ASM’s Inclusive Leadership Program, MicroBio-LEAP, Welcomes New Task Force
Washington, D.C. – June 2, 2023 – ASM is pleased to introduce the newly appointed members of the Microbiology Leaders Evolving and Accountable to Progress (MicroBio-LEAP) Task Force.
MicroBio-LEAP is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project, which aims to promote inclusive diversity with equity, access and accountability (IDEAA) across the microbial sciences. ASM’s MicroBio-LEAP project complements ASM’s diversity and inclusion efforts, including the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) and the Future Leaders Mentoring Fellowship (FLMF). While ABRCMS and FLMF work to infuse IDEAA across the field through dedicated professional development for scientists from diverse backgrounds, MicroBio-LEAP will focus on igniting culture change in the field by training senior-level leaders as poised IDEAA champions.
By participating in MicroBio-LEAP, leaders in STEM will develop and strengthen their IDEAA strategies to increase their intercultural awareness and dismantle unconscious biases. Training will go beyond awareness and ensure leaders take action, while promoting individual introspection. These skills and strategies will allow participants to operate as champions of IDEAA throughout the microbial sciences field, helping them advance the field by weaving IDEAA into the principles and policies of their communities. Through this process, the MicroBio-LEAP project will develop and sculpt leaders into IDEAA change agents, fueling a cultural shift across the microbial sciences to elevate, embody and embrace IDEAA.
ASM held a 4-week long open call for the MicroBio-LEAP Task Force from February to March of 2023. Thirty-two applicants responded to 9 open-ended questions detailing their interest in the position, as well as their experience in IDEAA. ASM’s IDEAA Committee and the IDEAA staff team thoroughly reviewed all applicants and selected the 6 Task Force members.
Carla Bonilla, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of San Diego, will chair the MicroBio-LEAP Task Force. Bonilla is a founding member of the Microbes and Social Equity working group, which aims to generate discussion around issues of microbial research, policy, pedagogy and social equity.
Five additional members will participate on the task force:
Phoebe Lostroh, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Colorado College. Lostroh is also a molecular microbiologist and author of the prize-winning textbook, The Molecular and Cellular Biology of Viruses.
Daniel McArdle, M.S., MSM, is a senior specialist at Merck & Co. Inc. who specializes in nonclinical drug safety (NDS). McArdle runs global operations for several functional groups and is the lead in supporting equipment tracking within the NDS environment.
Iyiola Oladunjoye is a Nigerian microbiologist who focuses on addressing the infectious disease burden throughout Africa through a systemic approach known as One Health. Oladunjoye is currently studying at the University of Antwerp in the Master of Leading International Vaccinology Education program.
Lee Hughes, Ph.D., is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Science and an associate professor of biology at the University of North Texas (UNT). Hughes is also director for UNT’s Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science Program, an affiliate program of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science Education Alliance.
Douglas Johnson is a Ph.D. candidate at the Medical University of South Carolina. Johnson’s passions involve engaging in microbiome and immune-related translational science research and using this knowledge to improve health outcomes in diverse populations.
The MicroBio-LEAP Task Force, in collaboration with the IDEAA Committee of the Board and consultant experts in diversity, equity and inclusion, will develop and carry out the training-of-leaders (ToL) curriculum for the pilot project. Through lectures, group discussions and coaching, approximately 25 ASM leader scholars will increase their awareness and understanding of IDEAA, develop best practices for integrating IDEAA in STEM and promote IDEAA within the microbial sciences. ASM and the MicroBio-LEAP Task Force will conduct an open call for ToL scholars later in 2023.
To assist with the ToL curriculum development, the MicroBio-LEAP Task Force has developed a survey to help inform and design the ToL curriculum. The Task Force invites you to complete the survey and share your feedback.
The American Society for Microbiology is one of the largest professional societies dedicated to the life sciences and is composed of 30,000 scientists and health practitioners. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.
ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications, educational opportunities and advocacy efforts. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.