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ENGINEERING DIVERSITY

 

Black/African American and Latinx prime-age adults are roughly a third (33 percent) of the adult population, but just 15 percent of engineers.  They continue to lag in terms of admissions to engineering programs, completion of degrees, occupational penetration, and tenure in engineering jobs.

Women are also underrepresented and underpaid in engineering. Women represent a little less than half of the employed prime-age population, but they only represent 16 percent of engineers. Women’s representation in engineering occupations has been improving, but barely.

 

 

Black/African American and Latinx engineers have lower levels of educational attainment than other engineers, but even when they have equal education, they are paid less.

 

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African Americans make up 2.1% of tenured/tenure-track faculty in biomedical engineering (2018).

The American Society for Engineering Education

8% of university presidents are Black/African American.

— 2016 American Council on Education

New technique bioprints live cells inside the body using ultrasonic waves
Shulamit Levenberg | May 9, 2024

New technique bioprints live cells inside the body using ultrasonic waves
Shulamit Levenberg | May 9, 2024

Revolutionary acousto-printing method can be used to circumvent invasive surgery, and has a wide array of potential applications.

A new drug delivery and tissue implantation technique utilizing ultrasound waves as an alternative to surgery has been developed in the Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering Lab of Prof. Shulamit Levenberg at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

The technique allows for bioprinting live cells and tissues deep within the body using external soundwave irradiation.

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Researchers Engineer Yeast to Deliver Drugs, Reduce Inflammation for Possible Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treatment
Juliane Nguyen | May 7, 2024

Researchers Engineer Yeast to Deliver Drugs, Reduce Inflammation for Possible Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treatment
Juliane Nguyen | May 7, 2024

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a complex condition that requires individualized care to meet the needs of the patient’s current disease state. With available medications sometimes causing serious side effects or losing their efficacy over time, many researchers have been exploring new, more targeted ways of delivering medications or other beneficial compounds, such as probiotics.

To address pitfalls in IBD treatment and drug delivery, the labs of Juliane Nguyen, PhD, professor and vice chair of pharmacoengineering and molecular pharmaceuticals at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and Janelle Arthur, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the UNC School of Medicine, have developed a genetically engineered probiotic strain of Saccharomyces boulardii.

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Stretchable skin could give caregiving robots a more human touch
Nanshu Lu | May 6, 2024

Stretchable skin could give caregiving robots a more human touch
Nanshu Lu | May 6, 2024

Newly developed stretchable electronic skin soon might give robots and other devices the same softness and touch sensitivity as human skin. This could prove especially promising for care of the aging, where a soft touch can make a huge difference.

The new stretchable e-skin was developed by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Much like human skin has to stretch and bend to accommodate our movements, so too does e-skin,” said Nanshu Lu, PhD, a professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics who led the project. “No matter how much our e-skin stretches, the pressure response doesn’t change, and that is a significant achievement.

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An electrifying discovery may help doctors deliver more effective gene therapies
Susan Hagness | April 30, 2024

An electrifying discovery may help doctors deliver more effective gene therapies
Susan Hagness | April 30, 2024

In an effort to improve delivery of costly medical treatments, a team of researchers in electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has developed a stimulating method that could make the human body more receptive to certain gene therapies.

The researchers exposed liver cells to short electric pulses — and those gentle zaps caused the liver cells to take in more than 40 times the amount of gene therapy material compared to cells that were not exposed to pulsed electric fields. The method could help reduce the dosage needed for these treatments, making them much safer and more affordable. The research appears April 30 in the journal PLOS ONE.

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Circadian rhythms can influence drugs’ effectiveness
Sangeeta Bhatia | April 24, 2024

Circadian rhythms can influence drugs’ effectiveness
Sangeeta Bhatia | April 24, 2024

MIT researchers find circadian variations in liver function play an important role in how drugs are broken down in the body.

Giving drugs at different times of day could significantly affect how they are metabolized in the liver, according to a new study from MIT.

Using tiny, engineered livers derived from cells from human donors, the researchers found that many genes involved in drug metabolism are under circadian control. These circadian variations affect how much of a drug is available and how effectively the body can break it down. For example, they found that enzymes that break down Tylenol and other drugs are more abundant at certain times of day.

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Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEMM Organizations
National Academies

Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEMM Organizations
National Academies

People from minoritized racial and ethnic groups continue to face numerous systemic barriers that impede their ability to access, persist, and thrive in STEMM higher education and the workforce.

To promote a culture of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) in STEMM, organizations must actively work to dismantle policies and practices that disadvantage people from minoritized groups.

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What Can We Do to Combat Anti-Black Racism in the Biomedical Research Enterprise?
NIH

What Can We Do to Combat Anti-Black Racism in the Biomedical Research Enterprise?
NIH

The recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, in addition to the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on African Americans, are wrenching reminders of the many harms that societal racism, inequality, and injustice inflict on the Black community. These injustices are rooted in centuries of oppression—including slavery and Jim Crow, redlining, school segregation, and mass incarceration—that continue to influence American life, including the biomedical research enterprise. Despite leading an NIH Institute whose mission includes building a diverse scientific workforce, at NIGMS we’ve struggled with what an adequate response to this moment would be, knowing that the systems that mediate the distinct and disparate burdens Black students, postdocs, and scientists face are complex and often aren’t easily moved with the urgency that they demand. With that in mind, below we share thoughts on what each of us who is in the majority or in a position of power can do to help break the cycles of racial disparities that are woven into the fabric of the biomedical research enterprise and that limit opportunities Link to external web site for Black scientists Link to external web site.

Institutional structures, policies, and cultures Link to external web site, including those in the biomedical research enterprise, all contribute to racial inequality and injustice. This fact was laid bare for us by the responses to the request for information (RFI) we issued in 2018 on strategies to enhance successful postdoctoral career transitions to promote faculty diversity. Respondents cited bias and discrimination—including racism—most frequently as a key barrier to postdoctoral researchers attaining independent faculty positions.

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Combating sexual harassment
Science

Combating sexual harassment
Science

Sexual harassment, including gender harassment, presents an unacceptable barrier that prevents women from achieving their rightful place in science, and robs society and the scientific enterprise of diverse and critical talent. As the largest single funder of biomedical research in the world, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) bears a responsibility to take action to put an end to this behavior. In 2019, the NIH began to bolster its policies and practices to address and prevent sexual harassment. This included new communication channels to inform the agency of instances of sexual harassment related to NIH-funded research. This week, the NIH announces a change that will hold grantee institutions and investigators accountable for this misconduct, to further foster a culture whereby sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviors are not tolerated in the research and training environment.

Last year, an Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) of the NIH presented a report and recommendations to end sexual harassment. A major theme of this report was the need for increased transparency and accountability in the reporting of professional misconduct, especially sexual harassment. The cases of sexual harassment that surfaced in the wake of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) 2018 report highlighted a substantial gap in the NIH’s oversight of the research enterprise: There was no straightforward mechanism for the agency to learn of sexual harassment or other misconduct taking place at grantee institutions in the context of NIH-funded research. It was not uncommon for the NIH to discover such cases through the media, amid rightful public outcry. Holding institutions and investigators accountable for this behavior was challenging.

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White Academia: Do Better.
Medium

White Academia: Do Better.
Medium

Over the past couple of weeks, our nation has been confronted with ugly truths and hard history revealing how systemic racism rears its head in almost every space. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down our typical lifestyles, people seem to be listening.

This moment feels very different from other situations when we had to address human rights in the context of race relations in the United States. With that comes a host of emotions that White people have rarely had to deal with because of their racial privilege, and this includes White people working in academia.

Like many Black faculty, and Black people in general, I have received messages and texts from White colleagues apologizing, expressing their guilt and remorse, and asking what they can do to support their Black colleagues and friends.

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Guidelines for Diversity & Inclusion in Crisis
Juan E. Gilbert, PhD

Guidelines for Diversity & Inclusion in Crisis
Juan E. Gilbert, PhD

I am writing these guidelines in response to the recent events that have impacted the Black community, specifically, the Black computing community. As the Department Chair of the Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) Department at the University of Florida, I lead, one of, if not, the nation’s most diverse computing sciences (CS) department. We have the nation’s most Black CS faculty and PhD students. We are one of the top CS departments for the number of female faculty. As a researcher, I have had the honor of producing the nation’s most Black/African-American CS PhDs. I have also had the honor of hiring and promoting the most Black faculty in CS. My experiences span more than 20 years and those experiences are the foundation for these guidelines.

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