Erich D. Jarvis is a trailblazer in neurobiology and has paved the way for many underrepresented researchers in the sciences. After obtaining his B.A. degree in mathematics and biology in 1988, Dr. Jarvis pursued his Ph.D. degree in molecular neurobiology and animal behavior at The Rockefeller University where he researched vocal learning in songbirds. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1995 and stayed at The Rockefeller University to conduct postdoctoral research.
He left Rockefeller in 1998 to become an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University. Dr. Jarvis also served as an assistant professor in the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience and the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Jarvis also became a tenured associate professor at Duke in 2005 and in 2008, he was chosen to become an Investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Presently, Dr. Jarvis is a professor and head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics of Language at the Rockefeller University.
The aim of our panel on Research Excellence is to showcase emerging leaders in basic science research at New York State institutions and have them speak about the challenges and triumphs they’ve faced in their scientific careers, particularly as individuals from communities that are underrepresented in science. We have selected a group of five panelists from all across the state that have shown a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their careers and research. We are hopeful that our attendees will be able to engage with the reflections and advice of our panelists in a productive and positive way.
Dr. Alaji Bah earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Washington University in 2009. Dr. Bah later went on to be a Research Fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto.
Dr. Bah is a structural biochemist whose research focuses on the modulation of physiological processes by post translational modifications of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins or Protein Regions and protein:protein interaction complexes in signaling. Results from Dr. Bah’s post- doctoral work led to discovery of novel therapeutic target for cancer and neurological diseases.
Dr. Bah was named a Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences in 2021, and this program recognizes young and talented researchers and junior faculty and provides funding to outstanding research programs. Dr. Bah was one of only 22 Scholars chosen from a total of 198 nominations.
Dr. Karl J. Lewis is an assistant professor at the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. His research interests center on understanding the interplay of mechanical cues and biological changes in musculoskeletal tissues. Dr. Lewis has always shown strong dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion in his career. Notably, in graduate school, Dr. Lewis and some of his fellow classmates in New York recognized a discrepancy between Harlem students and engagement in STEM subjects and as such, formed a community outreach association with the Harlem Children’s Zone. The goal was to make STEM accessible by leading science projects with high school juniors and seniors. Additionally, Dr. Lewis co-authored a paper in the Journal of Orthopedic Research which highlights the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in orthopedic research.
Dr. Lewis holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University, PhD in Biomedical Engineering from The City College of New York and completed his post-doctoral fellowship at Indiana University School of Medicine.
Dr. Remi Adelaiye-Ogala is an assistant professor at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. Dr. Adelaiye-Ogala’s research focuses on epigenetics, genomics and proteomics, oncology, preclinical research, transcriptomics and translational research. Dr. Adelaiye-Ogala is actively involved in the research community, previously serving as an invited panelist for the Prostate Cancer Foundation Women in Science Forum: Celebration of Achievements of Women in Prostate Cancer Oncology and Research, 22nd Annual Retreat in 2021.
Dr. Adelaiye-Ogala holds a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Fredonia, a PhD in Cancer Pathology from the University at Buffalo, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute at the National Health Institute.
Dr. Lucas Cheadle is an assistant professor of neuroscience at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Originally from the Chickasaw Nation in rural Oklahoma, Dr. Cheadle developed a passion for biomedical research as an undergraduate at Smith College. He later earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience at Yale University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Throughout his training, Dr. Cheadle’s work has focused on understanding how neurons in the brain form precise connections with one another. Currently, Dr. Cheadle’s team merges large-scale genomic and transcriptomic approaches such as single-cell RNA-sequencing with functional assays such as high-resolution imaging of neuronal connections in the brains of living mice.
Dr. Hasina Outtz Reed is an Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her M.D./Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Columbia University. Her clinical training in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary and Critical Care was done at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also conducted her postdoctoral research with Dr. Mark Kahn. She holds faculty appointments at Weill Cornell in both the Department of Medicine and the Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Her lab is currently focused on the role of the lymphatic vasculature in lung injury and homeostasis, and mechanisms of lung lymphatic-immune cell crosstalk.
The aim of our second day panel was to bring representatives from national and state institutes to showcase funding opportunities and channels for our attendees. We are delighted to have individuals from the National Science Foundation and Howard Hughes Medical Institute advise our attendees about how to engage with leading research funders on diversity, equity and inclusion topics.
Marie A. Bernard, MD is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD). As COSWD, she leads NIH thought regarding the science of scientific workforce diversity, assuring that the full range of talent is accessed to promote scientific creativity and innovation, both intramurally and extramurally. Dr. Bernard also co-leads NIH’s newly announced UNITE initiative to end structural racism. Prior to being selected as the COSWD in May 2021, she was deputy director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
Until October 2008 she was the endowed professor and founding chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, and Associate Chief of Staff for Geriatrics and Extended Care at the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She has held numerous national leadership roles, including chair of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Research Advisory Committee, chair of the Clinical Medicine (now Health Sciences) Section of the Gerontological Society of America, board member of the American Geriatrics Society, president of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and president of the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs. She has lectured and published widely in her area of research, nutrition and function in older adults, with particular focus on underrepresented minority populations.
Dr. Bernard completed her undergraduate education at Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and received her M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. She trained in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, where she also served as chief resident. She received additional training through the Association of American Medical Colleges Health Services Research Institute, the Geriatric Education Center of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School Executive Development program.
As a member of the executive leadership team at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. James L. Moore III is the Assistant Director for the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). With an annual budget of over $1 Billion and personnel oversight for nearly 200 employees, he serves as the senior leader for EHR, which supports science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects focusing on K-12 education, undergraduate and graduate education, workforce and human resource development, and learning in formal and informal settings. From 2015 to 2017, he served as a program director for Broadening Participation in Engineering in the Directorate for Engineering at NSF.
Dr. Moore received his B.A. in English Education from Delaware State University and earned both his M.A.Ed. and Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Prior to his NSF appointment, Dr. Moore served, for over five years, as the university’s vice provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer, and leader of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at The Ohio State University.
As vice president of science leadership and culture, Tolbert will develop and lead HHMI’s new Center for the Advancement of Science Leadership and Culture. In this role, Tolbert directs a portfolio of current and new programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, an initiative to better equip HHMI scientists to provide culturally aware mentorship, a curriculum to grow scientists’ skills to maintain inclusive environments, and activities to develop strategic equity-centered initiatives and partnerships. Prior to joining HHMI, Tolbert served as the inaugural vice dean of diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence for Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and as Case Comprehensive Cancer Center’s first associate director for diversity, equity, and inclusion. During his tenure, Tolbert developed initiatives to recruit individuals from backgrounds currently underrepresented in science into tenure-track faculty positions and to improve the experiences of faculty, staff, and students.
Tolbert earned a BS in chemistry at University of South Carolina and a PhD in biophysics and structural biology at University of Rochester. He was an HHMI postdoctoral fellow at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, with HHMI Investigator Michael Summers. In 2016, Tolbert received the inaugural Morton L. Mandel Award for Excellence in Research and Service from the CWRU chemistry department.