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November 20, 2015
Women of Color Featured as WALS Speakers

Five outstanding women join the 2015- 2016 Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series roster, in an effort to promote the successes of women in science by the committee on women of color in biomedical careers, a subcommittee of the NIH working group on women in biomedical careers.

Dr. Brigid Hogan Dr. Paula Hammond Dr. Roberta Diaz-Brinton Dr. Vivian Cheung Dr. Yang Dan

The 2015-2016 WALS roster includes (from l) Dr. Brigid Hogan, Dr. Paula Hammond, Dr. Roberta Diaz-Brinton, Dr. Vivian Cheung and Dr. Yang Dan.

“Many women of color confront a number of challenges in finding a way into biomedicine and in staying there,” said Dr. Janine Austin Clayton, NIH associate director for research on women’s health and working group co-chair. “Role models and sponsorship are just two points, and NIH is working hard to address a range of factors related to the research enterprise that affect women in the scientific workforce.”

The sponsored additions bring the number of women on this season’s lecture roster to 17.

The dates and speakers are:

  • Dec. 16—Dr. Roberta Diaz-Brinton, R. Pete Vanderveen chair in therapeutic discovery and development, University of Southern California, is a recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Obama for her advocacy in increasing the number of minority students pursuing STEM. She has demonstrated that loss of ovarian hormones leads to activation of a sequence of compensatory responses that ultimately lead to the development of Alzheimer’s pathology.

  • Jan. 27, 2016—Dr. Yang Dan, professor of neurobiology, University of California, Berkeley, is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Her research elucidates how visual information is encoded and processed in the mammalian brain and how neural circuits are shaped by visual experience.

  • Mar. 2—Dr. Vivian Cheung, geneticist, University of Michigan, is an HHMI investigator and National Academy of Medicine member. Her research with Dr. Richard Spielman characterized changes in DNA sequence and the effect on gene expression. They mapped and catalogued genetic differences among people from Asia, Africa and Europe; this analysis cemented the importance of regulatory or “junk” DNA.

  • Mar. 23—Dr. Brigid Hogan, professor and chair, department of cell biology, Duke University, is an HHMI investigator, NAM member and fellow of the Royal Society. Her research focuses on stem cell techniques and transgenic technology. She is a leader in mammalian embryo manipulation techniques through her publication Manipulating the Mouse Embryo: A Laboratory Manual. Her current focus is the cellular and genetic mechanisms underlying the development, maintenance and repair of organs derived from embryonic foregut endoderm.

  • Apr. 13—Dr. Paula Hammond, head of the department of chemical engineering and David H. Koch chair professor of engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a member of the 2013 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, recipient of the AlChE Charles M.A. Stine Award and fellow of the American Physical Society. Her group focuses on the self-assembly of polymeric nanomaterials, with an emphasis on the use of electrostatics and other complementary interactions to generate functional materials with highly controlled architecture.

“Every one of these exemplary scientists was delighted to accept the invitation to be a speaker for the NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series,” said NIA deputy director Dr. Marie Bernard, committee co-chair. “We of the women of color committee are honored to facilitate their engagement with the NIH community.”

Lectures occur from 3 to 4 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10.—Cerise Elliott

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