Leading Edge Symposium [May 17, 2023]

Empowering early career scientists and improving gender diversity of life sciences faculty at the highest levels

What is Leading Edge?

Leading Edge is an initiative to improve the gender diversity of life sciences faculty in the United States by providing women and non-binary postdocs with

1) a platform to present their work,
2) an opportunity to meet and connect with one another,
3) mentorship and career development training from world leaders in biomedical research.

The Leading Edge is a cross-institutional initiative whose mission is to retain and promote women and non-binary people in the life sciences, and increase gender diversity at the highest levels of life science research in academia.

Data shows that the faculty stages are the most urgent and high-value targets for increasing gender diversity. Leading Edge targets 2 key attrition steps for women and non-binary biomedical researchers.

1. The Fellows Program supports the postdoc-to-Assistant Professor transition
2. The Scholars Program supports the Assistant-to-Associate Professor transition

The Fellows Program has been successful over the last 3 years in engaging 136 Fellows including 4 non-binary people, 5 trans women, 17 Black women, 20 East Asian women, 17 Latina women, and 14 South Asian women from institutions across the country. Thus far, 46 Leading Edge Fellows have obtained tenure-track faculty positions.  We heard about the strategies this program employs which have led to its remarkable success.


Leading Edge Co-Directors:
Kara McKinley (Assistant Professor, Harvard University)
Gira Bhabha (Associate Professor, NYU School of Medicine).

Leading Edge Advisory Board:
    Bonnie Bassler (Princeton University)
    Kara Coleman (Pew Biomedical Programs)
    Jennifer Garrison (Buck Institute)
    Tracy Johnson (UCLA)
    Anita Pepper (Jane Coffin Childs Foundation)
    Ron Vale (Janelia Research Campus)