most common flight arrival times.
  • Do not purchase plane tickets until the program is confirmed. All approved applicants will be notified by e-mail when the contract has been signed.
  • A local transportation pass for Tokyo will be provided for each student.
  • Transportation for all out of town excursions


  • Information about how to obtain a local SIM card will be provided at the pre-departure orientation.
  • Students will be responsible to purchase their own calling time/minutes.

Insurance, Health, and Safety

  • An in-depth orientation will be given on the morning after arrival, including health and safety procedures.
  • Program partner staff will be available by telephone after hours.
  • All students will be registered for UC travel insurance valid for program dates + 14 days cumulative.
  • Students travelling more than that should obtain independent travel insurance.