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Black representation in science – a Twitter chat #FSGForBHM21

In collaboration with Future Science Group, BioTechniques is hosting a Twitter chat focusing on the themes of Black representation, identity and diversity in science in honor of the US Black History Month.

Please join us for an honest discussion of the issues faced by Black people in scientific spaces, from academia to industry. What are some of the key factors limiting the representation of Black people in science? What pressures and stresses do Black people face within these spaces? What is being done to improve representation and what more can the establishment and individuals do to help?

Join our fantastic panel of representatives from the Black community working and studying in industry and academia, to discuss these questions and more on
Wednesday 17th of February 8am PST | 11am EST | 4pm GMT



Meet our #FSGForBHM21 panelists:


Dr. Esther Odekunle | Senior Scientist, Antigen Engineer at GlaxoSmithKline (London, UK)| @EstOdek

Dr. Odekunle received a BSc in biochemistry, a PhD in neurobiology, and currently holds a position as an antibody engineer at the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in the UK. Her work focuses on improving the developability profile of antibodies as potential therapeutics. Outside of her work, she is best known for using social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to communicate science and advocate for diverse representation and inclusivity in the science community. This effort has since extended to written opinion pieces in scientific journals, as well as features in a published book, podcasts, and blogs.

Dr Nii Addy | Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale School of Medicine (CT, USA) | @DrNiiAddy

Dr. Addy received his BS in biology from Duke University (NC, USA) and his PhD in neuroscience from Yale University. He directs a federally funded research program investigating the neurobiological bases of substance use disorders, depression and anxiety. He serves on the journal editorial board of Neuropsychopharmacology, Biological PsychiatryNicotine & Tobacco Research, and Neuropharmacology. Addy also contributes to graduate student and postdoctoral training, faculty mentoring, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs and initiatives through his work on campus and his work in professional scientific societies.

Nathasia Mudiwa Muwanigwa | PhD candidate in Neurobiology at the University of Luxembourg | @Tasia1409

Muwanigwa’s research is based on using advanced 3D stem cell models to find new molecular pathways to treat Parkinson’s disease. She is the co-founder of Visibility STEM Africa, a platform that provides the opportunity for Africans to tell their STEM stories and in the process change the narrative surrounding African contributions to the STEM fields. Through Visibility STEM Africa, she also aims to raise awareness about issues such as mental health within African communities.

Dr. Sara Suliman | Instructor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (MA, USA)| @SaraSuliman13

Dr. Suliman obtained a PhD in Immunology from the University of Toronto, Canada in 2012, and then worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the South African TB Vaccine Initiative at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her research background is in both basic and clinical immunology and she has extensive experience in biomarker discovery and clinical trials of candidate TB vaccines. She joined the TBRU-LIMAA project at the end of 2016 to work on delineating the role of vitamin A deficiency in DC maturation and TB susceptibility, as well as developing TCR-based immunodiagnostics for TB disease before becoming an Instructor in Medicine, Immunobiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2019.

Dr. Geoffrey Siwo | Research Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame (IN, USA) | @gsiwo

Dr. Siwo is currently a research assistant professor at the Center for Research Computing and the Eck Institute for Global Health, University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on accelerated and equitable innovation using emerging computational technologies such as artificial intelligence, gene editing technologies and frameworks for scientific discovery at a global scale such as open innovation challenges. Previously, he was a lead researcher at IBM Research Africa.

Yannick Yalipende | Masters student at University College London (UK) | @yyalipende

Yalipende is currently working as a Clinical Associate Psychologist in the NHS and is also completing an MSc in Applied Neuropsychology. He has worked in various adult and child inpatient and community mental health settings. Yalipende’s lived experience with mental ill-health during his undergraduate degree sparked his interest to research and work towards reducing mental health inequality. He is also the Founding Director of Black People Talk (BPT); an initiative he co-developed to support the mental health of the UK’s Black community through psychoeducational and therapeutic peer support groups. BPT has been sponsored and endorsed by multiple organizations and featured in BACP’s magazine ‘Therapy Today’ for its efficacy and novel approach to peer support.