Experimental Biology 2020 Junior Faculty Scholar Award Recipients

The ASIP Junior Faculty Scholar Awards are offered to promote the participation of early career investigators in scientific meetings and conferences. The awards recognize the outstanding research being conducted by ASIP Regular and Next-Generation Scientist members who are employed as Junior Faculty at institutions around the world. Awardees are selected on the basis of early career productivity and the scientific merit of the submitted abstract. These awards were associated with Experimental Biology 2020.

George K. Michalopoulos Junior Faculty Scholar Award

Sungjin Ko, PhD, DVM
University of Pittsburgh

Mindy Engevik, PhD
Medical University of South Carolina

Monga-Hans Junior Faculty Scholar Award

Sonika Patial, PhD, DVM
Louisiana State University

Dani and Erik Zander Junior Faculty Scholar Award

Tirthadipa Pradhan, PhD
University of Pittsburgh

What has the COVID pandemic taught us about science?

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed us to new limits on our acceptance of science and nature. I believe (and I hope) that we will look back on this pandemic as a major turning point in modern medicine. As we emerge from the dust of political scandals and public health incompetence we will find that this failure to respect the vastness of science and the undiscovered frontiers of medicine will only propel us into a new age of medicine.

A brilliant article published in the Wall Street Journal on October 9th discussed the lessons we have learned so far from the COVID-19 pandemic. Fair warning, you need to register an account to read the article but it is worth it! The truth being, we always learn from mistakes and we are always learning from science. We have to remember that as scientists it is our job to grow from our failures and to discover not only what is right, but also what is wrong. Failures are not a negative consequence of our work, they are simply unscheduled learning experiences.


PISA 2020 is going virtual and registration/abstract submission is now open until October 21! Submit your abstract today! Find information at the PISA 2020 website! https://pisa20.asip.org/

Interested in becoming a member of ASIP? Contact me at sougiann@musc.edu  www.linkedin.com/in/alexander-sougiannis

Zoom Backgrounds

We are getting excited for our #PISA2020 Interactive and Virtual Conference.

Here are a few logos and backgrounds to upload before you network with these amazing scientists! To download, click on the image of your choice to enlarge and then right click to download it.

Show your #PISA2020Pride by uploading to your Zoom background and social profiles!


PowerPoint Templates

Zoom Backgrounds

Rooting out gender imbalance in STEM

Original source

Science policy 2020 addresses part of the problem, need to tackle thinning pipeline for STEM jobs after PG

A 2017 NITI Aayog report shows that just 20% of the research and administrative staff in a select group of institutions, including the IITs, IISERs and NITs, are women.

The new science and technology policy that is expected in December will place significant weight on the hiring of women in STEM positions and support policy for them at institutes and research organisations, The Indian Express (IE) reports. The move is aimed at improving women’s representation in STEM employment. Despite having one of the best showings globally on women’s representation in undergraduate science education, just 13.9% of the total of 280,000 researchers holding STEM jobs in India are women, a 2019 analysis by Unesco shows. Contrast this with China, where women account for nearly 40% of the total pool of researchers.

One of the reasons is the drying pipeline towards the doctoral end of STEM higher education in the country. As AISHE 2018-19 data shows, while women equal men in strength at the undergraduate level in the sciences, they outnumber men (3:2) at the post-graduate level. In the medical sciences, too, they outnumber men at both the undergraduate and the PG level. Engineering, though, remains male-dominated. At the PhD level, however, men outnumber women in engineering, medical science and the sciences, though, in the sciences, the lead men have is not very sharp. The pipeline for women in STEM research, thus, seems to thin out after PG. A 2017 NITI Aayog report shows that just 20% of the research and administrative staff in a select group of institutions, including the IITs, IISERs and NITs, are women.

Some other factors behind the low representation of women in STEM employment, as documented across the globe through research, are unequal pay, dual responsibilities of managing home and work impacting career growth and becoming a serious disincentive, etc. Indian women in STEM have managed to hold their own in terms of published work despite their low strength in employment—a study analysing a sample of 27,000 papers published by Indian researchers in 2017, in the Journal of Informetrics, found that there was one woman author for every three male authors, across 186 streams. Compared to the US, the study found, Indian women researchers had a better showing in fields such as microbiology, dentistry and mathematics—for instance, in microbiology the US female-male ratio was 0.33 while India’s was 0.57. It is, therefore, not hard to imagine how much more Indian STEM R&D could be buoyed if more women were participating.

As a study published in BMJ that analyses over 101,000 clinical research papers and nearly 6.2 million papers in life sciences from across the globe, including India, finds women researchers tend to be more conservative about the impact of their research. In contrast, male researchers tend to be bolder and use buzzwords that attract more citations, more research grants and consequently, faster promotion. Over time, this has meant more male representation in decision-making bodies in the academia and R&D institutions—the NITI report too talks about the low representation of Indian women scientists in science administration roles. It also says a sample of 991 women working in STEM positions had reported 217 instances of having refused challenging career opportunities; in 72% of these cases, ‘family care’ or ‘family objection’ had been cited as reasons. While there is no such research amongst men in STEM positions, it is highly unlikely such reasons would figure at a comparable level.

The science policy 2020, as IE reports, focusing on facilitating on women for STEM employment through measures such as more promotion opportunities, leadership positions and support facilities such as crèches solves part of the problem. The more significant intervention has to be on correcting the pipeline distortion—the NITI report talks of increasing doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships for women in STEM, which could help them overcome financial difficulties in pursuing a career in research. Given how choice is skewed towards certain disciplines within STEM, the CSIR, DST and other such bodies could also think of grants to encourage women to pursue the less-chosen disciplines.

How to make Social Media posts more accessible for the blind or visually impaired

Recently, members of the ASIP Committee for Career Development and Diversity (CCDD) led by Andrew Duncan and including Chad Walesky and myself (Daisy Shu) along with ASIP Marketing and Communications Manager, Gina Laborde, hosted a virtual workshop entitled “Promote Yourself and Your Science” on September 15th 2020 featuring speakers Eric Perkins from Addgene, Samira Kiani from University of Pittsburgh and myself. We had a great turnout with over 80 attendees tuning in and many great questions. One of the questions that struck me as a very important (particularly given that my research is in curing eye diseases), was on how to make social media posts more accessible to the blind or visually impaired. Indeed, social media is quite a visual platform, with posts often attracting more attention when associated with an image or video. We had a lot of fantastic tips and article links from both panelists and attendees during the meeting so I thought it’d be great to write a blog post to bring it all together.

Handy checklist for making posts more accessible by Alexa Heinrich: https://therealalexa.com/accessible-social#4507070e-7638-4bdb-b181-f18e0fa98a3d

Thank you to Dr. Deborah for sharing the Twitter account @DisabledStem with us! Check out their website for great articles, real-life stories, resources and mentorship program for people with disabilities in STEM.

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@ASIPath Here is a good thread about accessibility on Twitter and other social media platforms. Check out and possibly collaborate with @DisabledStem. #ASIPSocial #DisabledInSTEM #ScienceTwitter #ScienceComm

Alt text is an important tool to utilize with visual content. Twitter has a useful explanation on how to add an image description. This is a great Twitter post explaining how to add Alt Text to your images:

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So how do you go about adding alt text to your post? When you load an image, a little black +ALT button will appear on the image (image 1). If you press this, then your view will change to a write alt text page which is the image with a blank text box at the bottom (image 2).

Check out this thread talking about the different types of posts on Twitter and how to increase their accessibility:

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Let’s start with twitter since that’s the platform we are on! You can do several different types of posts on twitter:- feed posts (w/ images, infographics, links, gifs or videos)- livestreams – polls

Make your hashtags accessible by using Camel Case for multiword hashtags e.g. #MakeTwitterAccessible or #ASIPSocial rather than #maketwitteraccessible #asipsocial

Good colour contrast in your images to increase visibility of content

Add captions for videos

Here is some links for some more tips on accessibility:

5 ways to make your tweets accessible

About 14 million people in the UK have a disability, and many more around the world. Perhaps your tweets aren’t getting the biggest audience that they could? Making your stream accessible could help. In 2016, Twitter brought in an option to give descriptions for images on Twitter.

7 Ways to Make Social Media Accessible | GovLoop

Social Media I recently saw an agency post a photo of a printed flyer to Instagram. Not only was it difficult to read; there was no caption provided to explain what was in the image. While this is a quick way to get information out, it was not necessarily the most effective or accessible.

Hope you enjoyed this post and got some ideas for making your social media content more accessible!

Daisy Y. Shu @eyedaisyshu on Twitter/Instagram

Interested in contributing original content to the ASIP blog? Contact me at daisy_shu@meei.harvard.edu to get involved!