Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion


The Department of Cell and Developmental Biology (CDB) recognizes that many generations of systemic racism have created disproportionate and often unspoken barriers to access and resources that impact Black and Brown people in myriad ways. We recognize that people of color – especially Black people in America – have had many experiences of bias and racism, both interpersonal and systemic. These injustices exist in academia and in science, but they have deep roots, and have often prevented members of these groups from reaching our doors. We acknowledge that we have a responsibility to all of our colleagues – staff, students, postdocs and faculty alike – to provide a safe, supportive, anti-racist, and actively inclusive environment, and to amplify the voices of those who have been oppressed. We also recognize the undeniable persistence of racism in healthcare and its catastrophic effects on marginalized communities. As a basic science research department within a medical school, we have a unique perspective, as our laboratories participate in a wide range of basic science research, training both bench scientists and clinicians who will provide direct patient care. Thus we have a unique responsibility: as we prepare our trainees and colleagues to spread their influence in the Penn community, the scientific community, and the world, we aim to provide structure and education to empower everyone who passes through our department to successfully contribute to ending these inequities and racism by explicitly addressing these biases.


The mission of the CDB Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is to foster a Department that embraces the diversity of our members and provides equitable access to our community for people of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, sexual orientations, physical and neurocognitive abilities, and religions. We aim to address the interpersonal and structural biases that can cause unjust conditions within our Department by proactively removing barriers and creating educational and professional opportunities for people underrepresented in science.


Our members pledge to pursue our Mission in a manner consistent with our Committee’s core values:

Honesty – Addressing inequities in our Department requires a sincere reckoning with the racist, sexist, and other discriminatory tendencies that have shaped our society and the scientific community. We pledge to evaluate our current environment with open eyes and seek to understand the lived experiences of all Department members, grounding our deliberations in data wherever possible.

Respect – We pledge to treat everyone as individuals who deserve the full measure of regard for their inherent value regardless of their identity or role in the Department. We will assume good faith in all discussions and treat all thoughts shared with our Committee as genuine attempts at constructive discussion.

Transparency – We will be open about our processes, findings, and recommendations while observing due discretion for sensitive personal disclosures. All Department members are welcome to engage the Committee and receive an accurate account of our work.

Creativity– Science is a creative endeavor, and our Committee will bring that same approach to our work. We will find novel solutions where necessary and encourage thoughtful, open inquiry into the best means to reach our goals of equity, diversity, and inclusion.


  • Santosh Adhikari
  • Katherine Alexander
  • Juan Alvarez
  • Mikael Garabedian
  • Beth Harvey
  • Dan Kessler (Chair)
  • Chris Krapp
  • Mustafa Mir
  • Apratim Mukherjee
  • Abby Siniscalco
  • Doerte Smith
  • Lauren Lavelle