What Do You Need? Challenges and Solutions for Individual Scientists

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.

We hope you will join us for these three important sessions. 

Session leaders:


Mary Munson, University of Massachusetts

Mary Munson is a Professor and Vice Chair for Diversity in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology Department at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, where her highly collaborative and multidisciplinary lab studies molecular mechanisms of membrane trafficking. In addition to many leadership and DEI activities at UMass Chan, she is currently the co-chair of the ASCB’s Women in Cell Biology (WICB) committee and a co-investigator of the ASCB’s AMP MOSAIC program.



Julia Omotade, Association of American Medical Colleges

Julia Omotade is a cellular and molecular neuroscientist by training and a senior science policy specialist at the Association of American Medical Colleges. At the AAMC, Julia tackles our nation’s top biomedical policy issues including diversity in the scientific workforce, gender parity and equity in STEMM, national science initiatives, and artificial intelligence. She is also a member of the ASCB’s WICB committee.



Sharon Milgram, Director, Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE)

Sharon Milgram received a BS degree in Physical Therapy from Temple University & a PhD in Cell Biology from Emory University. She completed postdoctoral training at The Johns Hopkins University before joining the faculty at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There, she rose to the rank of Full Professor in the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology. Dr. Milgram served as the Associate Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program, Director of the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, & the Director of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience. In 2007 she joined the NIH Office of the Director as the Director of the Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) where she directs a trans-NIH Office dedicated to the career advancement of over 5000 trainees. Dr. Milgram lectures widely on science careers, mentorship, leadership, management, wellness, & resilience in research environments. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her wife & son.


Wendy Marie Ingram, CEO and Co-founder, Dragonfly Mental Health

Wendy Marie Ingram is the CEO and cofounder of Dragonfly Mental Health, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating excellent mental health among academics worldwide. She is the Chair of the American Medical Informatics Association’s Mental Health Informatics Working Group and has specialized in brain and behavior research for 20 years, from biochemistry to psychiatric epidemiology.


Karey M. Sutton, Scientific Director, MedStar Health Research Institute (MHRI)

Karey M. Sutton is the scientific director for health equity research for the MedStar Health Research Institute (MHRI). She is responsible for advancing the overall strategy and growth of the system’s health equity research initiatives which seek to investigate health disparities, structural inequities, and social determinants of health in patient safety, patient engagement, digital health, diagnostics, and chronic disease management, and more.


Chrissy Stachl, Founder and CEO, Reflecting Equity

Chrissy Stachl earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, where she developed methods to understand and address the issues that negatively affect diversity, inclusion, and belonging within graduate communities. She is now the founder and CEO of Reflecting Equity, a consulting company dedicated to helping communities foster inclusion and develop equitable policies and practices.


Avital Rodal, Associate Professor of Biology, Brandeis University

Avital Rodal grew up in Ottawa, Canada, and did her undergraduate studies at MIT, her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and her postdoctoral work back at MIT. She is currently an Associate Professor of Biology at Brandeis University, where her lab studies endocytic and endosomal membrane traffic in neurons. Outside of the lab, she enjoys gardening, hanging out with her dogs and teenage kids, and getting running and cycling tips from her husband.


We hope you will join us for these three important sessions. 

June 22
1pm – 3 pm EDT
How Institutions Can Make a Difference: Rethinking Job Applications, Promotions/tenure, and Careers
Session leaders: Iain Cheeseman and Diane Barber

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


Starts: May 16, 2022 3:00 pm EDT

Ends: May 16, 2022 5:00 pm EDT