The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute is an independent non-profit with the mission of applying stem cells to accelerate treatments and cures for the major diseases of our time. The NYSCF has established high-throughput reprogramming methods to create large, ethnically diverse cohorts of patient-derived iPSCs that are used in a variety of collaborative efforts worldwide. They have also pioneered protocols to differentiate iPSCs into disease-relevant cell types and organoids, enabling population-scale studies of neurological diseases, cancer, and diabetes. Integrating this approach with artificial intelligence, genomics, and high-content imaging is providing insights into disease heterogeneity across diverse patients that will ultimately fuel inclusive precision medicine.
Throughout its work, the NYSCF applies a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens to drive innovation, confronting several ways in which systemic discrimination has significantly hindered progress. They are continually increasing the diversity of their iPSC biobank as a community resource to integrate minoritized populations into genetics and disease research. NYSCF also recognizes that progress will be slowed until all talented scientists have equal opportunities to succeed, and thus consider it mission-critical to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in the scientific community. Their Initiative on Women in Science and Engineering quantifies the widespread gender disparities in their field, as well as the leaky pipeline through which women and other minoritized scientists are excluded from leadership positions. NYSCF spotlights these issues in their events and communications, address them in community building efforts and internal affinity groups, and has embedded DEIB elements into the review process for early career scientist grants.
In her talk, Dr. Raeka Aiyar, Vice President of Scientific & DEIB Outreach, will discuss scientific and technological advances by NYSCF in leveraging cell culture automation to create diverse stem cell biobanks and enable population-scale disease modeling. She will also describe the broad range of activities NYSCF applies to its programs to confront systemic discrimination, and present actionable strategies to create more diverse, inclusive, and equitable environments where all scientists can feel a sense of belonging and thrive.
Gender Equality Office of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing