Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Our Mission

We recognize that we have a long way to go to increase equity and diversity in our section. We pledge to fight for equity, inclusion, and equal representation at all levels. We intend to foster an inclusive, welcoming environment for scientists from historically marginalized and excluded groups, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, socioeconomic class, and the intersections between these. As a section, we are pushing forward initiatives that will ensure we are recruiting and retaining scientists from these historically marginalized and excluded groups. As individuals, we are making a concerted effort to unlearn our own racism and implicit biases, and we are having the uncomfortable conversations needed to foster change. We will not be satisfied with just promises. We are committed to taking actions that challenge racism and inequality.

Our initial goals as a section are:

  • anti-racism education for all members 
  • advocacy for racial & social justice at our university
  • equitable recruitment & hiring
  • inclusion & representation in all levels of research 
  • conscientious community outreach

Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Scientists

We recognize that recruitment represents an initial step toward combating inequities and are adopting strategies to foster more supportive environments for diverse scientists at every level, from student interns to faculty members:

Anti-Racism Education

We stand against racial injustice and in solidarity with those who are speaking out against it. The murders of Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other innocent Black Americans have reinvigorated an anti-racist movement, and we are dedicated to taking an active role. We are adopting long overdue anti-racist practices and policies. We will no longer be complicit in the institutional and systemic racism that pervades academic and medical institutions. We understand that it is not enough to not be racist, but that we must be actively and vehemently anti-racist and advocate for our peers of color. Black Lives Matter. Black scientists matter.

To unlearn our own racism and implicit biases, we are hosting a monthly DEI Book Club where we as scientists can read and learn about intersectionality and how intertwined science is with societal systems of oppression. We read and discuss the history of racism with an emphasis on racism in science and medicine, how science created and perpetuates racism, and how we can use our positions as scientists to create positive change and move science forward with anti-racist intent. While anti-racism is the core of our book club, we also discuss other areas of intersectionality including the many marginalizations faced by numerous scientists today: gender, sexuality, disability, class, and more. Our goal is to provide a safe space for discussions and growth, and to read about and brainstorm active solutions for making our section truly representative and inclusive.


Check back often as we will be continually updating our goals and the actions we are taking to promote equity in our section, at our university, and within our community. If you have any questions, thoughts on how we can improve our DEI efforts, or want to get involved, please reach out to our DEI committee chairs: Santos Franco (santos.franco@cuanschutz.edu), Rebecca Vareed (rebecca.vareed@cuanschutz.edu), and Caitlin Winkler (caitlin.winkler@cuanschutz.edu).

Microscope Images

Brightfield image of newly fertilized zebrafish embryos at the 4-cell stage. Alexandria Hughes, Appel Lab

Zebrafish (3 days post fertilization), novel notochord enhancer marked by drl:mCherry and Cerulean. Hannah Moran, Mosimann Lab

Zebrafish heart (3 days old); endothelial marker lmo2 (magenta), myocardium marker myl7 (blue), drl+ myeloid cells (green). Featured in “From Stripes to a Beating Heart: Early Cardiac Development in Zebrafish” (review), Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease (doi: 10.3390/jcdd8020017). Frederike Riemslagh, Mosimann Lab

Developing mouse cortex (embryonic day 17.5); Hes5pGFP reporter (yellow), Ascl1 (magenta), CAG-BFP reporter plasmid (blue). Hes5pGFP primarily labels radial glia, which have a distinct bipolar morphology - an apical process with end feet and a long basal process or radial glial fiber. CAG-BFP primarily labels intermediate progenitors and new-born neurons. If you look closely, you can see blue neurons climbing along the yellow fibers of the radial glia up into the cortical plate.  Luuli Tran, Franco Lab

Coronal section of a developing mouse cortex (embryonic day 18.5); DAPI (blue). Neural progenitors were labeled with inheritable EGFP (green) via electroporation at embryonic day 15.5 in order to track their progeny over time. Luuli Tran, Franco Lab

Vasculature (magenta) in the developing zebrafish spinal cord accompanied by several macrophages (cyan). Rebecca Vareed, Appel Lab 

Various images of neuronal and glial cells that were generated by neural stem cells labeled with a palette of fluorescent proteins. Similar to how a television generates many hues from three primary colors, this technique can mark neural stem cells and their progeny with unique color combinations to help us better understand how the brain develops. Caitlin Winkler, Franco Lab

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