The organizers of the Emerging Genomic Scientist Program of the Department of Human Genetics at UCLA are deeply committed to fostering an environment of diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion in scientific research, and particularly in the genomics discipline. Genomics has had a history of poor relationships with minoritized individuals because of a combination of shortcomings; including but not limited to a lack of diversity in the workforce(1,2), inequitable funding practices(3–5), the propagation of genetically motivated racism(6,7), disparities in research methodologies(8,9), errors in how we engage with indigenous communities(10). More broadly we recognize that the scientific community, historically and presently, has not equally represented all groups, particularly historically underrepresented groups in STEM, as defined by the NSF criteria below. This gap reflects broader societal inequalities and hinders the advancement of science. We hope that efforts like this acknowledgement, and more importantly, this symposium, challenge current research practices, and include and support individuals from all backgrounds–especially those below.
National Science Foundation (NSF) data revealed a significant underrepresentation of certain groups in STEM fields, including but not limited to Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander scholars(1). This underrepresentation is not just a loss for these communities, but for the entire scientific endeavor. Diverse perspectives are crucial for innovative research, comprehensive understanding, and inclusive problem-solving in biology(11–13).
Our symposium aims to bridge this gap by actively recruiting, supporting, and valuing students from diverse backgrounds, especially those who have been historically underrepresented in STEM fields(1,14). We believe that by doing so, we are not only advocating for equity and justice but are also enhancing the quality and impact of our scientific research.
We are committed to:

  • Providing a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive environment for all researchers.
  • Actively recruiting and supporting underrepresented minorities in biology at the graduate, postdoctoral, and faculty levels.
  • Offering mentorship and resources tailored to the unique needs and challenges faced by students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Encouraging an open dialogue about DEJI issues within our community.
  • Continuously evaluating and improving our practices to ensure they align with our DEJI goals.

We invite you to join us in this important endeavor. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the field of biology and beyond, driving forward a future where diversity is not just welcomed but is seen as an indispensable component of scientific excellence.


  1. Diversity and STEM: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities 2023 | NSF - National Science Foundation.
  2. National Academies of Sciences, E. An American Crisis: The Growing Absence of Black Men in Medicine and Science: Proceedings of a Joint Workshop. (2018). doi:10.17226/25130.
  3. Nguyen, M. et al. Gender, Racial, and Ethnic and Inequities in Receipt of Multiple National Institutes of Health Research Project Grants. JAMA Netw. Open 6, e230855 (2023).
  4. Mohammadi, E., Olejniczak, A. J., Walker, G. E. & Nagarkatti, P. A Comparative Longitudinal Study of Research Outputs in EPSCoR versus Non-EPSCoR States. Preprint at (2022).
  5. Escobar Alvarez, S. N., Drake, W. P., Evans, L. & Myers, E. R. Funders, diversify research grant awards. Science 374, 1063–1064 (2021).
  6. Eugenics and Scientific Racism.
  7. Elgabsi, N. The ‘ethic of knowledge’ and responsible science: Responses to genetically motivated racism. Soc. Stud. Sci. 52, 303–323 (2022).
  8. Kessler, M. D. et al. Challenges and disparities in the application of personalized genomic medicine to populations with African ancestry. Nat. Commun. 7, 12521 (2016).
  9. Stoeger, T., Gerlach, M., Morimoto, R. I. & Amaral, L. A. N. Large-scale investigation of the reasons why potentially important genes are ignored. PLOS Biol. 16, e2006643 (2018).
  10. Fox, K. The Illusion of Inclusion — The “All of Us” Research Program and Indigenous Peoples’ DNA. N. Engl. J. Med. 383, 411–413 (2020).
  11. AlShebli, B. K., Rahwan, T. & Woon, W. L. The preeminence of ethnic diversity in scientific collaboration. Nat. Commun. 9, 5163 (2018).
  12. Freeman, R. B. & Huang, W. Collaborating with People Like Me: Ethnic Coauthorship within the United States. J. Labor Econ. 33, S289–S318 (2015).
  13. Adams, J. The fourth age of research. Nature 497, 557–560 (2013).
  14. Asai, D. J. Race Matters. Cell 181, 754–757 (2020).