Diversity in Life Science Programs
Existing organizational structures which support the organization-wide initiative to enhance participation by scientists who are U.S. citizens and members of underrepresented groups (African American, Hispanic American or Latin American, Native American or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander) and women at Keystone Symposia and in the broader life sciences community are as follows:
: A 15-member body comprised of world-renowned scientists.
: A 70-member body comprised of academic, government and industry scientists from across the United States and other nations.
Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC): A body of established, prominent scientists from academic institutions such as Howard University, Syracuse University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of New Mexico, and Northwestern University. Industry representatives are also DAC members (Biogen) as well as representatives from science-based non-profits such as the Coalition for Enhancing Diversity in Science (CEDS), Broad Institute, Siemens Foundation, and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF); the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), are also represented. DAC members provide the Director of the Diversity in Life Science Programs (DLSP) portfolio with knowledge, expertise and insight as Keystone Symposia continues to develop strategies and initiatives which foster and result in greater diversity both within the attendee and speaker populations at our meetings.
Diversity Advisory Committee 2015-2017; 2017-2019
Dr. Howard Adams, H. G. Adams & Associates
Dr. Anastacia Berzat Awad, Associate Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Novartis Institutes of
Dr. Jabbar Bennett, Associate Provost, Diversity and Inclusion Associate Professor of Medicine
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
Dr. Bruce Birren, Founding Advisor to Broad's Diversity Initiative in Scientific Research
Dr. Lydia Contreras, Assistant Professor, McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering,
University of Texas at Austin (Former Keystone Symposia Fellow, Class of 2011)
Ms. Eboney Hearn, Assistant Dean for Graduate Education, Diversity Initiatives, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT)
Dr. A. James Hicks, Program Director, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation
(LSAMP), National Science Foundation (NSF)
Dr. Harlan Jones, Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics,
University of North Texas Health Science Center
Ms. Marlene Kaplan, Deputy Director of Education, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Dr. Rick Kittles, Director, Division of Population Genetics, Center for Applied Genetics
and Genomic Medicine, University of Arizona Health Sciences
Dr. George Langford, Professor, Biology and Dean Emeritus of the College of Arts and
Sciences, Syracuse University
Dr. Kelly Mack, Vice President and Executive Director, Project Kaleidoscope, Office of
Undergraduate Science Education (PKAL/STEM), American Association of Colleges &
Ms. Angela Sharpe, Director, Coalition for Enhancing Diversity in Science (CEDS), Consortium
of Social Science Associations (COSSA)
Mr. Rolly Simpson, Senior Program Officer, Biomedical Sciences; Reproductive Sciences,
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Dr. David Vigerust, Chief Scientific Officer, MyGenetx
Dr. Nancy Hurtado-Ziola, Co-Director, IMSD Program, Department of Biology, University of
Dr. Irelene Ricks, Keystone Symposia's Director of Diversity in Life Science Programs, has been working in broadening participation of underrepresented (UR) scientists for more than two decades. Her professional development of UR scientists includes leadership roles at the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), the Biotechnology Institute, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Before coming to Keystone Symposia, Dr. Ricks was program advisor for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) where she lead a team of AASCU members on the Health Research and Education Task Force to develop closer funding relationships with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). She has published articles on affirmative action in higher education and the role of industry in supporting STEM education and research for postsecondary institutions.
Dr. Thale Jarvis, Keystone Symposia's Chief Scientific Officer, is involved with all of the organization's diversity initiatives. Her training is in Chemistry and Biophysics and her distinguished career includes over 25 years in drug discovery and development. Her work has particularly focused on infectious diseases but has spanned a range of other therapeutic areas including cancer, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. She has contributed to multiple IND and NDA filings with the US FDA, has authored over 40 publications and has been an inventor on 13 issued patents.