How Institutions Can Make a Difference: Rethinking Job Applications, Promotions/tenure, and Careers

You don’t have to wait until the annual meeting in December to hang out and talk with ASCB’s Women in Cell Biology (WICB) committee!

We decided this year that it would be important to get together virtually to chat about challenges we’ve faced over the last few years and the changes they have brought to our personal and professional lives. We have all been contending with many COVID-related disruptions to our families, careers, physical and mental health, as well as dealing with gender and racial inequities that have been further exacerbated by the pandemic. Therefore, we are hosting a short series of virtual panel discussions, to be held throughout the next few months.

The overall theme is “Navigating Science, Life, and Careers in a (Post) COVID World” 

Our plan is to bring together panelists from different backgrounds and career paths to share their insights and discuss best practices for our communities to move forward in productive and healthy ways. We will provide opportunities for facilitated discussions of different topics and networking between participants and panelists. Each session is planned for 2 hours with a panel discussion and Q&A for the first ~45-60 minutes. This will be followed by facilitated breakout rooms on different topics to allow attendees to have a more focused discussion and networking time and strategize about ideas for best practices (~20 min). We will then reconvene to summarize breakout room discussions and wrap up.

This panel discussion will focus on the current situations and challenges related to job applications, promotions, careers, and retention in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, focusing particularly on the policies and best practices from institutions that can make a positive difference. We will bring together leaders with diverse perspectives and experiences in research evaluation and careers. We also look forward to a constructive discussion with researchers across career stages for considering the impacts and solutions for individuals.


Iain Cheeseman, Professor, MIT

Iain Cheeseman, PhD is a member of the Whitehead Institute and a Professor of Biology at MIT. The work in the Cheeseman lab focuses on cell division and chromosome segregation, and how these core cellular processes are rewired across diverse physiological conditions. In addition to loving all things cell biology, Iain is invested in ensuring that everyone can thrive and succeed in science and creating a positive, constructive, and inclusive scientific community and environment.

Diane Barber, Endowed Professor, UCSF

Diane Barber, PhD is an Endowed Professor and Chair in the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology at UCSF. She received mentoring awards from the UCSF Postdoctoral Scholars and the UCSF School of Dentistry students, and has been an active member of WICB, including past chair, for more than 10 years. She maintains a research program on how changes in cytosolic and organelle pH regulate cell behaviors and has had more than 30 graduate student and postdoctoral trainees who transitioned to academic and industry research and leadership careers.



Beverly Wendland, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, Washington University

Beverly Wendland, PhD is the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Washington University in St. Louis serving as the chief academic officer of WashU. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Wendland served as Dean of the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Since assuming her role as Provost in 2020, Dr. Wendland has worked to provide critical leadership throughout the pandemic, oversee a major cluster hire on race and ethnicity, and lead the university in a strategic planning process.

D’Anne Duncan, Assistant Dean, UCSF

D’Anne Duncan, PhD is UCSF’s first Assistant Dean for Diversity and Learner Success in the Graduate Division and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She has advocated for and worked closely with students to advance institutional change at UCSF since 2017. Dr. Duncan’s research at UCSF transforms the student experience, with an emphasis on supporting graduate students from historically marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds, through institutional interventions founded upon personal and professional identity alignment, and principles of mentorship and community building and belonging. In 2020-21, Dr. Duncan conceived of, designed, and launched the first-ever Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Academic Leadership course, aimed at educating and training students on the value and implications of centering diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in education and research. Dr. Duncan earned her PhD in Neuroscience from Northwestern University and pursued her postdoctoral training in visual neuroscience at Vanderbilt University.

Ruth Schmidt, Associate Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology

Ruth Schmidt, PhD is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Design (ID) at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Dr. Schmidt’s research sits at the intersection of behavioral science, humanity-centered design, and complex systems. Her work focuses on addressing private sector and public policy behavioral challenges more systematically through applied insights and conceptual models that explore the infrastructural conditions for behavior, with the goal of developing solutions that increase equity and access.

Joanne Kamens, Senior Consultant, The Impact Seat

Joanne Kamens received her PhD from Harvard Medical School in Genetics. She is a Senior Consultant at The Impact Seat, a consulting firm that helps organizations develop and maintain equitable and inclusive cultures that are rich in diversity. Dr. Kamens has had a varied career in academia, pharma, biotech and nonprofit. For a decade she was Executive Director of the nonprofit biotech, Addgene and was Interim Executive Director of the Bentley University Center for Women and Business. She has been advancing diversity and inclusion for decades including as founder of the Boston chapter of the Association for Women in Science (MASS AWIS) and currently serves on the AWIS National Board of Directors. She consults and speaks widely on topics such as Science Careers, Culture Roadmaps for Start-ups, Implicit Bias, Management Excellence, and Making the most of Mentoring Relationships. You can find her @jkamens on Twitter or on LinkedIn.


We hope you will join us for this important session 

July 19
1 pm – 3 pm EDT
Pandemic Lessons for Research Funding
Session leader: Brittany Belin


Starts: June 22, 2022 1:00 pm EDT

Ends: June 22, 2022 3:00 pm EDT