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Celebrating Women's History Month with Keystone Symposia Fellows

For Women's History Month, we are highlighting the many inspiring women who are making history in science and medicine! From students to field leaders, across academia and industry, women scientists are pioneering new discoveries and leading the charge towards advances with clinical and global health impacts.

Here we feature the women of Keystone Symposia’s Fellows Program. Of the 78 Keystone Symposia Fellows who have participated in the Program since 2009, over 50 percent are women!  Each plays a vital role in advancing the biomedical research enterprise across a diverse range of scientific disciplines and research environments. These women scientists apply their talents as academic researchers and administrators, clinicians and translational scientists, educators, pharmaceutical scientists, and as leaders in biotech.

In addition to their primary research, many Fellows also contribute their talents in support of underserved communities and are at work promoting inclusive excellence in the biomedical workforce by cultivating students and trainees from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM education and research.

Did you know?  Women in pharmaceutical industries account for about half of all employees but represent only about 17% of biotech senior management. The Keystone Symposia Fellows Program helps to position women in biotech to successfully pursue leadership and decision-making roles by enhancing confidence, leadership skills, networking opportunities, and visibility of Fellows within the biomedical research community.


We invite you to connect and learn more about all our Fellows by visiting our new Fellows Directory HERE.


Christina Towers, PhD

Assistant Professor, The Salk Institute

Fellows Class of 2021-2022

Research Area(s): Cancer, Cell Biology


I would not be where I am today without fantastic mentors during my PhD and Post-Doc studies. These experiences have strongly shaped my views on mentorship today. I am deeply committed to being an attentive, compassionate, and encouraging mentor to my own trainees to help them achieve their unique career goals. But I also recognize that as junior PI, I am still in need of strategic mentorship. This can be much harder to find at this level of my career than when mentorship was more structured during my PhD studies for example. The Keystone Fellows program has been fantastic in providing a structured mentorship program for me and I am so grateful for this opportunity."



Julie Ann Moreno, PhD

Assistant Professor, Colorado State University/Boettcher Investigator

Fellows Class of 2021-2022

Research Area(s):Cell Biology, Infectious Disease, Neurobiology


  Erika Moore, PhD

   Assistant Professor, University of Florida

   Fellows Class of 2021-2022

   Research Area(s): Bioengineering, Immunology  


Dr. Erika Moore is the co-founder of #BlackInBME and founder of Moore Wealth Inc., a non-profit created to empower students in financial literacy.

See our Keypoint Blog highlight on Dr. Moore here!


  Makhosi Edmundson, PhD

   Senior Scientist, Janssen R&D

   Fellows Class of 2021-2022

   Research Area(s): Cardiovascular, Cell Biology 


profile_pic-Roth_Flach-blog  Rachel Roth Flach, PhD 

  Senior Principal Scientist - Lab head, Pfizer, Inc.

  Fellows Class of 2020-2021

  Research Area(s):Cardiovascular, Metabolic Disease



 C. Denise Okafor, PhD

  Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University

  Fellows Class of 2020-2021

  Research Area(s): Biochemistry, Digital/Computational


  Zaida Ramierz Ortiz, PhD

   Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School

   Fellows Class of 2020-2021

   Research Area(s): Immunology, Cell Biology

    Fellows Class of 2020-2021

    Research Area(s): Structural Biology, Biochemistry


  Tamia Harris-Tryon, MD, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Univ. of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

    Fellows Class of 2020-2021

    Research Area(s): Immunology, Infectious Disease


profile_pic-Jones-Hall-blog    Yava Jones-Hall, DVM, Phd, DACVP

     Associate Professor, Texas A&M University

    Fellows Class of 2018

    Research Area(s): Veterinary pathologist


  Kizzmekia Corbett, PhD

   Assistant Professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

   Fellows Class of 2018

   Research Area(s): Infectious Diseases, Immunology

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is an advocator of STEM education and vaccine awareness in underserved communities.

**Watch our KSQA interview with Dr. Corbett about her work developing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine HERE!**


  Roslyn Crowder, PhD

   Associate Professor, Stetson University

   Fellows Class of 2018

   Research Area(s): Cell Biology


  Amy Brewster, PhD

   Associate Professor, Southern Methodist University

   Fellows Class of 2018

   Research Area(s): Neurobiology



   Samira Musah, PhD

   Assistant Professor, Duke University

   Fellows Class of 2018

   Research Area(s): Developmental Biology, Regenerative Biology



   Nesha Burghardt, PhD

   Assistant Professor, Hunter College, City University of New York

   Fellows Class of 2017

   Research Area(s): Neurobiology



   Paola Giusti-Rodriguez, PhD

   Assistant Professor, University of Florida 

   Fellows Class of 2017

   Research Area(s): Genetics/Genomics, Neurobiology


Dr. Paola Giusti-Rodriguez is the co-founder of the Latin American Genomics Consortium, which seeks to increase the representation of research participants from Latinx admixed ancestry in genetic studies on psychiatric disorders.


   Amanda Marie James, PhD

   Chief Diversity Officer & Associate Dean, Emory University

   Fellows Class of 2017

   Research Area(s): Neurobiology


Dr. Amanda Marie James serves as the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement in the Laney Graduate School at Emory University.


   Florastina Payton-Stewart, PhD

   Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, Xavier Univ. of Louisiana

   Fellows Class of 2017

   Research Area(s): Cancer


Dr. Florastina Payton-Stewart has dedicated her career to exposing and nurturing individuals and undergraduate students interested in pursuing careers in STEM, assisting with junior faculty, and enhancing university initiatives for recruitment, retention, diversity, equity and inclusion.


   Veronica Segarra, PhD

   Assistant Professor, High Point University

   Fellows Class of 2017

   Research Area(s): Biochemistry



   Leslie Ann Caromile, PhD

   Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut Health Center

   Fellows Class of 2016

   Research Area(s): Cancer


profile_pic-Finley-blog  Stacey Finley, PhD

    Gordon S. Marshall Early Career Chair & Assoc. Professor,                     University of Southern California

   Fellows Class of 2016

   Research Area(s): Cancer


   Lindsey Treviño, PhD

   Assistant Professor, City of Hope

   Fellows Class of 2016

   Research Area(s): Cancer


Dr. Lindsey Treviño focuses her efforts on health disparities research.


  Renata Pereira Alambert, PhD

   Assistant Professor, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

   Fellows Class of 2015

   Research Area(s): Metabolic Diseases



  Diana Cittelly, PhD

   Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Anschutz Med. Campus

   Fellows Class of 2015

   Research Area(s): Cancer, Neurobiology



  Melinda Aldrich, PhD, MPH

   Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University

   Fellows Class of 2014

   Research Area(s): Cancer


Dr. Melinda Aldrich focuses her efforts on health disparities research.


  Amanda Brown, PhD   

   Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

   Fellows Class of 2014

   Research Area(s): Neurobiology



   Senta Georgia, PhD  

    Assistant Professor, Saban Research Institute at Children's Hospital Los Angeles

    Fellows Class of 2014

    Research Area(s): Metabolic Diseases


   Sharilyn Almodovar, PhD 

    Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

    Fellows Class of 2013

    Research Area(s): Infectious Diseases



   Magdia De Jesus, PhD

    Director of Scientific Strategy and Portfolio Lead, Pfizer Inc.

    Fellows Class of 2013

    Research Area(s): Immunology, Infectious Diseases


Dr. Magdia De Jesus is currently developing a STEM pipeline program for Pfizer that targets middle school and high school students.


   Digna Valez Edwards, PhD   

    Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

    Fellows Class of 2013

    Research Area(s): Genetics/Genomics


Dr. Digna Velez Edwards focus her research on health disparities and women's health.


   Blythe Janowiak, PhD

    Associate Professor of Biology, Saint Louis University

    Fellows Class of 2012

    Research Area(s): Microbiota and Flora



   Kelly Craig, PhD  

     Deputy Chief Science Officer, IBM

     Fellows Class of 2012

     Research Area(s):Drug Discovery, Technology


Dr. Kelly Craig advances health equity through the design, implementation, and management of strategic initiatives to improve racial justice, workplace culture, data asset diversity, and use of digital technologies in healthcare.


   Lydia Contreras, PhD

    Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin 

    Fellows Class of 2012

    Research Area(s): Molecular Biology


profile_pic-Stranahan-blog (1)

   Alexis Stranahan, PhD

    Associate Professor, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta                  University

    Fellows Class of 2011

    Research Area(s): Metabolic Diseases, Neurobiology


   Caren Aronin, PhD

     Scientific Advisor/Patent Agent, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

     Fellows Class of 2011




     Tracie Locklear, PhD

    Research Assistant Professor, North Carolina Central University

      Fellows Class of 2011

      Research Area(s): Drug Discovery, Technology



     Dana Crawford, PhD

      Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of          Medicine

      Fellows Class of 2010

      Research Area(s): Genetics, Genomics

Dr. Dana Crawford has played leading roles in NIH-funded consortia dedicated to developing the infrastructure for national studies emphasizing diversity and promotes the cultivation of women and minorities in STEM education and research.

profile_pic-Koomoa-blog (1)

    Dana-Lynn Koomoa, PhD

      Associate Professor, University of Hawaii- Hilo, College of                    Pharmacy

      Fellows Class of 2010

      Research Area(s): Cancer

Dr. Dana-Lynn Koomoa is involved in activities to promote Native Hawaiians in STEM fields.


    Fatima Rivas, PhD

      Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University

      Fellows Class of 2010

     Research Area(s): Drug Discovery/Technology


   Cherié Butts, PhD

     Medical Director, Biogen

     Fellows Class of 2009

     Research Area(s): Drug Discovery, Immunology, Neurobiology


       Nicole LaRonde-LeBlanc, PhD

     Senior Principal Scientist, Pfizer Inc.

     Fellows Class of 2009

     Research Area(s): Molecular Biology, Infectious Diseases


We invite you to connect and learn more about all our Fellows by visiting our Fellows Directory HERE.