Cell & Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering T32 Exploring Transgender Roles in Science

   Late this semester, the Cell & Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering (CBTP) T32 Training Program is taking a progressive and thought-provoking approach to training their scholars and trainees. In an effort to foster interdisciplinary learning and promote diversity and inclusivity, the program has launched a book club centered around "The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist", written by groundbreaking neurobiologist Ben Barres. 

   The book offers insights into the personal experiences of a transgender person navigating the scientific realm. It highlights the hurdles, discrimination, and triumphs Barres faced, giving readers an opportunity to develop empathy and understanding for the transgender community's struggles. By discussing these experiences within the book club, participants can strengthen their ability to approach science with empathy and work towards equitable scientific environments for all. Ben Barres sadly died in 2017 at age 63 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, and his book was published posthumously. He is widely acknowledged as the very first openly transgender scientist.

   The Cell & Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering T32 Program's book club centered on "The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist" is a valuable initiative. By selecting literature that addresses important social issues and promotes understanding and empathy, the program is creating an environment that is not only academically enriching but also socially responsible. This book club serves as a springboard for discussions on diversity, inclusivity, and equity in scientific research and education, allowing trainees and scholars to become better equipped to promote positive change within their scientific careers.

Behavioral & Biomedical Sciences and Cell & Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering T32's Team Up to Present Emily Calandrelli at Annual Symposium

The Behavorial & Biomedical Sciences and the Cell & Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering T32's recently hosted a joint symposium at the Erickson Alumni Center. The event's theme was communication of science and featured student poster presentations, professional development workshops, and panel discussions around the topic.

The keynote speaker was none other than WVU alumna and public figure, engineer Emily Calandrelli. Emily formerly worked for MIT, but now is the host and executive producer of Xploration Outer Space and Emily's Wonder Lab, a favorite among children.

Student Kathryn Blethen was on the planning committee for the event and was thrilled at the turnout and excited to discuss the topic. She said, 'The selected topic of "Science Communication: Effectively Communicating Research and Increasing Science Literacy' felt important post-pandemic due to the rapid spread of misinformation and the public distrust in scientists. It is our responsibility as scientists to improve accessibility and inclusivity because effective science communication benefits everyone. It was an honor to serve on the planning committee and moderate the fantastic discussion panel with Emily Calandrelli, Dr. Danielle Davidov, Dr. Catherine Gouge, and Dr. Dan Totzkay."

Single training programs often hold their own symposiums, but this broader topic in science was relatable at an interdisciplinary level. All of the T32 training programs will continue to host and partner on a variety of events that focus on training, professional development and and cross-disciplinary topics.

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) T32 program (T32 GM133369)

Research Forrest