Engineering Diversity

RECOGNIZING EXCELLENCE

  • Guillermo Ameer, ScD

    Guillermo Ameer, ScD

  • Treena Arinzeh, PhD

    Treena Arinzeh, PhD

  • Gilda Barabino, PhD

    Gilda Barabino, PhD

  • Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD

    Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD

  • Cheryl Blanchard, PhD

    Cheryl Blanchard, PhD

  • Tejal Desai, PhD

    Tejal Desai, PhD

  • Paula Hammond, PhD

    Paula Hammond, PhD

  • Rebecca Richards-Kortum, PhD

    Rebecca Richards-Kortum, PhD

  • Ann Salamone

    Ann Salamone

  • Molly Shoichet, PhD

    Molly Shoichet, PhD

  • Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD

    Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD

Awardees

Early Trailblazers

Gilda Barabino, Ph.D.

Gilda Barabino, Ph.D.

Gilda Barabino is Dean and Berg Professor at The Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York. She has appointments in Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education/CUNY School of Medicine...

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Barbara Boyan, Ph.D.

Barbara Boyan, Ph.D.

Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., dean of VCU’s School of Engineering, is an acclaimed researcher and entrepreneur. Her laboratory focuses on research related to all aspects of bone and cartilage biology...

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Rena Bizios, Ph.D.

Rena Bizios, Ph.D.

Professor Rena Bizios, a chemical/biomedical engineer by training, is the Lutcher Brown Chair Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas...

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Linda Lucas, Ph.D.

Linda Lucas, Ph.D.

Dr. Linda C. Lucas became provost of University of Alabama at Birmingham in April 2012 after serving in the interim role since May 2011. She served as dean of the School of Engineering from 2000 to 2011...

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Katherine Ferrara, Ph.D.

Katherine Ferrara, Ph.D.

Dr. Katherine Ferrara was recruited to the Department of Radiology at Stanford University in 2018. Prior, Professor Ferrera spent years building and shaping the Biomedical Engineering Department at the...

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Banu Onaral, Ph.D.

Banu Onaral, Ph.D.

Dr. Onaral is H. H. Sun Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University...

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Janice Jenkins, Ph.D.

Janice Jenkins, Ph.D.

During her 22-year career at the University of Michigan, Janice Jenkins became known for her mentorship and for the fact that she was the first woman faculty member hired in the Electrical and Computer Engineering...

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Christina Enroth-Cugell, Ph.D.

Christina Enroth-Cugell, Ph.D.

Christina Alma Elisabeth Enroth-Cugell, emeritus professor of biomedical engineering and neurobiology, passed away June 15, 2016 at age 96. She was as a renowned vision scientist...

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Introducing COVID19questions.org
Lucila Ohno-Machado | September 17, 2020

Introducing COVID19questions.org
Lucila Ohno-Machado | September 17, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there is an urgent need to determine who is at greatest risk for severe disease, better understand how the disease and treatments evolve, and predict the need for resources. But to get there, researchers and clinicians need more data about what patients have experienced so far, and what factors are associated with different patient outcomes.

To provide this information, a new research consortium invites clinicians, researchers, patients and the general public to submit questions that could be answered by COVID-19 patient record data from more than 200 participating hospitals. Questions are submitted and answers are provided via a new web portal: COVID19questions.org.

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Bone Cancer Treatment Potentially Improved by Soy
Susmita Bose | September 16, 2020

Bone Cancer Treatment Potentially Improved by Soy
Susmita Bose | September 16, 2020

Soy is widely studied for its estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects on the body. It has been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer and recurrence, improved heart and bone health, as well as the reduced risk of other cancers. Now researchers at Washington State University (WSU) see the potential of soy when it comes to improving post-operative treatment of bone cancer. They demonstrated the slow release of soy-based chemical compounds from a 3D-printed bone-like scaffold resulted in a reduction in bone cancer cells while building up healthy cells and reducing harmful inflammation.

Their findings, “Controlled release of soy isoflavones from multifunctional 3D printed bone tissue engineering scaffolds,” are published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia and led by graduate student Naboneeta Sarkar and Susmita Bose, PhD, professor at WSU’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

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Systemic equity in education
Gilda Barabino | September 11, 2020

Systemic equity in education
Gilda Barabino | September 11, 2020

Too often in higher education, the legacy of laws, policies, and practices that have systematically denied educational opportunities to Blacks is ignored, thereby perpetuating racial inequities. In the United States, higher education is a key route to career success and upward socioeconomic mobility. Unfortunately, this path is increasingly becoming most accessible to privileged communities. As the new president of Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts, and as a woman of color, I am in a position to help unburden higher education from systemic racism and promote positive change that extends beyond academic boundaries.

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First Demonstration of Neuro Therapeutic Tropane Alkaloids Produced in Yeast
Christina Smolke | September 3, 2020

First Demonstration of Neuro Therapeutic Tropane Alkaloids Produced in Yeast
Christina Smolke | September 3, 2020

Researchers report the first successful microbial biosynthesis of the tropane alkaloids hyoscyamine and scopolamine, a class of neuromuscular blockers naturally found in plants in the nightshade family.

Describing a first-in-class fermentation-based approach for producing complex molecules, the paper lays the foundation for a controlled, flexible, cell-based manufacturing platform for essential medicines that currently rely on crop farming, according to research leader Christina Smolke, PhD, professor of bioengineering at Stanford University and CEO and co-founder of Antheia, a synthetic biology company making next-generation plant-inspired medicines.

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U of T Engineering researchers develop cell injection technique that could help reverse vision loss
Molly Shoichet | August 13, 2020

U of T Engineering researchers develop cell injection technique that could help reverse vision loss
Molly Shoichet | August 13, 2020

U of T Engineering researchers have developed a new method of injecting healthy cells into damaged eyes. The technique could point the way toward new treatments with the potential to reverse forms of vision loss that are currently incurable.

Around the world, millions of people live with vision loss due to conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or retinitis pigmentosa. Both are caused by the death of cells in the retina, at the back of the eye.

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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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Scientists around the world are striking against racism in academia
New Scientist

Scientists around the world are striking against racism in academia
New Scientist

Scientists around the world are striking to raise awareness of institutional and systemic racism against Black academics. This event comes in conjunction with widespread protests against police violence after the killing of George Floyd, who died on 25 May after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground by his neck.

The strike was organised by a group of academics, many of them physicists and astronomers based in the US, and promoted on social media with the hashtags #ShutDownAcademia, #ShutDownSTEM and #Strike4BlackLives. The organisers are encouraging academics across STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields to take the day away from their normal research and instead spend it educating themselves on racial disparities in their field and taking action against racial violence and discrimination. At least 5000 academics based at universities from around the world have joined the course.

“As academics, we do not exist in a vacuum and it is important to recognise the current events: Black members of our communities are being harassed and lynched with little to no consequence, as well as being disproportionately affected by the current pandemic,” says Tien-Tien Yu, a particle physicist at the University of Oregon who has helped organise the event through the Particles for Justice group. “We need to acknowledge that this takes a toll on the well-being of Black academics and that Black Lives Matter.

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