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ABRCMS365: Career & Research Summit

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

  • 2:00-3:30 pm ET | Career Panel
  • 3:30-5:30 pm ET | Graduate Student
    Research Lightning Talks

Thursday, January 25, 2024

  • 2:00-3:30 pm ET | Career Panel
  • 3:30-5:30 pm ET | Graduate Student
    Research Lightning Talks

Cost: FREE


Are you interested in the current state of STEM careers & research?

Identifying areas of opportunity and adopting strategies to meet the needs of the current landscape in STEM requires maintaining a diligent focus on current research and viable pathways. The ABRCMS365: Career & Research Summit is an exciting 2-day virtual experience that combines:

  • Career Panels: Conversations with current STEM professionals about their jobs and career paths.
  • Scientific Lightning Talks: STEM Graduate student presentations on their latest research and breakthroughs. 

The event will provide an opportunity for attendees to grow their knowledge of the current state of STEM careers & research and how scientists from a variety of backgrounds have navigated challenges and opportunities. Free to all who attend, this summit is for anyone interested in keeping up with current STEM research and careers while supporting minoritized scientists in their pursuits.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Career Panel (2:00-3:30 pm ET)

 Toyin Ajisafe

Toyin Ajisafe, Ph.D.
Program Officer, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Toyin Ajisafe, Ph.D., is a program officer at the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) within the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Dr. Ajisafe manages a portfolio focused on movement biomechanics for people with disabilities (PWDs), health disparities for PWDs, and pediatric rehabilitation. Prior to joining NCMRR, Dr. Ajisafe was a tenured associate professor of kinesiology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where he studied locomotor barriers in children.

 Tiffani Bright

Tiffani J. Bright, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Tiffani J. Bright is an Assistant Professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the Department of Computational Biomedicine and Co-Director of the Center for Artificial Intelligence Research and Education. Her research interests include artificial intelligence, algorithmic bias, and human-computer interaction in healthcare settings. Dr. Bright earned her PhD in Biomedical Informatics from Columbia University and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Duke University. Notably, she is the first Black woman to earn a doctorate in this field in the U.S.; she is also the first from Columbia University.

 Julia Omatade

Julia Omotade, Ph.D.
Senior Science Policy Specialist, Association of American Medical Colleges

Julia Omotade is a cellular and molecular neuroscientist and Senior Science Policy Specialist at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). In this role, Dr. Omotade tackles our nation's biomedical policy issues, including gender equity and parity in the biomedical workforce; diversity, equity and inclusion of the US biomedical workforce; and new, national and regional research initiatives.

 Rosa Veguilla

Rosa Veguilla, Ph.D.
Director, Science Communication Lab

Rosa Veguilla grew up in Puerto Rico, surrounded by the melodic coquí frogs and beach vacations. She holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. in MCB from Harvard. Passionate about science and education, she has served as faculty at Harvard. Currently, as a Director at Science Communication Lab, Dr. Veguilla draws from her background to create educational resources, focusing on career transitions and equity in science education, aiming to empower students to excel in their scientific journeys.

Scientific Lightning Talks (3:30-5:30 pm ET)

Melvin Mensah Bonsu

Melvin Mensah-Bonsu, Doctoral Candidate
North Carolina A&T State University

Scientific Discipline: Computational and Systems Biology, Bioinformatics


Erin Richardson, Doctoral Candidate
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health and Sciences Center

Scientific Discipline: Microbiology, Parasitology

Celeste Huaman

Celeste Huaman, Doctoral Candidate
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Scientific Discipline: Immunology, Host Responses

Alexia Crockett

Alexia M. Crockett, Doctoral Candidate
Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience, University of South Carolina School of Medicine

Scientific Discipline: Neuroscience

Manuel Ramirez

Manuel Ramirez, Doctoral Candidate
Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

Scientific Discipline: Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Health, Psychology

Christopher Luthers

Christopher Luthers, Doctoral Candidate
Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Program, University of California, Los Angeles

Scientific Discipline: Immunology

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Career Panel (2:00-3:30 pm ET)

 Shereka Banton

Shereka Banton, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Regulatory Affairs, Johnson & Johnson

Dr. Shereka Banton is an Associate Director in Regulatory Affairs at Johnson & Johnson, a multinational pharmaceutical and medical technology company. She oversees the commercial regulatory affairs activities for J&J’s surgical medical devices that are distributed worldwide. Dr. Banton earned her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Georgia Tech, where she conducted research on sickle cell disease and pursued her policy interests as a CSPC Presidential Fellow and science policy intern at the National Science Foundation.

 Phil Brooks

Phil Brooks, Ph.D.
Principal Software Product Manager, Genentech

Phil Brooks is a Principal Software Product Manager whose journey began with a passion for unraveling the mysteries of the gut microbiome's role in pathogen-mediated diseases during his Ph.D. at Michigan State University in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology. His career blossomed with the NIH Data Commons project, where he worked on a groundbreaking cloud migration initiative for biomedical data, igniting a transformative leap in healthcare innovation.

 Orlando Lopez

Orlando Lopez, Ph.D.
Program Officer and Small Business Coordinator, NIDCR/NIH

Dr. Orlando Lopez is a biomedical engineer with more than 15 years leading the translation of transformative medical innovations to human use and commercialization. He serves as Director of the Dental Materials and Biomaterials Program and Coordinator of the Small Business Program at NIDCR providing scientific leadership and strategic vision to a national agenda in basic science and translational research on biomaterials, biosensing and digital technologies addressing unmet clinical needs in dental, oral, and craniofacial conditions.


 Veronica Segarra

Veronica A. Segarra, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Endowed Chair of Biological Sciences and Chemistry, Goucher College

Verónica Segarra is Associate Professor, Faculty in Residence, and Endowed Chair in Biological Sciences and Chemistry at Goucher College, a small liberal arts college in Baltimore, Maryland, where she teaches undergraduates to be life scientists in the classroom and the research lab. Verónica obtained a doctorate in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale and obtained her undergraduate degrees from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL.

Verónica was born in Puerto Rico, where she was raised by amazing women. She tries to take her inspiration from them in her roles as a teacher, mentor, and scientist. Her favorite part of her job is to see her students carve out careers that are tailored to their passions, talents, and values. In her free time, she pursues her artistic interests and engages in science outreach.


Scientific Lightning Talks (3:30-5:30 pm ET)

Charlene Mansour

Charlene Mansour, Medical Student
Department of Epidemiology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Scientific Discipline: Cancer Biology

Howard Nicholson III

Howard Nicholson, Doctoral Candidate
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University

Scientific Discipline: Engineering, Physics and Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering

Jazzmin Owens

Jazzmin Owens, Doctoral Student
Department of Biology, Clark Atlanta University

Scientific Discipline: Cell Biology

Akorede Seriki

Akorede Seriki, Doctoral Candidate
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho

Scientific Discipline: Microbiology c) Microbial Physiology

Preston Siegler

Preston Siegler, Ph.D. Candidate
UNC Neuroscience Center and NIEHS Synaptic Plasticity and Development Group

Scientific Discipline: Neuroscience, Neurobiology

Robert Hall

Robert Hall, Ph.D. Student
Department of Biology, Stanford University

Scientific Discipline: Developmental Biology and Genetics, Evolution and Developmental Biology

Additional Info

  • Presentation Date: Tuesday, 23 January 2024

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