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GMI Researchers Receive Awards Promoting Diversity in Science

Dr. Cheng and Ms. Castrillon Lal received the Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study, and Dr. Smith received the MOSAIC Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity.

07/22/2021



Feixiong Cheng, PhD, and Jessica Castrillon Lal, an adviser-graduate student pair, and Iris Nira Smith, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Charis Eng, MD, PhD, recently received awards to advance diversity and inclusion in science.



Dr. Cheng and Ms. Castrillon Lal were awarded the Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study from Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The Gilliam program seeks to increase diversity and inclusion in science by supporting promising graduate students from groups that are underrepresented in science and helping their thesis advisers build inclusive training environments.

The three-year, $150,000 award will support their project that will use multi-omic approaches to understand the development of chemotherapy-induced heart failure in cancer survivors. Dr. Cheng also will participate in a year of mentor training, where he will learn about cultural identities and how to listen and engage across cultures.

Image (left to right): Feixiong Cheng, PhD, and Jessica Castrillon Lal  



Dr. Smith received the MOSAIC (Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers) Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award is part of NIH’s efforts to enhance workforce diversity by facilitating a timely transition from mentored, postdoctoral research positions to independent, tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions for researchers from diverse backgrounds. Dr. Smith will receive $200,000 over two years for her mentored training, followed by nearly $750,000 over three years for independent research.  

With this award, Dr. Smith will characterize germline PTEN mutations associated with cancer and/or autism spectrum disorder. She also plans to harness the training she receives as a MOSAIC scholar to expand her mentorship and outreach efforts to individuals in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) from disadvantaged backgrounds as an independent researcher.

Image: Iris Nira Smith, PhD


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