Thank you … your point of view made me think from a different perspective.”

2021 JEDI Awardee

JEDI Awards

LSEF has been offering Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) awards to scientists who face disproportionately high and unfair obstacles to career progression since 2021.

Some of our Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) awardees who received personalized support from one of our volunteers to strengthen a scientific manuscript or grant proposal (shared with permission).

2024 JEDI Awardees:

  • Dr. François Eya’ane Meva

    Dr. François Eya’ane Meva

    François is a Center for International Migration (CIM) returning expert from Germany. He is the leader of Nanoparticles Cameroon (NANO:C) a multi-disciplinary platform of joint efforts for the use of small size materials for sustainable development. He is Associate Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences the University of Douala, Cameroon. François has a PhD from the Chemnitz University of Technology and postdoc experience from the German Research Foundation (DFG). He has received awards as visiting professor from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, and Fulbright.
  • Dr. Jelissa Reynoso-García

    Dr. Jelissa Reynoso-García

    Jelissa is a first-generation Latina postdoctoral researcher at the University of California Davis. She obtained a Ph.D. in Biology (Microbiology track) at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. She received the Outstanding Abstract Award from the American Society for Microbiology (2018) for her graduate work. As a postdoc, she initially studied the gastrointestinal pathophysiology of Angelman Syndrome, and then turned her focus to studying the link between the gut microbiota and behavior in Hispanic children with autism spectrum disorders. She has published multiple papers and received competitive fellowships, the most recent being the UC Davis MIND Institute’s Interdisciplinary Autism Research Training Program. Dr. Reynoso-García’s future goals include advocating for the inclusion of Hispanic minorities’ representation in autism research to address health disparities through microbiota-based personalized medicine.

  • Dr. Ann Wells

    Dr. Ann Wells

    Ann is a postdoctoral associate at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, ME. She is interested in understanding how genetics and environment interact to influence disease states. She uses computational tools to understand these complex genetic systems, particularly in the context of the autoimmune disease systemic lupus nephritis. Her previous work investigated the role of diet, genetics, and sex on the tissue metabolome. Using metabolomics and various computational and statistical techniques she aimed to understand the complex interactions between diet, genetics, and sex and how each influenced physiological parameters in mice. In her free time, Ann enjoys biking, hiking, and spending time with her friends and husband.

2023 JEDI Awardees:

  • Dr. Timothy Bamgbose

    Dr. Timothy Bamgbose

    Timothy is a lecturer and researcher with a strong background in Microbiology and Molecular Biology, possessing extensive skills in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Data Analysis, and Communication. With a Doctorate degree and research experience at various prestigious institutes, he is a great team player and actively involved in interdisciplinary research for future Sustainable Development Goals. His strong interpersonal and organizational abilities, along with his in-depth computer proficiency, make him a reliable and goal-oriented individual who is passionate about contributing to the academic community.
  • Dr. Habtamu Abera Goshu

    Dr. Habtamu Abera Goshu

    Habtamu is a Lecturer/Senior Researcher in Animal Genetics and Molecular Breedingworks at the Bio and Emerging Technology Institute, and has worked for Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, as Associate Researcher at Bako Agricultural Research Center for 15 years. He graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and his thesis project was entitled “Study on the Copy Number Variations of the CHKB, KLF6, GPC1, and CHRM3 Genes Associated with Growth Traits and Gene Expression in Chinese Domestic Yak (Bos grunniens)”. In agriculture, he works on genetics and breeding of livestock and technical skills in genetic estimation (heritability, breeding value, direct additive, and material heritability). He has experience in accurate detection of CNVs and SNPs for integrating genomics into breeding programs and  in identifying and utilizing DNA-based markers in breeding programs.

  • Dr. Elif Karagöz

    Dr. Elif Karagöz

    Elif majored Molecular Biology and Genetics with a minor in Chemistry at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey. She got her Master’s degree in Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Research School in Göttingen. After completing her PhD at Utrecht University in the group of Stefan Rüdiger, she did a postdoc at Peter Walter’s lab at the University of California San Francisco.

  • Dr. Julia Mack

    Dr. Julia Mack

    Julia is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from UCLA and then work in the aerospace industry at Teledyne Scientific. After developing an interest in biomaterials for tissue engineering applications, she decided to return to UCLA to study vascular biology as a Postdoctoral Fellow. As a postdoc, she discovered that endothelial NOTCH1 is a mechanosensor that functions to maintain arterial homeostasis and prevent vascular inflammation. Julia became faculty at UCLA in July 2018 where her research lab studies modes of endothelial cell mechanotransduction to discover how blood flow forces control cardiovascular health and function. To this end, the lab utilizes bioreactor systems to control the microenvironment and investigates how cells organize and communicate using high resolution live cell and confocal imaging techniques.

  • Dr. Tiroyaone Albertinah Matsika

    Dr. Tiroyaone Albertinah Matsika

    Albertinah is a biodiversity conservation researcher and professional working at the Botswana University of Agriculture & Natural Resources. She has a passion for natural resources conservation through sustainable development, education, awareness and stakeholder engagement. Her aim is to make a significant contribution to species conservation, minimising human wildlife conflict and contributing to successful food security goals. She enjoys working with vulnerable communities or remote villages (where many subsistence farmers are based), women and girls and school children. Currently, she has dedicated her time towards actively working with Women for Conservation Botswana and in national ecosystem assessment and species management projects. Albertinah envisions a Botswana with: (1) more educated women and girls, (2) communities who are able to sustainably harvest biodiversity and ecosystem resources, (3) communities who can device and work hard towards achieving sustainability in food security and zero hunger. 

  • Dr. Bernard Mbwele

    Dr. Bernard Mbwele

    Bernard is an Epidemiologist and Clinical Researcher. He trained for Medicine at UDSM, Clinical Research at Tumaini University, KCMUCo and then quality of care at Radboud University, the Netherlands and Multidisciplinary Health sciences at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a research fellow for Patient Centered Outcome Research (PCOR) at MUHAS and Northwestern University. He is a research collaborator at University College London (UCL) for Obstetric Haemorrhage management as a Co-PI for the London – Mbeya Obstetric Project. He is a senior programme manager for C-Sage Program, National Lead in Tanzania in collaboration with Indian team through WHO collaborating centre for Women Health in Birmingham University. A national lead for the African Surgical Outcome studies in Tanzania in collaboration with the University of Cape Town. He has published more than 20 articles on Reproductive Maternal Newborn and Child Health as well as Surgical Outcome studies in Africa. He has recently lead chapter 4 and Chapter 25 of the Tanzanian standard Treatment Guideline and National Essential Medicine List (STG & NEMT) using AMR reports in Tanzania. He has also been collaborating with Antwerp University and the Northumbria University Newcastle for Global PPS use in AMS – Mbeya, Tanzania.

  • Dr. Marina Tristao

    Dr. Marina Tristao

    Marina studies the role of platelets during pregnancy complications, such as pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. The goal of our research is to understand changes in PDGF-B and platelet function alter pregnancy outcomes. This project is supervised by Dr. Matthew Rondina, MD, MS.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading about Feng Shui, going for a hike and sharing good food with friends.

  • Dr. Christine Lalonde

    Dr. Christine Lalonde

    Christine completed her PhD at Laurentian University and recently worked as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Northern Ontario School of Medicine University and the underground neutrino laboratory in Sudbury, Ontario (SNOLAB) focusing on sub-background radiation on epigenetics.

  • Dr. Nicole Dubois

    Dr. Nicole Dubois

    Nicole is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Mount Sinai. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, studying the role of c-myc during embryonic hematopoiesis. During her postdoctoral work  at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada, she became interested in cardiogenesis, and specifically in the use of pluripotent stem cells to model cardiac development and disease. In 2013 Nicole started her lab at the  Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York where she continues to pursue her interest in the mechanisms of early heart formation and their translation to human disease. To this end her group has studied early atrial-ventricular lineage segregation, the role of metabolism during cardiac maturation, the role of Notch signaling in cardiac specification, identification of patient-specific drug signatures, the mechanisms of early sarcomere assembly and the role of RNA-binding proteins during cardiac development.

  • Dr. Jacqueline Dikti Vildina

    Dr. Jacqueline Dikti Vildina

    Jacqueline is a general parasitologist transitioning to clinical parasitology. As an early career researcher, my research focuses on infectious diseases of poverty such as onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, and leishmaniasis. I lecture in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ngaoundere, Cameroon. I obtained my Ph.D. at the University of Ngaoundere in 2017 and have been a lecturer in the same institution as well as at the Catholic University Institute since 2018. I am a recipient of many scholarships including the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). I hope to see people in the third world able to live and pursue their dreams without infectious diseases burden.

  • Ms. Andin Fosam

    Ms. Andin Fosam

    Andin is an MD-PhD student at Yale School of Medicine who is currently completing her graduate work in Cellular and Molecular Physiology in the Perry lab. She is studying the metabolic phenotypes of post-surgical muscle injury/repair using blood flow restriction techniques. This focus combines her interest in orthopedics and rehabilitation with broader interests in translational metabolism, strength training, and chronic metabolic disease. Andin is excited to leverage her athletic background and the skills she’s building in both basic and clinical settings to contribute to orthopedic research and a future surgeon-scientist.

  • Mr. Merhawi Alemu Birhanu

    Mr. Merhawi Alemu Birhanu

    Merhawi is a resident of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. He holds a BSc. degree in Medical Laboratory Science, and an MSc. degree in Medical Parasitology, both obtained from Mekelle University. Currently, he is working as a Lecturer and Researcher at Adigrat University, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Medical Laboratory. In this capacity, his responsibilities encompass teaching, conducting research, and engaging in community services.

  • Ms. Phaedra Ghazi

    Ms. Phaedra Ghazi

    Phaedra is a graduate student at the University of Utah pursuing her Ph.D. in oncological science and a master’s in clinical investigation. Her graduate work includes studying whether combined inhibition of KRAS and autophagy is a superior treatment strategy to either
    single agent in pre-clinical models of lung cancer. In her spare time, she loves enjoying all the amazing outdoor recreation in Utah and reading.

  • Dr. Belinda Waltman

    Dr. Belinda Waltman

    Belinda is a primary care physician and the Director of Care Delivery Transformation within Population Health at the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Previously, she was the Medical Director of Whole Person Care Los Angeles, a Medi-Cal waiver-funded initiative designed to create an integrated health delivery system that provides seamless, coordinated care to the most vulnerable Medi-Cal beneficiaries in the LA County system including those experiencing homelessness, justice-involvement, serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or complex medical conditions. Dr. Waltman sees patients at LA General Hospital in the Continuity Care Clinic, which serves high-risk patients recently discharged from the hospital or undergoing complex outpatient diagnostic evaluations while they are connected to primary care. Prior to joining LA County Dept of Health Services, Dr. Waltman was a physician leader and clinical educator in the safety net clinic setting in San Francisco. Dr. Waltman is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Medical School.

  • Dr. Maria Silveira

    Dr. Maria Silveira

    Dr. Silveira is a researcher, palliative care specialist, and ethicist at the University of Michigan and the Kettles Ann Arbor Veteran Administration Medical Center. Her research aims to improve the management of pain and other symptoms related to cancer or cancer treatment. She is the recipient of career development funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Veterans Administration. Her research has been published in JPSM, JAGS, JAMA, and NEJM. In 2014, she was awarded fellow status by the AAHPM and was promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Michigan. She was on the Committee that created the first set of VA/DoD Evidence Based Guidelines for Long Term Opioid Therapy. She currently serves as the Director for Research for the UM’s Palliative Care Program. She teaches ethics, communication, and symptom management to students and trainees, and mentors fellows, junior faculty, and doctoral candidates in research. Areas of interest: Cancer pain and chronic pain, safe use of opioids in palliative care and oncology.

2021-2022 JEDI Awardees

Selected JEDI Awardees: Top row, Left to Right: Dr. Nirosha Murugan, Dr. Lucia Peixoto, Dr. Michelle Mendoza, Dr. Sara Suliman, Dr. Ana Paula Abreu, Second row, Left to Right: Ms. Mariah Arral, Dr. Efe Chantal Ghanney Simons, Dr. Crystal Rogers, Dr. Heather Gustafson, Dr. Gözde Demirer, Third row, Left to Right: Dr. Roman Ayele, Dr. Aide Macias-Muñoz, Ms. Sherlene Brown, Dr. Domagoj Cikes, Dr. Wanlu Liu, Bottom row, Left to Right: Ms. Laura Flores, Dr. Hernandez Moura Silva, Dr. Mariela Inés Monteoliva, Dr. Helen Willsey, Dr. Ana Santos Almeida.

Our paper has been accepted in Nucleic Acids Research! Many thanks for all the support from the JEDI award, especially from Katy. Without all your support, this paper wouldn’t have been published so quickly.”

Dr. Wanlu Liu, ZJU-UoE Institute, Zhejiang University. 2021 JEDI Awardee.

Parental Leave Grants

In 2020, the crisis of the Coronavirus pandemic brought unique stresses, particularly to scientists with children. Life Science Editors offered support to parents suddenly juggling working-from-home with childcare. The grants partnered former journal editors with researchers, and provided a free edit of a manuscript or grant proposal.

Dr. Aldinger studies the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly those involving the cerebellum. The cerebellum is known mostly for its role in motor function, but it is also associated with many neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Understanding how it develops, and what happens when development goes awry, can help in the discovery of urgently needed new treatments.

Just before the pandemic hit, Dr. Aldinger was running a team of three research technicians, a study coordinator, and two undergraduate students. She was also in the process of applying for a senior academic position, and was writing up their most recent work on single-cell RNA-sequencing of ~70,000 cells from human fetal cerebellum. These data represent a critical resource for both the scientific and medical communities given the lack of information describing human cerebellar development, the challenges of using human fetal tissue, and the disease implications. Dr. Aldinger is also the mother of twins, each with their own special needs, who were four years old at the time. The twins were at preschool and further cared for by a full-time nanny. Her husband was a research lab supervisor also working full-time.

Then came the lockdown, and everything changed.

Both parents now had to work from home while sharing intensive virtual-schooling and childcare responsibilities. Kimberly estimated that on her best days she managed only 3-4 hours of work, spread out in short shifts, half of which were taken up by Zoom meetings with her team. It was too challenging to dedicate time to think clearly and deeply about the single-cell manuscript, which remained in draft form for several months. The senior author was similarly working-from-home while facilitating virtual-schooling for her 10-year-old son. They were worried the manuscript might get scooped.

The Parental Leave Grant gave them a unique opportunity to engage with an experienced journal editor and get the draft finalized and submitted. Kimberly recalls the value of the grant during a critical time in her academic career, when she was in the process of applying for Assistant Professor positions.

“There have been numerous decries for how COVID-19 is undoing decades of progress for gender equality with devastating consequences for women in our society. Many women have assumed the role of primary caregiver during the pandemic, trying to balance full time work responsibilities with full time childcare needs imposed by school closures. I confronted this exact scenario in March as I was preparing to advance my academic career. The Parental Leave Grant provided me with a critical resource to facilitate my career advancement in the midst of unexpected and overwhelming childcare responsibilities. Kiki (the editor) provided a careful and thoughtful review of my manuscript. Her comments provided focal points that I could address during the short bouts of time, often only minutes, to improve and clarify my manuscript. In only a few short weeks, I was able to polish my manuscript and submit it to a leading journal.”

“This experience renewed my confidence to continue my career advancement.”

Dr. Kimberly Aldinger. Parental Leave Grant Recipient.

Dr. Christina (Kiki) Lilliehook, a former Cell Stem Cell editor who helped with the manuscript, recalls the situation as well. “When Kim and I connected, she already had a draft with most pieces in place, and after working with co-authors, she sent me a draft with updated results and figures. I went over this draft with detailed edits aimed to increase clarity and flow. Throughout the paper, I also marked sentence or sections that I felt needed clarification and/or context to help the reader understand what the authors wanted to convey and why it’s important. Kim then returned a close-to-submit version for a second pass, in which I mainly worked on the discussion. I enjoyed being her thought partner, and felt the two-step approach we ended up using worked really well to get the paper ready for submission.”

“The Life Science Editors Foundation has been leading the way towards gender equality and empowering women by providing critical resources to facilitate success in academia.” Dr. Kimberly Aldinger, Senior Scientist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute in the U.S., and parental grant awardee.

Read Kim’s full story below.

Please read Dr. Aldinger’s paper: Spatial and cell type transcriptional landscape of human cerebellar development