Lab Culture Ep. 12: Bitten by the public health bug — How I found my lab niche

Lab Culture Ep. 12: Bitten by the public health bug -- How I found my lab niche |

The people who work in public health laboratories make a difference in your community daily. In this third episode, members of the Emerging Leader Program cohort 10 sit down with their peers to hear how their public health laboratory careers have made an impact.

You can listen to our show via the player embedded below or on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Please be sure to subscribe to Lab Culture so you never miss an episode.

ELP cohort 10 members featured in this episode:


  • Degina Booker has been working in the public health lab for 40 years and is now the administrative services director for the Mississippi Public Health Lab.
  • Dr. Burton Wilcke, Jr., now retired, has worked in public health laboratories for over 35 years in Vermont, Michigan and California. Dr. Wilcke remains active in the public health laboratory community as a member of both the APHL Workforce Development Committee  and the Global Health Committee.
  • Dr. Musau WaKabongo, now retired, was the Public Health Laboratory Director at the Placer County Public Health Laboratory  and has worked in several public health laboratories in California for 13 years.
  • Dr. Maria Ishida has been working in public health for 11 years and is now the director of the New York State Food Laboratory.

Are you thinking about a career in a public health laboratory?

The post Lab Culture Ep. 12: Bitten by the public health bug — How I found my lab niche appeared first on APHL Lab Blog.

Milwaukee public health lab gives students a hands-on experience

Milwaukee public health lab gives students a hands-on experience |

Each year the City of Milwaukee Health Department organizes a Back-to-School Health Fair for local children. The health fair allows Milwaukee’s most underserved students to access free immunizations, annual check-ups, public health education, blood lead testing and school supplies.

This year the Milwaukee Health Department Laboratory (MHDL) presented an innovative information booth at the fair that showcased its contributions to the community and encouraged young people to pursue careers in laboratory science. “Studies show that it’s critical to reach out to kids and stimulate their scientific curiosity at a young age,” explained Dr. Steve Gradus, director of MHDL. “Experiences like this can capture their imagination and inspire them to pursue a career in public health.”

Milwaukee public health lab gives students a hands-on experience | www.APHLblog.orgAt the booth, families met Noah Leigh, virologist II at MHDL, who explained how germs are spread. With his hands covered in Glo-germ™ lotion, Noah shook hands with children and invited them to look at their hands under a UV light to see how he had spread “germs” (really the Glo-germ lotion) to them without them realizing it. This exercise supported a healthy habit and reinforced parents’ advice – “That’s why I always tell you to wash your hands before you eat!” – with a scientific explanation from a real-life public health scientist.

Children donned safety glasses to become special lab assistants for the day, and visited an imaginary classroom to play “Guess Who’s Sick,” a game created by booth designers Beth Pfotenhauer, virologist III, and Dr. Kwadwo Owusu-Ofori, lab operations manager. Using pipettes and micro-well plates to guess who was sick, kids shouted, “Look! He’s Sick! He’s Sick!” as bubbles spilled out of the multi-well plate containing the samples of “sick” children. “Wow that was a neat experiment! Even I learned something,” said parents as they thanked the MHDL staff for the educational experience.
Milwaukee public health lab gives students a hands-on experience | www.APHLblog.orgWhile the children were busy, MHDL scientists took the opportunity to discuss laboratory services with the parents and teachers. “Most visitors were familiar with beach water testing or lead testing, but were not aware of the laboratory services as a distinct division of the MHD,” commented Leigh. “It’s important to educate our community about all areas of the health department. It’s a two-way street. The public does its part by engaging in healthy habits like hand-washing and keeping vaccinations up-to-date, while the health department conducts disease surveillance and mitigates microbial and chemical health hazards.”

Staff provided language translations and easily interpretable pictures to communicate the basic premise of diagnostic testing to children from diverse cultural backgrounds. “The highlight for me was when a young Indian immigrant who spoke no English was able to play our game and correctly determine which kids were ‘sick’ just by pointing to our pictures,” said Pfotenhauer.

“The booth was a success! It provided a positive experience that quickly engaged children and hopefully inspired them to pursue a career in laboratory science,” said Dr. Owusu-Ofori. “The diverse demographics of the Back-to-School Health Fair site made this location ideal to expand our outreach. APHL reports that there aren’t enough emerging public health laboratory scientists to support the growing global population.” With its booth and creative programs, MHDL aims to bring those numbers up.

“Kudos to all our lab staff members who were actively engaged in this very successful effort, allowed better visibility for our public health laboratory in the community,” said Dr. Sanjib Bhattacharyya, deputy lab director.

The post Milwaukee public health lab gives students a hands-on experience appeared first on APHL Lab Blog.

UC Davis Storer Lecture series – since 1963 87% of speakers are male

I wrote this blog post a while ago but never published it partly out of fear for upsetting some of my colleagues.  I try to be brave about such things, but I guess I just did not quite get up the poxy.  Well, today something came up that stimulated me to write the post.

I got an email announcement for a talk that seems potentially quite interesting. The problem is not the talk.  The problem is with the endowed Lectureship that this talk is connected to.  So here is the post I have worked on on and off over the last year or more.

UC Davis has an endowed lecture series- the Storer Lectureship in the Life Sciences.  It has been running since the 1960s and is a relatively big deal on campus here.  The speakers come in, usually give one or two talks (one for the public and one for researchers).  They usually have a big dinner (I have gone to a few of these) and the speakers get a decent honorarium (a few thousand dollars) and some sort of gift.

Most years I have been here, I have received a request from the organizers for suggested speakers and every once in a while I have made suggestions, some of which have even led to invitations.  Recently, I had suggested a famous colleague who is also a UC Davis alum.  Alas, she could not come.  The organizers asked if I had any other suggestions and I sent them a list of a few candidates who are both very good, well known and do something related to microbes.  The organizers really liked one of the suggestions and asked if I would be willing to invite this person.

So I started drafting a letter.  And as part of drafting a letter I wanted to give examples of past speakers to show how great a set of speakers we had for this series.  So I Googled "Storer" and
UC Davis" or something like that and got to the page:

Storer Lectureship in the Life Sciences

And that is when I got a bit heartbroken.  The speakers have been, well, very male.   I note I spent a while looking at descriptions of each speaker that I did not know to try and determine their gender, looking at their web sites if available, or how they were described (e.g., what pronouns were used).  I am pretty confident in the assignments though I realize this is an error prone approach.  Here is the full list as far as I have put together with the males labelled in yellow and females in green.
Oct 5-16, 1963Ernest W. CaspariUniversity of Rochester
Oct 17-31, 1966Vincent G. DerhicrUnivesity of Pennsylvania
May 7-20, 1967Ernst MayrHarvard University
Nov 3-15, 1968Elizabeth C. CrosbyUnivesity of Michigan
Jan 3-15, 1969W.D. BillingsDuke University
Apr 13-23, 1969Frank FennerAustralian National University,
Apr 5-19, 1970A. Frey-WysslingEidgenossiche Tcchnische Hochschule
Nov 11-23, 1970Carl L. HubbsScripps Institution of Oceanography
Feb 1-12, 1971H.L. KornBergUniversity of Leicester, England
Nov 22-Dec 3, 1971Hilary KoprowskiUniversity of Pennsylvania
Jan 17-28, 1972George BeadleUniversity of Chicago
Jan 17-28, 1972Muriel BeadleUniversity of Chicago
May 1-12, 1972Sterling HendricksAgriculture Research Service, U.S.D.A
Oct 16-27, 1972George Gaylord SimpsonThe Simroe Foundation
Feb 23-Mar 9, 1973Sir Alan S. ParkesThe Galton Foundation
Apr 9-20, 1973Peter R. MarlerThe Rockefeller University
May 7-18, 1973George C. Cotzias, M.D.Brookhaven National Laboratory
Nov 6-13, 1973Eugene E. OdumUniversity of Georgia
Nov 12-16, 1973Peter AlexanderRoyal Marsden Cancer Hospital
Mar 4-15, 1974Davis A. Hamburg, MD.Stanford University School of Medicine
Apr 1-15, 1974Kent V. FlanneryUniversity of Michigan
Nov 4-15, 1974Garrett HardinUniversity of California, Santa Barbara
Mar 30-Apr 9, 1975Kenneth J. CarpenterUniversity of Cambridge
Apr 20-May 2, 1975Murray S. BlumUniversity of Georgia
Oct 20-31, 1975Bert W. O'Malley, M.D.Baylor College of Medicine,
Apr 12-23, 1976Sydney BrennerDivision of Cell Biology of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England
May 17-28, 1976Peter S. CarlsonMichigan State University,
Nov 22-Dec 3, 1976Roger Y. StanierPasteur Institute,
Jan 24-Feb 4, 1977Peter AlbersheimUniversity of Colorado
Feb 22-Mar 4, 1977*Jere Mead, M.D. Cecil K. and Philip DrinkerHarvard University
Apr 11-12, 1977S. J. SingerUniversity of California, San Diego
Nov 20-30, 1977James D. EbertMarine Biological Laboratory
Feb 8-15, 1978Sir Kenneth BlaxtcrRowen Research Institute
Apr 5-12, 1978Eric H. DavidsonCalifornia Institute of Technology
Oct 9-20, 1978Jutgen AschoffMax-Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology
Feb 20-22, 1979*Burt L. Vallee, Paul C. CabotHarvard Medical School
Apr 24-26, 1979Carl R. WoeseUniversity of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
Nov 5-16, 1979Daphne J. OsborneOxford University
Februarv 4-15, 1980John F. EisenbergSmithsonian Institution.
Apr 16-18, 1980George E. Palade, M.D.Yale Medical School
May 5-16, 1980Jerre LevyUniversity of Chicago
Oct 27-30, 1980Colin BlakemoreOxford University
Jan 21-27, 1980Pierre DejoursCNRS
Feb 26-Mar 5, 1981Richard Alexander University of Michigan
Oct 20-27, 1981Alfred F. Harper University of Wisconsin Madison
May 11-19, 1982Glenn W. BurtonUSDA-SEA
Oct 11-18, 1982Richard F. LeakeyNational Museums of Kenya
Jan 6-11, 1983Eric R. Kandel, M.D.Columbia University,
Oct 12-18, 1983Donald S. FarnerUniversity of Washington
Feb 13-15, 1984Daniel BrantonHarvard University
Apr 24-26, 1984J. Michael BishopUniversity of California, San Francisco
Dec 3-6, 1984Maurice FriedNational Research Council
Apr 3-8, 1985John KrebsEdward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology
May 8-14, 1985Geoffrey M. Ole MaloiyUniversity of Nairobi
Oct 8-10, 1985Michael P. HassellImperial College, London
Apr 21-24, 1986John Maynard SmithUniversity of Sussex.
Dec 1-4, 1986Aldo Carl LeopoldBoyce Thompson Institute
Mar 2A, 1987Gerald EdelmanThe Rockefeller University
Nov 10-12, 1987Jean-Claude ChcrrnannPasteur Institute, Paris France
Jan 15-20, 1988Jean-Pierre ChangeuxPasteur Institute, Paris France
Apr 11-15, 1988John I. HarpcrUniversity College of North Wales
Oct 17-21, 1988Rudiger WehnerUniversity of Zurich
Oct 23-26, 1989John C. TorreyHarvard University
Feb 26-Mar 2, 1990Heinz SaedlerMax-Planck-Institute
Nov 5-7, 1990Francis CrickThe Salk Institute
Jan 28-31, 1991Thomas A. McMahonHarvard University
May 28-30, 1991Lynn MargulisUniversity of Massachusetts
Nov 18-21, 1991Richard C. LewontinHarvard University
Feb 4-6, 1992Philip LederHarvard Medical School
Apr 13-16, 1992Patrick BatesonUniversity of Cambridge
Nov 16-19, 1992Melvin I. SimonCalifornia Institute of Technology
Feb 1-5, 1993Anne McLarenWellcome/CRC Institute
Apr 13-16, 1993Judah FolkmanHarvard Medical School
Jan 24 -27, 1994Philippa MarrackNational Jewish Center
Feb 28-Mar 3, 1994Stephen O'BrienNational Cancer Institute
Apr 18-21, 1994Roy M. AndersonUniversity of Oxford
Oct 31-Nov 2, 1994Michael J. BerridgeThe Babraham Institute
Feb 6-10, 1995Hal HatchCSIRO Division of Plant Industry
May 1-5, 1995Elaine FuchsThe University of Chicago
Oct 16-19, 1995Peter EllisonHarvard University
Mar 4-8, 1996Gottfried SchatzUniversity of Basel, Switzerland
Apr 8-10, 1996Daniel HillelUniversity of Massachusetts at Amherst
Feb 3-6, 1997Peter R. GrantPrinceton University
Apr 14-17, 1997William J. LennarzState University of New York
May 5-7, 1997Carolyn W. SlaymanYale University School of Medicine
Apr 20-22, 1998Floyd BloomThe Scripps Research 1nstitute
May 18-20, 1998Ian WilmutRoslin Institute
Jan 11-13, 1999Leroy E. HoodUniversity of Washington
Apr 26-28, 1999Patricia Goldman-RakicYale University School of Medicine
Jan 30-31, 2001Charles ArntzenArizona State University

University of Oxford
Mar 4-6, 2002Jan H. Hoeijmakcrs Erasmus University
Apr 11-12, 2002Fred H. GageThe Salk Institute
May 6-7, 2002Phillip A. SharpCenter for Cancer Research, MIT
Jan 13-15, 2003George M. Martin, M.D.University of Washington
Mar 10-11, 2003Kim A. NasmythVienna Biocenter
Apr 28-29, 2003Tim FlanneryDirector of the South Australian Museum
Dec 1-2, 2003William GreenoughUniversity of Illinois
Feb 18-19, 2004Bruce AmesChildren's Hospital, Oakland Research Institute
Nov 29-30, 2004Hans HerrenInternational Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology
Apr 26-27, 2005H. Robert HorvitzMassachusetts Institute of Technology
May 9-10, 2005Steven ChuLawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Jan 24-25, 2006Cynthia KenyonUniversity of California, San Francisco
Mar 14-15, 2006Thomas D. PollardYale University
Oct 23-24, 2006Mimi KoehlUniversity of California, Berkeley
Dec 4-5, 2006Simon A. LevinPrinceton University
Apr 5-6, 2007Sir Peter Crane, FRSUniversity of Chicago
Apr 23-24, 2007Stephen QuakeStanford University
May 14-15, 2007Pasko RakicYale University
Mar 23-24, 2009Sean CarrollUniversity of Wisconsin
Apr 20-21, 2009H. Allen OrrUniversity of Rochester
May 19-20, 2009John DoebleyUniversity of Wisconsin
Mar 11-12, 2010Elliot MeyerowitzCalifornia Institute of Technology
May 17-18, 2010Robert LangerMassachusetts Institute of Technology
May 11-12, 2011Nina FederoffPennsylvania State University
Jan 11-12, 2012Jane LubchencoNOAA
Apr 24-25, 2012Ilkka HanskiUniversity of Helsinki
May 30-31, 2012Loren RiesebergUniversity of British Columbia
Oct 2-3, 2012Ed DelongMIT
Nov 15, 2012Jordi BascompteEstación Biológica de Doñana
Nov 19, 2012Simon BoultonLondon Research Institute
Jan 16, 2013Ary HoffmanUniversity of Melbourne
Jan 31, 2013Jonathan LososHarvard
Mar 18, 2013Gloria CoruzziNYU
Apr 10-11 2013Peter AgreJohns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute
May 6, 2013Richard WranghamHarvard
May 16, 2013Sue CarterRTI International
May 28, 2013Larry GoldCU Boulder
June 4, 2013Eric SchadtMount Sinai
June 05, 2013Nancy MoranYale
Oct 28-29, 2013Walter BodmerUniversity of Oxford
Dec 4-5, 2013Ronald KabackUCLA
Feb 24, 2014Patricia WrightStony Brook
Mar 5-6, 2014Steve CarpenterUniversity of Wisconsin
Apr 9-10, 2014Jerry CoyneUniversity of Chicago
May 20-21, 2014May BerenbaumUniversity of Illinois
May 28-29, 2014Joel CohenRockefeller University
Oct 28-29, 2014Charles RiceThe Rockefeller University
Nov 19-20, 2014Rolf ZinkernagelUniversity of Zurich
Apr 15-16, 2015Tim Clutton BlockUniversity of Cambridge
Oct 7-8, 2015Richard LenskiMichigan State
April 22, 2016Steve NowickiDuke University

The total numbers come to 19 females out of 142 speakers or ~13% female and 87% male.  Ugh.

And the person I had suggested to invite was male.  So I wrote back to the organizers and I wrote:

From: Jonathan Eisen 
Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2015 11:34 AM 
Subject: Abyssmal gender ratio of speakers in the Storer Lectureship series 
With sincere apologies but ... 
In preparing a letter of invitation for XXX I decided to include some examples of previous Storer Lecturers. And therein lies the problem On the web site my count, there are 121 past speakers listed. Of these, 15 appear to be female (from my estimate). That comes to 12%. That is embarassaingly low. I hope my calculations here are wrong. 
Can you tell me if the Storer Lectureship has any policies regarding diversity of speakers? If yes, can you provide me with those details.

If no, I recommend you implement one as soon as possible. Either way, I refuse to have my name affiliated with this series, and will not invite anyone to talk in it, without further information and without some serious attempt to figure out how to do a better job representing the diversity of biologists who could give such talks. 
They wrote back with a very detailed response and were very supportive of the concept of increasing diversity of speakers.  And they explained some of the efforts they had made in this regard.  And they really seem to be trying in some ways.  But in the end, their main justification for the lack of diversity was that they were trying to invite already recognized, in essence famous, biologists.  People who had won a Nobel or were in the National Academy of Sciences or were HHMI investigators.  And this pool, that they had chosen, was skewed in gender balance.

So I wrote back to them June 18:

Thanks very much for the response.

I understand you have some constraints and greatly appreciate that you are committed to trying to improve the diversity of speakers.  However, the end result is truly not acceptible in my mind and therefore I believe more needs to be done, urgently, to improve the situation.

What are some possible ways to improve the situation?

Well, the number one recommendation I would make would be to not constrain the pool to honorific groups that themselves have severe skews.  No we cannot solve those skews and there are many causes for them.  But I believe it is a major mistake to use the diversity of those groups (NAS, Nobel, HHMI) as a target.  Either invite people to represent diversity well even from a constrained pool, or, open up to a broader pool (there are plenty of incredible scientists who have not gotten HHMI, NAS, or Nobels).

In addition to opening up the pool and not aiming at such a low bar, there are many things one can do to improve the diversity of speakers.  I have written about this extensively as have many others.  I can point the committee to some of these articles if interested.

In the end, whatever the reasons are, the Storer series has ended up with extremely biased gender ratio of speakers.  I think it is up to the committee to fix this with a combination of actions.  But the first thing I would recommend is to not use the diversity of a set of pools you have chosen as an excuse.  We can and should do better and if the pools are the reason, the pools from which you sample need to be changed.


They wrote back, saying they were really committed to achieving better gender balance in the future writing "we are totally committed to the same goals as you in terms of gender balance now and in the future." And they also wrote that they expected "the final lineup to reflect at least 30 percent or more female" as long as one additional woman (the person I had originally recommended) would come (though I had told them she said she could not).  And then they asked if I would reconsider inviting the man who I had been about to invite that had started this whole discussion.

So I wrote back again July 14:
Thanks again for the response. And though I do not want to continue beating a dead horse, I am not convinced we are doing enough in this area. For example, what explains the "at least 30 percent" and how close to 30% will that be. This is important as, for example, the National Science Foundation will not support their people attending meetings if female speakers are at < 33%. I think 30% is, to be honest, just not acceptable in biology. So beofre contributing any more to this series I need to know exactly what is meant by "we are totally committed to the same goals as you in terms of gender balance now and in the future."

For example, here are some questions I would like to know the answers to:
  • Are you committed to achieving gender balance in the speaker series or just saying you are being more even than before?
  • Are you committed to researching and using diverse options to ensure diversity of speakers beyond just focusing on who is invited?
  • Are you interested in understanding why the series has been so undiverse in the past and addressing this directly or just moving forward?
  • Are you willing to address the lack of diversity in the past publicly and also discuss efforts to improve the diversity? 
I would very much like to know more detail about how serious you are to having a diverse series and what you plan to do to achieve this. 
With apologies, but in regard to inviting XXX or XXX. I am sorry but given the past record of this series, which as I said is among the worst I have seen anywhere, I am just not willing to be involved in any way until I see a stronger and more public committment to diversity. 
I am happy to help with the series and to help improve the diversity of speakers. But this should be done openly and publicly and forcefully. And without evidence of this, I am unable and unwilling to be involved.
And, well, I have not heard from them again.  So, I am writing this.  For many reasons.  But a key one is, I think we need to be more public about such issues.  And we just need to fix things that are broken.

So today I decided to make the post live.  I wish I had done this earlier.

Some responses

American Academy of Arts and Sciences – where men choose men to be cheered

So - I saw multiple posts by colleagues on Facebook and Twitter about gender skew in the newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. So I decided to take a look at the list. And it is indeed really skewed. Here is my analysis of gender ratio for mathematical and physical sciences and biological sciences.

Field Male Female
Math and Physical Sciences Totals 32 10
Math 5 1
Physics 6 1
Chemistry 7 1
Astronomy 3 4
Engineering 5 1
CS 5 2
Intersection 1 0
Biology Totals 31 8
Biochemistry 4 2
Cell and Development 7 1
Neuroscience 6 2
Ecovo 7 1
Medical 5 1
Intersection 2 1

More detail below:

CLASS I — Mathematical and Physical Sciences (41)

SECTION 1 — Mathematics (6)
Pavel Etingof
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Leslie Greengard
New York University/Simons Foundation
Janos Kollar
Princeton University
Bryna R. Kra
Northwestern University
Andrei Okounkov
Columbia University
Vladimir Rokhlin
Yale University
SECTION 2 — Physics (7)
Barbara V. Jacak
University of California, Berkeley
Christopher Jarzynski
University of Maryland
Hirosi Ooguri
California Institute of Technology
Roberto D. Peccei
University of California, Los Angeles
Robert J. Schoelkopf
Yale University
Steven R. White
University of California, Irvine
Foreign Honorary Member — Physics
Thibault Damour
Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques
SECTION 3 — Chemistry (8)
Donald Hilvert
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
Jeffery W. Kelly
Scripps Research Institute
Scott J. Miller
Yale University
Melanie S. Sanford
University of Michigan
Isiah M. Warner
Louisiana State University
Michael R. Wasielewski
Northwestern University
Foreign Honorary Members — Chemistry (2)
Hans-Joachim Freund
Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
R. Benny Gerber
Hebrew University of Jerusalem/University of California, Irvine
SECTION 4 — Astronomy and Earth Sciences (7)
Andreas J. Albrecht
University of California, Davis
Joshua A. Frieman
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory/University of Chicago
Jacqueline Hewitt
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Chryssa Kouveliotou
George Washington University
Terry A. Plank
Columbia University
Lisa Tauxe
University of California, San Diego
Foreign Honorary Member — Astronomy and Earth Sciences
Thomas F. Stocker
University of Bern
SECTION 5 — Engineering Sciences and Technologies (6)
Donna Gail Blackmond
Scripps Research Institute
Gerald G. Fuller
Stanford University
Steve Granick
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan, Republic of Korea
Donald E. Ingber
Harvard University/ Boston Children's Hospital
Robert B. Phillips
California Institute of Technology
Peter W. Voorhees
Northwestern University
SECTION 6 — Computer Sciences (6)
Jeffrey A. Dean
Sanjay Ghemawat
Google Incorporated
Anna R. Karlin
University of Washington
Tom M. Mitchell
Carnegie Mellon University
Tal D. Rabin
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
Scott J. Shenker
University of California, Berkeley
Timothy P. Lodge
University of Minnesota

CLASS II — Biological Sciences (38)

SECTION 1 — Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology (6)
Richard H. Ebright
Rutgers University
Lila M. Gierasch
University of Massachusetts
Robert M. Glaeser
University of California, Berkeley/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Adrian R. Krainer
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Lawrence A. Loeb
University of Washington
Eva Nogales
University of California, Berkeley
SECTION 2 — Cellular & Developmental Biology, Microbiology, and Immunology (8)
Keith W.T. Burridge
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mark W. Hochstrasser
Yale University
Michael J. Lichten
National Cancer Institute
Joachim Messing
Rutgers University
Carl F. Nathan
Weill Cornell Medical College
Anne M. Villeneuve
Stanford University
Foreign Honorary Members — Cellular & Developmental Biology, Microbiology, and Immunology (2)
Carl-Henrik Heldin
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research/Uppsala University
Christof Niehrs
Institute of Molecular Biology
SECTION 3 — Neurosciences, Cognitive Sciences, and Behavioral Biology (8)
Michael S. Brainard
University of California, San Francisco
John Gabrieli
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alex L. Kolodkin
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Kelsey C. Martin
University of California, Los Angeles
Bruce R. Rosen
Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital
John L. R. Rubenstein
University of California, San Francisco
Foreign Honorary Members — Neurosciences, Cognitive Sciences, and Behavioral Biology(2)
Tamar Flash
Weizmann Institute of Science
Nancy Y. Ip
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
SECTION 4 — Evolutionary and Population Biology, and Ecology (7)
Farooq Azam
University of California, San Diego
Andrew G. Clark
Cornell University
Douglas J. Emlen
University of Montana
Joel Grant Kingsolver
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mark Alan McPeek
Dartmouth College
Sarah P. Otto
University of British Columbia
Foreign Honorary Member — Evolutionary and Population Biology, and Ecology
Ary A. Hoffmann
University of Melbourne
SECTION 5 — Medical Sciences, Clinical Medicine, and Public Health (6)
John Michael Carethers
University of Michigan Medical School
James R. Downing
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Gary Gilliland
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Beatrice H. Hahn
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Warren J. Leonard
National Institutes of Health
Ralph Weissleder
Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts General Hospital
Steven E. Jacobsen
University of California, Los Angeles
Yang Shi
Harvard Medical School/ Boston Children's Hospital
Foreign Honorary Member — Intersection
Karen H. Vousden
Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, U.K.

Also these cross-field areas are not doing so well (not included in chart or table above).

TOTAL: 213


Benjamin F. Cravatt
The Scripps Research Institute
Robert L. Goldstone
Indiana University
Larry L. Jacoby
Washington University in St. Louis
Jay D. Keasling
University of California, Berkeley/LBNL
Gordon D. Logan
Vanderbilt University
Foreign Honorary Members (5)
Edwin Cameron
Constitutional Court of South Africa
Fergus I.M. Craik
Rotman Research Institute/University of Toronto
Menachem Magidor
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky
State Hermitage Museum/St. Petersburg State University
Shimon Ullman
Weizmann Institute of Science


Robert J. Full
University of California, Berkeley


This pretty much sums up my world view.

"Our World Needs You" from Indexed by Jessica Hagy (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)

“Our World Needs You” from Indexed by Jessica Hagy (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)

Like STEM and STEAM, SHTEAM is a lousy acronym; but it is infinitely preferable to the SHAT ME option.

Filed under: The Art of Science Tagged: Indexed, Jessica Hagy, SHTEAM, steam, STEM

Biological Determinism is False

Disproving sex-based biological determinism in one graph from No Ceilings, with more data on the phenomenon at their website.

Source: No Ceilings

Source: No Ceilings

HT: @Bailiuchan

Filed under: Follies of the Human Condition Tagged: Clinton Foundation, Feminism, Linkonomicon, No Ceilings, STEM

Dear Dr. Hunt: This female scientist has something to say. And it isn’t that she loves you.

By Linette Granen, MT(ASCP)DLM, director, Marketing & Membership, APHL

After reading the comments made by Tim Hunt, the biochemist who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2001 for his work on cell division, I was appalled! His comments about his “trouble with girls” (his words) in laboratories made me look back over my many years in research, academia, public health and clinical laboratories and remember the prejudice and tactless comments I experienced firsthand.

Early in my career, there was my male lab supervisor who, upon seeing me bent over looking for something in a fridge, commented that my jumpsuit was “really attractive.” He clearly wasn’t looking at the jumpsuit!

Dear Dr. Hunt: This female scientist has something to say | www.APHLblog.orgLater, as my family and I were moving to a new city and I was considering several job offers, I asked a male pathologist for his input. He said, “You need to stay home and be a mommy!”

Then there was the time a male company rep tried to sell me a part for a piece of equipment and said, “Being a woman, you can’t understand how it works!” Needless to say, he didn’t get that sale and he never showed up to my university laboratory again. I didn’t stand for that type of treatment.

In my opinion, the most offensive discrimination is when girls are young, vulnerable and easily influenced by someone who should be encouraging them to pursue their interest in science. I’ve seen many girls experience discrimination, including my own daughter. She is both creative and analytical at the same time (both hemispheres of her brain fire all at once), and was in the gifted program in grade school. During a parent-teacher conference, her beloved and highly respected middle school math teacher (a man) told my husband and me, “Lauren doesn’t need to be in this gifted math class—she cannot keep up with the boys.” We were horrified, and even more so when we discovered that he told our daughter that directly. When she aced his final exam, his comment was, “You couldn’t have done that on your own.” Surprisingly (or not), he was removed from his gifted teaching job almost immediately after someone complained. (You know who that was, don’t you?)

Fortunately, my daughter knew her strengths and disregarded that teacher’s discriminatory comments. She went through high school, tested out of 22 course hours in college (including math), was a math tutor for the football team (all men, of course), received a degree in mathematics and ultimately a master’s in biostatistics. She is very successful in her science career, despite not being able to “keep up with the boys.”

So, Dr. Hunt, after all these years in science, I can truly say that no bouts of crying or lab love affairs (really?) have gotten in my way. I am still a scientist and so are both of my daughters. Despite the few people like you who think we can’t handle science because of our gender, we can and we have – and we hope to inspire the next generation to do the same.

The Missing, Female History of STEM

Chief Technology Officer of the United States Megan Smith discusses the problems of erasing women from the history of science and technology with Charlie Rose. It is not that the historical role models for young women don’t exist. It is that we actively expunge them from our narratives.
As Rose suggests with a question, it is hard to imagine how this practice actually benefits anyone – other than an intellectually lazy adherence to our standard, male-centric narrative.

HT: Caroline Siede at BoingBoing.

Filed under: Follies of the Human Condition Tagged: Charlie Rose, Feminism, Linkonomicon, Megan Smith, STEM

Marketing is ready for STEM Women of Color

Barbie dolls are not real people. The pictures of actors and models in magazines are barely real people (thanks to Photoshop). The actress in this car commercial is not a real scientist.


It does, however, show anyone watching commercials during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament a stylish woman of color driving a nice car and doing complex-looking mathematics* in her head.

It shows someone who is not white, not male, not bearded, not with crazy hair, not with disheveled clothes, not with sub-par social skills doing complex-looking mathematics* in her head.

As we increasingly recognize that recruiting and retaining a diverse STEM workforce requires presenting individuals in that field with whom they can identify, we have a car company showing us that. This actress may not be a real scientist, but my four-year-old daughter won’t know that her concepts of who can be a scientist will have been expanded positively by a commercial while Daddy watched Duke play basketball on TV.

*I do not have the gift for going “oh, that is X equation” on sight. So, I will leave it up to you, dear readers, to evaluate the actual complexity and accuracy of the mathematical imagery.

Filed under: Follies of the Human Condition Tagged: advertising, Feminism, marketing, racism, science, Sexism, STEM, women

Coop’s Scoop: the STEAM of citizen science

Last week the Citizen Science Association held its first conference ever, with 600 people attending from 25 countries. Topics covered in talks, posters, panels, and stories, ranged from do-it-yourself projects to the technical aspects of managing data crowd-sourced in large-scale … Continue reading »

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