List of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists includes seven from UW

Jackson Holtz and Rebecca Gourley

Seven University of Washington scientists are included in Cell Mentor’s list of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists, published in December 2020. Cell Mentor is a collaborative resource between Cell Press and Cell Signaling Technology.

“The list was compiled to honor the Black scientists for their efforts in research, diversity and inclusion initiatives, advocacy, social justice outreach, teaching and mentorship,” wrote Antentor O. Hinton, Jr., a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Iowa, a co-author of the list. “The hope was that the list … would serve as a reference for those looking for prominent scientific speakers who could further emphasize the importance of diversity.”

At the UW, the list comprises a spectrum of advanced career scientists, a former chancellor and up-and-coming researchers.

“We are proud to see the names of several inspiring scientists from the UW on this list.  It is our hope that this kind of recognition amplifies the excellent and important contributions our Black faculty, post-docs and students are making in STEM. Because they are here, others can visualize themselves being here as well, and this is critical as we work to increase representation in the STEM fields across our university,” said Rickey Hall, the UW’s vice president for Minority Affairs & Diversity and university diversity officer.

The UW researchers highlighted include:

  • Chancellor Emeritus Warren Buck, who arrived at UW Bothell in 1999 as its founding chancellor. Later, he founded the Science and Technology Program, which became the UW Bothell School of STEM.
  • Associate Professor James Carothers, whose research group aims to engineer systems to meet demands for new sources of industrially and medically important chemicals and materials. His work is in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
  • Postdoctoral fellow Tam’ra-Kay Francis, who studies pedagogies and other interventions in higher education that support underrepresented students in STEM. Her work is in the Department of Chemistry.
  • Associate Professor Franck Kalume, whose lab is focused on understanding the pathophysiological basis of genetic epilepsies and their comorbid conditions. His work is in the Department of Neurological Surgery.
  • Acting Assistant Professor Ayokunle Olanrewaju, who is focused on developing point-of-care diagnostics for therapeutic monitoring and precision dosing to treat infectious and chronic diseases. His work is in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
  • Assistant Professor Jessica Ray, whose research and lab is focused on designing low-cost composites to selectively remove contaminants in stormwater and wastewater. Her work is in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.
  • Assistant Professor Bobby Wilson, whose research and teaching involves harmonic analysis, which is a mathematical procedure for describing and analyzing phenomena of a periodically recurrent nature, such as sound waves, electric currents and tides. His work is in the Department of Mathematics.

“We applaud these remarkable researchers who represent the very best of who we are as we continue to diversify our ranks. At the UW, we are working across the academic spectrum, from students to tenured faculty, to ensure our diversity reflects the communities we serve,” said UW Provost Mark Richards.


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