Diversifying the Pipeline
This panel will highlight summer (Paul) and pipeline programs’ (Davies) purposes and successes in enhancing diversity in neuroscience, as well as the best practices in evaluating candidates, ultimately making the search for excellence in neuroscience trainees more inclusive. This session will also identify what we should and should not be including in our metrics of evaluation to avoid bias (Maldonado-Vlaar).
Ketema Paul, PhD
Ketema Paul is a professor in the department of integrative biology and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He studies the genetic, molecular, and neural underpinnings of sleep. His primary interests are comprised of uncovering the mechanisms responsible for the negative effects of sleep deprivation. He also probes the origins of gender/sex differences in the ability to recover from sleep loss in order to develop therapeutic targets for sleep disorders that disproportionately affect women. Paul’s work has shown sex differences in daily sleep amount are dependent on circulating reproductive hormones, while sex differences in the ability to recover from sleep loss are relatively insensitive to them. His current research involves applying a forward genetics approach to uncover the core genes responsible for sleep-wake regulation and the impairing effects of sleep loss. Effective treatments for common sleep-wake disorders are elusive. Paul conducts a forward genetics approach to facilitate gene identification that takes advantage of natural variation occurring in sleep-replete and sleep-deprived mice. This approach applies the most cutting-edge genome mapping, positional cloning, and DNA sequencing techniques to identify the genetic origins of unique sleep phenotypes in transgenic mouse models. These studies are expected to identify novel sleep regulatory genes and lead to the development of new therapeutic targets and improved treatments for sleep disorders.
Carmen Maldonado-Vlaar, PhD
Carmen S. Maldonado-Vlaar is a professor of neuroscience the department of biology at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus, where she been for 21 years. She has successfully mentored dozens of underrepresented minority (URM) graduate and undergraduate students. Moreover, she is an active teacher and has participated in all of the neuroscience courses offered in her department at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, she served for three years as member of the Training Advisory Committee for APA-Diversity in Neuroscience, is currently the assistant editor for Behavioral Neuroscience, and, for the last five years, she has been The Leadership Alliance institution coordinator at her institution. For five years, she also served as chair of the biology department. Since 2010, she took a leadership role in establishing a campus-wide undergraduate multidisciplinary research office funded by a Title V grant from the Department of Education. In December 2017, she was appointed as dean of the graduate school and research at her institution. She also currently is a co-PI and scientific mentor of the NeuroID program funded by the NIGMS-ENDURE division aimed at training undergraduate students from different academic institutions in Puerto Rico in the field of neuroscience. More than 50 Puerto Rican undergraduate students that have obtained research experience in her laboratory have continued their graduate training at medical schools or in PhD or MD/PhD neuroscience programs in Puerto Rico and abroad. She has also successfully graduated five PhD and three MS students in the field of behavioral neuropharmacology. Maldonado-Vlaar's scientific agenda is based on an ongoing interest to characterize and discover potential therapeutic cellular targets that could be used in cocaine addiction treatment. She has combined molecular, behavioral, and neuroanatomical approaches in a multidisciplinary strategy to study the neurobiology of cocaine addiction. Using cocaine conditioning protocols and the intravenous cocaine self-administration (SA) paradigm as methodological tools, her laboratory investigated the role of several neurochemical and molecular substrates implicated in cocaine dependence. Maldonado-Vlaar earned her BS in biology and psychology from the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras and PhD in psychology/neuroscience from Northeastern University. She completed postdoctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute.
Daryl Davies, PhD
Daryl Davies is a professor in the Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy and director of the Master’s program in management of drug development in the department of regulatory and quality sciences at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Southern California (USC). Davies is also the director of undergraduate education at the School of Pharmacy, where he has taken the lead role in the development and management of the school's first undergraduate major, pharmacology and drug development, and a new minor, science and management of biomedical therapeutics. He is also the undergraduate faculty adviser for the School of Pharmacy Trojan Admission Pre-Pharmacy (TAP) program and director of the STAR program, a cooperative venture in science education between the USC’s Health Sciences Campus and Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School in East Los Angeles. In addition to his educational activities, Davies leads a research team at USC, where his laboratory is working to discover and develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and alcoholism. He is considered a pioneer by his peers in the field of purinergic receptors and their role in CNS regulation of alcohol-induced changes in alcohol intake and signaling. Davies is a firm believer in using an interdisciplinary approach. To this end, his group works with a team of collaborators who use a combination of pharmacological, toxicological, electrophysiological, molecular, computational chemistry, molecular modeling, and regulatory expertise to discover and develop new drugs.