Inspiring Women Transforming Science

RFS virtual event highlighting success and spotlights critical changemakers!

Equity and representation in science matter more than ever, and the Rosalind Franklin Society continues its mission to recognize, foster, and advance the critical contributions of women and underrepresented minorities in science. Our annual conference highlights the innovators and changemakers with unique experiences and leadership.

Join us for this indispensable virtual event, showcasing dynamic leaders. We will again present an impressive panel of prestigious leaders in science, and a panel to highlight the unique path of scientists. As in the past, you will also want to hear first-hand from major new appointments in the Federal government and university leadership.

We will also feature presentations from prestigious scholars, industry, and government leaders, and a not-to-be-missed update on AI. Join us to continue the celebration of Dr. Franklin's life, work, and symbolic power, by recognizing outstanding women in science, cultivating more significant opportunities, and inspiring new generations of women.

Inspiring Women Transforming Science was produced with support from Cure., Pfizer, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., and Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. 

Day 1, Thursday, January 25 Day 2, Friday, January 26

University Leadership and Opportunities: Universities remain the wellspring of science research, education, and leadership. Over a long horizon, it is clear that women and underrepresented minorities have established their rightful representation as students, graduate students, and faculty, in many areas surpassing their male counterparts. What is critical now is to showcase their prestigious contributions and growing numbers. The opportunities and role models exist and our universities remain the training ground for all contributions in science.

Stacie Grossman Bloom
Provost for Research and Chief Research Officer, NYU

Janet Currie
Henry Putnam Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University (2023 Jacobs Research Prize)

Wesley L. Harris
Professor, MIT

Moderator: Uduak Thomas
Senior Editor, GEN Biotechnology

Leadership in National Initiatives: In the public sector and the private sector, nationwide initiatives have been key in providing visibility and opportunities for women and minorities. Our presenters in this session show the impressive range of success from Cabinet- level leaders, to NASA , to Brookhaven National Lab, to the Department of Energy, and the well-established STEM leadership provided by UNCF.

Wanda Barfield
Division of Reproductive Health, CDC

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe
Director of the Office of Science,Dept. of Energy

JoAnne Hewett
Director, Brookhaven National Lab

Rachel Levine
Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS

Neela Rajendra
Chief Inclusion Officer, NASA

Chad Womack
Senior Director, National STEM Programs and Initiatives, UNCF

Moderator: Uduak Thomas
Senior Editor, GEN Biotechnology

Critical Corporate Leadership Opportunities in industry for women and minorities have never been more welcoming. Both in recruitment and retention, this is well-documented. And leadership is well-established with impressive female CEOs establishing significant tenure and support for the pipeline. Our speakers today represent large and smaller corporations but both represent the kind of support and the myriad opportunities for research and growth.

Judith Absalon
Vice President, GSK

Cassandra Wesselman
Chief Marketing Officer, Rosalind Inc.

Moderator: Fay Lin
Senior Editor, GEN Biotechnology

Unique Opportunities in Biotech: Of course there are big opportunities in smaller places. Encouraging the entrepreneurial vein to launch a start-up or new academic department has been the lifeblood of many scientists Although many do bring experience from industry and academia, biotech opportunities highlight cutting-edge science. This session presents three different paths, all incredibly successful!

Marina Cavazzana
Director, Department of Biotherapy, Necker Hospital, Paris Descartes University; Co-founder, Smart Immune

Karine Rossignol
Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Smart Immune

Squire Servance
Founder and Managing Partner, Syridex Bio

Moderator: Kevin Davies
Executive Editor, CRISPR Journal and GEN Biotechnology

Sex Differences Research: Prestigious institutions and prestigious researchers continue to help us understand the existence and implications of sex differences, down to the genetic differences and the biological and medical ramifications of these differences. These are not social constructs and, sex differences, down to the molecular level, truly matter in incidence, severity, and progression of diseases. The Page Lab at MIT studies why sex matters in health and disease.

David C. Page
Professor of Biology, MIT Whitehead Institute; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Moderator: Julianna LeMieux
Senior Science Writer, GEN Biotechnology

Hottest Area of Research and Opportunities Across Disciplines: AI: No conference today would be complete without addressing the elephant called AI. Our presenters represent different sectors, but all are knee-deep in the development of AI, its promise and potential pitfalls, and the safety and security at its core. And our presenters are all some of the very few women in this field. Why is this, and what are the implications? Their experiences and predictions will be new to most of us.

Blythe Adamson
Senior Principle Scientist, Flatiron Health

Sarah McGough
Epidemiologist and Principle Data Scientist, Genentech/Roche

Claudia Perlich
Board Member, AI for Good Foundation

Moderator: Fay Lin
Senior Editor, GEN Biotechnology