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Scientific Keynote: Javier Irazoqui, PhD

Associate Professor of Microbiology and Physiological Systems Department, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Dr. Irazoqui graduated from the University of Rosario, Argentina, in 1998. He obtained his PhD in Cell Biology at Duke University in 2003, under direction of Dr. Danny Lew. After postdoctoral training with Dr. Fred Ausubel at Harvard Medical School, he established his independent laboratory first at Massachusetts General Hospital, and in 2016 at UMass Medical School, where he continues to elucidate fundamental mechanisms of host-microbe interactions.

Science Advocacy Keynote: Sonia Zárate, Ph.D.

Program Officer for Undergraduate and Graduate Science Education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Sonia Zárate received her BS in Biology from Cal Poly Pomona and her PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from UC Riverside. Dr. Zárate’s long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM, both in the public and private sectors, includes her work as President Elect for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). For 45 years SACNAS has been leading national efforts to diversify the STEM enterprise and in her role with the Society, Dr. Zárate will work towards fulfilling the SACNAS vision of “true diversity in STEM”.

Maryanna Aldrich, Ph.D.

Director of Brandeis University DivSci Graduate Affairs Office

Maryanna received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry from Brown University in 2012. Since 2014, she has worked at Brandeis in the Division of Science overseeing the Graduate Affairs Office for the Division. This office provides administrative oversight, including coordinating admissions, for eight graduate disciplines in the sciences. 

Bruce Birren, Ph.D.

Director of the Genomic Center for Infectious Diseases, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Adán Colón-Carmona, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology- Cell, Genetics and Molecular Biology of Plants, University of Massachusetts Boston

Plant biologist, science mentor and advisor, advocate in promoting diversity in the sciences, dedicated to social change in higher education as a vehicle to improving peoples’ lives. Associate Professor of Biology, and co-director of the UMass Boston Initiative for Maximizing Student Development and U54 UMass Boston-Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Partnership. 

Cynthia N. Fuhrmann, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean of Career & Professional Development in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Career Development Session: Maximizing your skills 

Elizabeth Jakob, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology and Associate Dean of the Graduate School, UMass Amherst

Beth Jakob is a professor of Biology and the Associate Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She runs the UMass Mentoring Initiative to help faculty, graduate students, and postdocs develop more effective mentoring relationships, and facilitates the well-regarded curriculum developed by the National Research Mentoring Network.

Daniel Jay, Ph.D,

Professor of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology, Tufts University

Dan Jay is the Dean of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University where it is his mission to train Sackler students for leadership and excellence across the Biomedical workforce. He is a professor of Developmental, Molecular and Chemical Biology and works on breast cancer invasion and is active at the art science interface and serves as an adjunct professor of drawing and painting at the school of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Robert Layne, MEd

Assistant Dean for Outreach Programs, University of Massachusetts Medical School

As Assistant Dean, Layne oversees three of the major Pre-Matriculation Programs at UMMS that aim to increase the diversity within the biomedical research, biotechnology and the healthcare professions (BBHP). He is responsible for strengthening the linkages among the Worcester Pipeline Collaborative (WPC) partners including: UMMS, UMass Memorial Medical Center, the Worcester Public Schools (K-12), other WPC partner institutions and the community. 


Layne is also responsible for managing the High School Health Careers Program for Massachusetts high school sophomores and juniors and the Summer Enrichment Program for college sophomores and juniors who are Massachusetts residents.

Ana Luisa Maldonado-Contreras, Ph.D

Instructor, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Professional Development Session: Community Outreach 

Morgan Thompson, Ph.D.

Consultant, Science & Social Justice Project; Kalamazoo College & Harvard Medical School

Morgan was drawn to science by the curiosity and awe she found exploring nature in suburban Detroit backyards and on camping trips in the Great Lakes region of the US and Canada. She received her Bachelors degree in Biological Sciences from Wayne State University and her Ph.D. in Genetics at Harvard Medical School (HMS). At Harvard, Morgan led the expansion and national dissemination of the graduate student organization, Science in the News (SITN). She served on the Public Outreach Committee of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and was a member of the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) and Voice of Young Science USA networks. Morgan is currently a Lecturer at HMS and Acting Director of the Science and Social Justice Project – an initiative that champions integration of social justice into science education and research.

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