Speakers List

A recurring issue at conferences and seminars is the underwhelming number of minority speakers giving talks. A commonly cited reason for this is not knowing who to invite. To that end, we’ve begun compiling a list of prominent underrepresented minority scientists across every field of STEM. We hope that conference organizers can use this list as a resource when inviting speakers. However, we hope that organizers use this list conscientiously. There is a well-known, and well-documented, issue of “tokenism”, i.e. the idea that women and minorities are included to give an appearance of diversity. We would like to stress that a diverse conference is not just about representation of minority speakers but also about creating an environment that is conducive to the sharing ideas and collaborating. See our “Best practices” page for tips on how to create an inclusive environment. Also, please email nominations for scientists to be on our list to DSCnatl@gmail.com!


We are not the only resource out there! Check out these websites for other lists highlighting historically disenfranchised groups:
– General: International Forum for Cell Biology Speaker’s List
– Hispanics in STEM: National Hispanic Science Network
– LGBTQ+ in STEM: 500 Queer Scientists in STEM
– Women in neuroscience: Anne’s List
– Women & URM scientists: Keystone Symposia
– Diversity in Chemistry: Diversify Chemistry
– Latinx Scientists in STEM: NIH List

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Field/SubfieldPreferred NameInstitutionPositionDescriptionWebsiteWebsite 2Tags
Neuroscience Dr. Nathan Anthony Smith The Children's Research Institute Assistant Professor The Smith lab investigates the mechanisms through which neuromodulators mediate the interactions between neurons, astrocytes and microglia in normal and diseased states. Lab Website Twitter neuromodulators, neurons, astrocytes, microglia, ADHD, depression, epilepsy, electrophysiology, pharmacology, in vivo calcium imaging
Neuroscience Dr. Dionna Whitney Williams Johns Hopkins University Assistant Professor The Williams lab investigates the impact of HIV infection on the brain that result in cognitive and psychiatric dysfunction. Currently, the major focus is to examine mechanisms through which antiretroviral therapy (ART) crosses the blood-brain barrier as well as the effects and localization of ART once in the brain. Dr. Williams also investigates the mechanisms behind inflammation during viral infection and the mechanisms that contribute to the brain as a reservoir for HIV. Faculty Page neuroHIV, antiretroviral therapy, HIV, blood-brain barrier (BBB), substance abuse, neuroinflammation, arrestin, disparity
Neuroscience Dr. Jose Rodrígeuz-Romaguera University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Assistant Professor The Rodríguez-Romaguera lab investigates the neural mechanisms that mediate the hyperarousal states that emerge in many psychiatric disorders. They use a combination of in vivo optical tools that allow for single cell dissection in mice as a model system. Lab Website Twitter anxiety, autism, hyperarousal, emotion, motivation, amygdala, single-cell, calcium imaging, optogenetics
Neuroscience Dr. Maria Diehl Kansas State University Assistant Professor The Diehl Faryna Lab investigates the changes in neural circuitry that accompany fear- and anxiety-inducing stimuli with the goal of understanding why some individuals recover from trauma while others develop neuropsychiatric diseases (i.e. PTSD). Lab Website trauma, fear, anxiety, resilience, post-traumatic stress disorder, optogenetics
Neuroscience Dr. Marcelo Febo University of Florida - College of Medicine Assistant Professor, Program Director of Translational Imaging The Febo Lab uses fMRIs to longitudinally investigates drug response in the cognitive and emotional centers of rats’ brains. Faculty Page brain imaging, neuroimaging, fMRI, cognition, emotion, drug addiction, cocaine, dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, prefrontal cortex, motivation
Neuroscience Dr. Fabricio H. Do Monte, DVM, PhD The University of Texas - Health Science Center at Houston Assistant Professor The Do Monte Lab focuses on understanding the neural circuits and mechanisms underlying emotional memories. We are particularly interested in elucidating how fear- and reward-associated memories interact to generate the most adaptive behavioral responses. Lab Website neural circuits, emotion, behavior, optogenetics, in vivo electrophysiological recordings, fear, reward, memory, substance abuse.
Neuroscience Dr. Benjamin Suarez-Jimenez Columbia University Assistant Professor The Suarez-Jimenez lab uses virtual reality and multimodal MRI to investigate neural signatures of anxiety and PTSD as well as location-specific contextual learning and overgeneralization. Faculty Page ResearchGate learning, mental illness, PTSD, anxiety, MRI, Conditioning, virtual reality
Neuroscience Dr. Francisco Sotres-Bayón Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Associate Professor The Sotres-Bayon lab investigates how the brain uses previous emotional experiences to guide survival decisions in rats. Faculty Page GoogleScholar motivation, behavior, fear, safety, reward, emotion, prefrontal, amygdala
Neuroscience Dr. Irving E. Vega Michigan State University Associate Professor The Vega lab investigates the proteome changes associated with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. They are also interested in developing evidence-based strategies to promote health equity. Lab Website Twitter tau filaments, neurodegeneration, health equity, tauopathy, Alzheimer’s disease, proteomics, biomarkers
Neuroscience Dr. Freddyson J. Martinez-Rivera Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Post-doc Dr. Martinez-Rivera works in the Nestler Lab to investigate the impact of extinction-based therapy (model) on the addictive transcriptome. Previously, he worked (postdoc) in the Quirk lab studying the neural correlates of translational models for OCD and PTSD. Lab Page Twitter substance abuse, addiction, depression, extinction, OCD, PTSD, stress
Neuroscience Dr. Anthony Burgos-Robles The University of Texas at San Antonio Assistant Professor The Burgos-Robles Lab investigates how chronic stress can alter neural pathways and increase risk for mental disorders. Faculty Page stress, mental illness, reward, amygdala, cognition, emotion, motivation, optogenetics, neurophysiology
Neuroscience Dr. Mario Penzo NIH - National Institute of Mental Health Principal Investigator The Penzo lab investigates the neuronal circuitry underlying formation/regulation of affective memories and susceptibility to stress. Faculty Page memory, emotion, stress, optogenetics, electrophysiology
Neuroscience Dr. Yarimar Carrasquillo NIH - Intramural Research Program Principal Investigator The Carrasquillo lab investigates mechanisms in the amygdala underlying pathological pain states. Faculty Page Twitter pain, amygdala, limbic system, tactile hypersensitivity, ion channels, neuronal excitability, synaptic transmission
Neuroscience Dr. Tahra Eissa University of Colorado - Boulder Research Associate Dr. Eissa works to develop new models of decision making in dynamic environments. Her previous work has focused on neural activity during seizures using electrophysiological recordings and computational models. Research Page seizure, decision making, epilepsy, plasticity, learning
Neuroscience Dr. Angélica Torres-Berrío Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Post-doc Dr. Torres-Berrío is a post-doc in the Nestler Lab investigating the epigenetic mechanisms underlying depression and early life stress. ResearchGate Twitter stress, depression, miRNAs, prefrontal cortex, biomarkers
Neuroscience Dr. Christian Bravo-Rivera Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Post-doc Dr. Bravo-Rivera is a post-doc in the Li lab where he investigates how communication between the ventral pallidum and the lateral habenula affect reward-seeking and punishment-avoiding behavior. Profile Page reward, punishment, motivation, retrieval, extinction
Neuroscience Dr. Alberto Cruz-Martín Boston University Assistant Professor The Cruz-Martín lab investigates what guides the development of synaptic connections in the neocortex and how these processes malfunction in neurodevelopmental disorders. Lab Website neocortex, motor control, sensory processing, neural networks, cognition, optogenetics, fragile X, plasticity
Neuroscience Dr. Fidel Santamaria The University of Texas at San Antonio Professor The Santamaria lab investigates how Purkinje cells in the cerebellum help process and store information. Additionally, he is working to model neural networks using fractional order differential equations. Lab Website computational neuroscience, cerebellum, Purkinje, engram, memory, neural networks
Neuroscience Dr. Natalia De Marco García Weill Cornell Medicine Associate Professor The De Marco García lab investigates how electrical activity mediated by inhibitory neurons affects the development of cortical networks. Lab Website development, neurodevelopment, neural regulation, neurotransmitters, glutamate, GABA
Neuroscience Dr. Luis de la Torre-Ubieta University of California - Los Angeles Assistant Professor The De La Torre-Ubieta group investigates the genetic underpinnings regulating neurodevelopment in the neocortex. Lab Website Development, stem cells, organoids, gene regulation, non-coding regions, autism, schizophrenia, Mental Health