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Your Environment. Your Health.

2018 NC Women of Color Research Network Annual Symposium

May 31, 2018

women of color


The Agenda (472KB)  is available online.


Chandra Jackson
Chandra Jackson

Chandra Jackson, Ph.D., M.S. joined the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch as an Earl Stadtman Investigator in 2017, and also holds a secondary appointment at the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities. She earned a M.S. in Cardiovascular Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Ph.D. in Cardiovascular Epidemiology from The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She conducted epidemiologic research as an Alonzo Smythe Yerby postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Research Associate at the Harvard Catalyst Clinical and Translational Science Center.

Her research has been presented at national scientific conferences and published in academic journals (e.g., JAMA Internal Medicine, American Journal of Epidemiology), as well as major media outlets (e.g. US News & World Report, The New York Times). Jackson also serves as a member of the editorial board of Sleep Health, the journal of the National Sleep Foundation. She has received merit-based awards at Johns Hopkins and Harvard, including the Charlotte Silverman Award for outstanding commitment to public health, policy, and community outreach, an Outstanding Fellows Award at Harvard, as well as the Novartis Institutes Biomedical Research Postdoctoral Award.

Ruthie Lyle
Ruthie Lyle

Ruthie D. Lyle, Ph.D. is the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from New York University's Tandon School of Engineering (previously known as Polytechnic University).

A few months after completing her studies she began a career with IBM that spanned approximately 14 years. During her tenure with IBM, she held positions in hardware and software design, intellectual property management and technical project management. She is among the first African American Technologists to achieve the distinction of IBM Master Inventor. Ruthie holds 159 issued patents. She successfully passed the Patent Bar and is a Registered USPTO Patent Agent.

Now a Strategic Innovation Direction with USAALABS, she takes her inventive spirit one step further by looking at emerging technologies and turning ideas into customized and new business solutions. She celebrates the USAA Mission and is strongly committed to the USAA's Core Values — Service, Loyalty, Honesty, and Integrity. She is part of a forward looking R&D Team and focuses her research on the impact of the Internet of Things with respect to USAA's mission to meet the needs of its members.

Ruthie is a wife, a mother, and an avid supporter of education and activates that encourage women and underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in STEM fields. She also enjoys recreation running.

Molly Puente
Molly Puente

Molly Puente, Ph.D. has been a Grants Management Officer with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) since 2011 and a Supervisory Team Leader since 2016. Before coming to NIEHS, Molly was a Grants Management Specialist for the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), and a Presidential Management Fellow at NIH, where she rotated in extramural research offices at NIEHS, Fogarty International Center (FIC), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Office of the Director's Office for Policy of Extramural Research Administration (OPERA) and Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI, now part of DPCPSI). Molly came to NIH in 2007, following completion of her PhD in Entomology from North Carolina State University. During her doctorate program she was an active fellow of the W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, where she developed a strong interest in interdisciplinary research administration and policy. Pursuing her administrative interests, Molly earned a Masters in Public Administration in 2006. She received her B.S. in Biology from Duke University in 2001.

Sharlini Sankaran
Sharlini Sankaran

Sharlini Sankaran, Ph.D., is Executive Director of Duke University's Regeneration Next Initiative, a cross-campus initiative that brings scientists, engineers, and clinicians together to advance discovery and applications in regenerative medicine. She has over ten years' experience leading complex, cross-disciplinary programs involving multiple stakeholders at the University and State levels. Her research interests include data systems and STEM career outcomes. She enjoys tackling challenges that combine her multidisciplinary engineering and scientific background with her leadership experience.

As a typical extrovert, Dr. Sankaran enjoys working with different stakeholders and making connections that may not be immediately obvious. She holds a Ph.D. In Biomedical Engineering from UNC Chapel Hill, and the Masters and Bachelors degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ohio University, Athens Ohio.

Elizabeth Wayne
Elizabeth Wayne

Elizabeth Wayne, Ph.D. is an award-winning biomedical engineer, TED Fellow, speaker, and advocate for women in higher education. She is also the co-host of the show PhDivas Podcast.

Dr. Wayne received her bachelor's degree in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania where she was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and Moelis Access Science Scholar. Dr. Wayne continued her education at Cornell University, where her research on the role of immune cells in cancer progression and their potential as drug delivery carriers was supported by funding from the National Cancer Institute Physical Sciences in Oncology Network and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2016, Dr. Wayne earned her PhD in biomedical engineering where her work in immune cell-mediated drug delivery resulted in several publications and a technology patent. Dr. Wayne's current research uses macrophages to delivery therapeutic genes to solid tumors.

Dr. Wayne is a strong advocate for women in science and entrepreneurship. She has been a chief organizer in the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWIP) at Cornell as well as a panelist and workshop leader at CUWiPs held at Yale and Harvard. She has received awards for her advocacy including the Constance and Alice Cook Award. in 2017, Dr. Wayne was featured in the Super Cool Scientists: A Women in Science Coloring Book.

Dr. Wayne is currently a National Cancer Institute Cancer Nanotechnology Training Program Postdoctoral Fellow in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at UNC-Chapel Hill. She was recognized as a 2017 TED Fellow for her cancer nanotechnology research and efforts to amplify voices of women in leadership and higher education through her podcast PhDivas. Dr. Wayne has been featured in various publications including Bust Magazine, Cornell Chronicle, and the LA Times. As a speaker, Dr. Wayne works with high schools, colleges, and nonprofit organizations across the country to encourage the inclusion of women in science, engineering and entrepreneurship.

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