Elsevier and 500 Queer Scientists to hold NYC event for World Pride

Six members of the LGBTQI community will talk about how their experiences in science and academia have shaped their outlook on work, life and society

Manhattan skyline during Pride Weekend. (Photo © istock.com/Ultima_Gaina)

Alex Moore, PhDDiversity is essential for science to truly benefit society. As Dr. Alex Moore, an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, states:

We are in a time punctuated by significant environmental change and social injustice, with problems spanning every known spectrum. Such diverse challenges require diverse solutions, and these can only be generated by embracing diversity in all its forms.

Alex is one of six scientists in the LGBTQI community who will speak at a free event co-organized by Elsevier Pride and 500 Queer Scientists Tuesday evening in New York City. They will share stories about how their experiences in science and academia have shaped their outlook on work, life and our society.

The 500 Queer Scientists initiative, launched in June 2018, highlights the need for increased visibility of LGBTQI scientists in academia. The issues are complex, but visibility and role models are part of the solution.

This event will feature LGBTQI scientists who have successfully followed a career path in academia while being out in the lab and to their peers. The conversation aims to provoke positive debate and help promote science and academia as an inclusive, forward-thinking, and viable career path for bright young queer minds.

How to attend

We invite you to join us for An Evening with 500 Queer Scientists, Elsevier, and Cell, 6-9 pm Tuesday, June 25, at Black Door, 127 West 26th Street in Chelsea. Admission is free. You can register here.

Meet the speakers

John Pham, Editor-in-Chief, Cell

John Pham, PhDDr. John Pham earned his BS from Bates College in Music and Biochemistry. He worked as an analytical chemist for several years before returning to school to pursue his doctorate at Northwestern University, where he worked with Dr. Erik Sontheimer on the mechanisms of RNA silencing and RNA splicing. He did post-doctoral work at the Harvard Medical School before joining Elsevier's Cell Press in 2008 as an assistant editor on the Molecular Cell team.

John became the Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Cell in 2012, working with the team to expand the journal’s scope and implement new policies and approaches aimed at improving peer review and reproducibility. Last year, John became the fourth Editor-in-Chief of Cell Press’s flagship journal, Cell.

Edgardo Sanabria-Valentin, Associate Director of the Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math, John Jay College

Edgardo Sanabria-Valentin, PhDDr. Edgardo Sanabria-Valentin writes: "I am gay and I am a microbiologist and higher-education professional.

"I'm the Associate Director of the Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math (PRISM) at John Jay College of the City University of New York (CUNY). I received a BS in Industrial Microbiology from Universidad de Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, where I was a MARC U*STAR Scholar. I completed my PhD at New York University. While at NYU, I was the Co-Chair and founding member of the NYC Minority Graduate Student Network, an organization dedicated to providing professional resources to minority scientists-in-training in the city of New York.

"After a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard followed by years of working in the biotechnology industry in Boston, I returned to higher education at John Jay."

Ruthie Birger, Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University

Ruthie Birger, PhDDr. Ruthie Birger writes: "I am queer and I am a postdoc in infectious disease modeling.

"I am a postdoctoral researcher at Yale School of Public Health, and my research focuses on using mathematical models to better understand and control the spread of infectious disease. My background is in applied mathematics and ecology and evolutionary biology, and I am particularly interested in dynamics of diseases across scales, and the growing threat of drug resistance.

"I am a native New Yorker, and when I’m not behind the computer, I enjoy dance, opera and weird artsy cultural stuff, and I run a discussion group on gender, sexuality, and media for women, nonbinary and trans individuals."

Leah Reilly, Veterinarian

Leah Reilly, DVMDr. Leah Reilly writes: "I am queer, non-binary, trans and I am a veterinarian.

"I studied evolutionary biology and then worked in research for about 10 years before going back to school for vet med — the childhood dream. A lack of role models and a fear of not being taken seriously were deterrents for a long time, but the trans visibility provided by social media finally sank in and allowed me to imagine myself in this type of public-facing professional role. The vast majority of clients and coworkers have been wonderful, and all pets are allies. I feel very lucky."

Alex Moore, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow

Alex Moore, PhDDr. Alex Moore writes: "I am queer and I am a community and ecosystem ecologist.

"I am an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow and I study how predator-prey interactions and the cultural values of local communities influence ecosystem health in tropical coastal wetlands to help inform their conservation and restoration.

"We are in a time punctuated by significant environmental change and social injustice, with problems spanning every known spectrum. Such diverse challenges require diverse solutions, and these can only be generated by embracing diversity in all its forms. Being a queer person of color has always been a salient part of my identity and it’s important that I consistently bring these parts of myself into every space that I enter. Yet giving diversity a seat at the table only matters if it is also given equal voice and power – in my work, I create space for diversity to heard, respected, and valued."

Gregory Youdan (Moderator), PhD student and Lecturer in at in Kinesiology Columbia University

Gregory Youdan Dr. Gregory Youdan writes: "I am gay and I am a movement scientist.

"I am a PhD student and lecturer in Kinesiology at Teachers College, Columbia University, specializing in motor learning and control. I am a first generation Latinx college student. I work as the lab manager of the Neurohabilitation Research Lab focusing on exercise interventions to improve motor function in neurodegenerative populations. My research centers on the interaction of musculoskeletal biomechanics and neuromotor control with an emphasis on balance and gait. Prior to becoming a scientist, I enjoyed a career as a professional modern dancer, touring both internationally and domestically.

I spent much of my dance career working with dance and disability with Heidi Latsky Dance, a physically-integrated dance company focused on promoting diversity.

I live in New York City with my fiancée and our cats. I hope that by promoting visibility we can serve as role models to LGBTQ+ youth."

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