Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

The Biochemical Society is committed to ensuring equal opportunities in the molecular biosciences. We believe that a lack of diversity across the scientific community represents a loss of potential talent to the UK.

Read our Diversity in the Science Sector position statement.

AWARENESS

Ensuring our community has an appreciation and are knowledgeable about what EDI means to us and our goals of implementing EDI principles.

ACTION

Creating processes, procedures, and tools to implement “EDI best practices” into the success and growth of the society and its members.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Reviewing and amending the organisation’s work to ensure transparency and ensuring we put our plans into action.

Survey Results

Responses to the survey show that the majority of our panel/board/ committee members identify as:

Most of the trends seen with our panel/board/committee members are mirrored in the community survey


Responses to the staff survey show that the majority of responding staff identified as:

0 %
White
0 %
Based in the UK
0 %
Most closely associated with Academia/ University
0 %
No Religion



Gender split in this group was almost 50/50.


0 %
White
0 %
Heterosexual/Straight
0 %
Most closely associated with Academia/ University
0 %
No Religion
0 %
Based in the UK

 

Gender split was again almost evenly distributed, (if we are looking at the two majority genders of male and female).

0 %
White
0 %
Heterosexual/Straight
0 %
Female

Reception was overall positive or neutral – but we did receive a number of defensive or resistant comments, and these were generally centred around the areas of gender identity, sexual orientation and religion.

PANEL BIOGRAPHIES
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Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Dean, Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement,

James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies at Emory University

Faculty, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences at Emory University

I am both informally and formally trained in minority science outreach, and mentoring and hold strong values for the importance of science education. As a science mentor, a course facilitator, and minority outreach advocate and coordinator, I work on developing an environment that fosters scientific advancements while providing needed resources for ALL learners to be successful. I coordinated the online portion of Emory’s pre-freshman GLUE (Getting a Leg Up at Emory) program and then served as the Assistant Director of the IMSD program (Initiative to Maximize Student Development). These experiences gave me the opportunity to work with some experts in the field of mentoring and diversity in science while serving as a team member to increase diversity and contribute to the successful experiences of biomedical students both in undergraduate and graduates programs. I am dedicated to enhancing the academic experience of historically underrepresented groups of scientists by developing and organizing networks of faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and industry liaison mentors and by initiating conversations about how effective mentoring is essential for the success of all scientists.

My traditional scientific training is in clinical technology (pharmacological and application-based) and biomedical engineering, with specific training and expertise in the detection of clinical samples and method development. The skills I learned as a translational scientist has been applicable to my role as an administrator. Because I have been through the rigor of peer-review and the intensity of graduate school, other scientists, PIs, and students see that I understand the daily struggles in the field and that I can relate to them and their experiences in the classroom, laboratory, and beyond.

I have honed the analytical skills needed to analyze clinical outcomes and educational progress.  I have been able to develop my craft as a research mentor and a science advocate shaping both sound professional/career advice in support of student scientific progress. Coupled with these experiences I have also been both recipient of and facilitator for diversity and inclusion initiatives. And, as a Cape Verdean (African American) woman I understand the importance and dedication needed for sustainable cultural change. Science is transformative, and to quote, Marian Wright Edelman, “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and the world better than you found it.

Professor Graham has led a research laboratory at the University of Glasgow for over 20 years. Her research focuses on viruses and cancer and her area of expertise is regulation of gene expression, particularly at the post-transcriptional level. One of the founding members of the EDI Advisory Panel, as Chair of the Society Professor Graham acts as a representative and liaison for the Executive Management Committee, ensuring EDI considerations are incorporated into operational decisions at the heart of Society activity. Previously Chair of both the Conferences and Publications Committees Professor Graham is a keen advocate for Society members and the wider molecular biosciences community.

Maria is Co-Director of the EDI committee in the School of Pharmacy at UEA and Co-Chair of the Faculty of Science EDI committee. She is also a member of the University’s Race Equality Charter Committee.

Maria initially set up and chaired the first Equality (now EDI) committee in the School of Pharmacy at UEA in 2012, and was on the Committee until 2017, overseeing its success in gaining an Athena SWAN Bronze award. In the last 2 years she has been involved in organising several activities in relation to POC, helping to organise a forum with BAME and non-BAME students on Decolonising the Curriculum and wider issues that affect the university community.

Maria also represents the Faculty of Science on the REC working groups and is currently gathering information from all of the Schools on activities relating to this.

Luminita Paraoan is a biochemist with significant experience in leadership gained from numerous leading and trustee roles in educational, charitable, and health organisations. Luminita founded and led the Ocular Molecular Biology and Mechanisms of Disease Group in the Department of Eye and Vision Science at the University of Liverpool studying fundamental molecular processes and pathways underlying physiology of various eye tissues in health, ageing and degeneration with specific applications to age-related macular degeneration and cancer biology. She has an extensive collaborative network and research partnerships in Europe, Asia and the United States. Luminita has been a champion in promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) values, both in University of Liverpool, where among other activities she chaired the first Institute’s EDI committee, and in national and international professional organisations. Passionate about supporting young investigators, Luminita is an enthusiastic and dedicated mentor with a history of support and development of over 40 national and international students, postdoctoral researchers, and fellows. She is a founding member and active mentor for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Global Mentorship Program and Developing Country Eye Researcher Fellowship Program, and the International Society for Eye Research (ISER) mentorship programme. She has recently been recognised as Gold Fellow by ARVO and started her elected term as ISER Vice-President (Europe). As well as sitting on the EDI Advisory Panel, Luminita is a member of the Conferences Committee at the Society. Luminita holds a BSc/MSc degree from University of Bucharest, Romania, a PhD (Genetics) from the Romanian Academy of Science and a PhD (Biochemistry) from University of Liverpool and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

Derry Mercer is Principal Scientist at NovaBiotics Ltd, a specialist biotechnology company specialising in anti-infective research and development. His work focuses on the development of first-in-class therapies to address difficult to treat infectious diseases.

As a Visiting Professor at Robert Gordon University Derry has taught both there and at the University of Aberdeen as well as being a STEM Ambassador, working to promote the molecular biosciences to students of all ages and backgrounds. He is committed to promoting diversity, equality and inclusion in all of his research and mentoring activities.

As well as sitting on the EDI Advisory Panel, Derry is the Honorary Policy Officer at the Society chairing the Policy Advisory Panel, and also serves on the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy Grants Committee. Derry holds a BSc (Hons) and PhD from the University of Liverpool and is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Biology and Royal Society of Medicine.

Hayley Moulding is a Senior Strategy Advisor at UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that funds world-class research and innovation across the sector. Her work focuses on developing an inclusive research and innovation system by tackling and preventing bullying and harassment across the research and innovation sector, in addition to improving socioeconomic diversity and inclusion through opportunities and increasing accessibility of research and innovation. Hayley is passionate and dedicated to improving, promoting and advocating equality, diversity and inclusion across the research and innovation sector. As well as sitting on the EDI Advisory Panel, Hayley is a School Governor in Bristol and the equality, diversity and inclusion lead. Hayley holds a BSc (Hons) and PhD from the University of Bristol, and Cardiff University respectively.

Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent. 

Gavin’s research focuses on mitochondrial function in biology ranging from evolution to human health and disease. He graduated from the University of Leeds with a BSc in Biochemistry and a PhD from the University of Bristol. Followed by post-doctoral training in the USA at the La Jolla Institute of Allergy & Immunology, St Jude Children’s Hospital and Columbia University. His first lecturing position was at the New York Institute of Technology in New York before moving to Staffordshire University in 2018. He participates in several initiatives to support LGBT+ scientists, including 500 Queer Scientists and out in STEM (oSTEM) and the LGBT+ STEMinar annual conference.   

Salma Ali is a final-year Integrated Master’s Student of Biochemistry at the University of St. Andrews, where she chairs an anti-racist committee in the School of Biology, and sits on the School’s EDI committee. Together, the committees work to interrogate structural racism in the academy and wider scientific community, through integrating social responsibility into curricula, working to improve funding opportunities for scientists of colour, and to facilitate anti-racist policy change. 

She is also a school governor, working to help shape an EDI strategy and promote curricular reform.

NIH IRACDA Postdoctoral Research Associate
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Elizabeth Kaweesa is a Postdoctoral research associate in the NIH Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) program at University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on determining the cytotoxic activity and mechanism of action of natural compounds in high grade serous ovarian cancer as potential chemotherapeutic drugs.

Elizabeth serves as the early career and EDI representative on the publications committee of the biochemical society.

Dr Amy Vincent (She/Her) is a Sir Henry Wellcome Fellow at Newcastle University.

Amy’s research focuses on mitochondrial dysfunction in neuromuscular diseases. Amy’s passion for EDI was ignited when she became the chair of a working group focused on EDI issues for postgraduate and early career researchers at Newcastle University, as part of the Faculty of Medical Sciences Equality project. She is an advocate for women in STEM and for LGBTQI+ in STEM, being involved initiatives such as 500 Women Scientists, 500 Queer Scientists and having been a speaker at the 2022 Soap Box Science.

Head of Human Resources, EDI and Business Technology, Biochemical Society

I have worked in the Human Resources field for almost 20 years, worked with The Metropolitan Police Service for 10 years and the Biochemical Society for 8. I have a BA in Business Administration and a Masters in Human Resource Management.

I am Black British, with Nigerian parents, who were diplomats, and this was an introduction into different cultures, countries and an appreciation of how the things and circumstances that make us different can be harnessed to educate us. This was my introduction to diversity and inclusion.

Working as a chambermaid in my younger years and then Ladbrokes also meant that I met a lot of people from different socio-economic backgrounds, coupled with my career and personal challenges gave me an understanding of inclusion and the limitations and barriers faced by many in Society.

Sarah is the Society’s Governance Manager and provides secretarial and operational support to the EDI Advisory Panel.

Following her degree in Biology from the University of Kent, Sarah worked in the NHS in a number of different roles, before joining the charity sector at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, moving later to the Saga Charitable Trust.

Sarah represents the Society’s EDI Advisory Panel at a number of external meetings, including EDIS, (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Science and Health), and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Joint Commitment for action on inclusion and diversity in publishing.

RESOURCES

The impact of Covid-19 on the careers of women

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Ableism in Academia

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Zoological Society of London online symposium ‘Science communication to boost diversity in STEM’

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BEIS report on R&D People and Culture Strategy

Learn more >

All Party Parliamentary Group Equity in the STEM workforce report

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Diversity results for UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships

Learn more >
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