Neuroscience Program

Commitment to DEI

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Excellence in science is enhanced by a diversity of people, perspectives, and backgrounds who learn, teach, and share ideas in an inclusive and accepting environment.

In recognition of this fact, for over two decades our department has participated in many activities designed to recruit and retain undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds. These activities include sponsoring a booth at the annual SACNAS and ABRCMS national conferences, at which faculty, students, and administrators from our programs represent Brandeis. At these meetings, students present their own scientific research and collaborate with faculty and staff to encourage prospective students to apply to our programs. The Biology Department has been home to a number of different summer undergraduate research experiences over the years that aid in our diversity efforts by allowing us to recruit and mentor students from a wide range of backgrounds. Our most recent NSF REU Site in Cell and Molecular Visualization was continuously funded from 2014-2019. We have also built relationships with colleges and universities that educate a disproportionate number of students from historically marginalized backgrounds (e.g. UMass Boston) which has resulted in numerous students attending summer research programs at Brandeis and matriculating into our PhD programs.

Despite these efforts, the Biology Department and Program in Neuroscience recognizes that, as with many institutions, our community was shaped by historic inequities to marginalized communities and thus, still falls short of this goal. Our work to build a more equitable and inclusive learning environment continues.

Joint Biology/Neuroscience DEI Committee

Mission Statement:

The goal of this committee is to foster a more inclusive and equitable culture in the Biology and Neuroscience programs. The Bio/Neuro research community includes faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and undergraduate students working in research labs. Representatives from these different constituencies make up our committee which allows us to obtain a holistic view of the department climate with respect to DEI and allows for communication within and across groups. Some of our tasks include identifying DEI climate issues and taking action to address any problems. In response to issues brought to our attention, we offer DEI educational opportunities, moderated by experts in the particular topic, for our community. We also learn from others by attending conferences directly related to DEI issues (e.g. National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE)) and meeting students from historically underrepresented  groups at scientific conferences such as SACNAS and ABRCMS.

  • Sebastian Kadener, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology
  • Melissa Kosinski-Collins, PhD, Professor of Biology
  • Suzanne Paradis, PhD, Professor of Biology (Committee Chair)
  • Aishwariya Iyengar, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar
  • Jared Newell, doctoral student Program in Neuroscience
  • Jamie Stonemetz, doctoral student Program in Neuroscience
  • Jane Theriault, PhD, Academic Administrator
Past Members:
  • Gretchen Schneider, MS, Director MS in Genetic Counseling Program
  • Víkko Suárez Casanova, PhD Candidate in Neuroscience
Faculty, staff, postdocs, and students can contact the Committee at for discussion of DEI related concerns and/or referral to appropriate University resources.

Resources for discussing or reporting DEI issues

Brandeis Counseling Center

The Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) provides counseling for students in times of stress, and encourages them to ask for help with their most immediate concerns. Counseling is available to all students regardless of whether they have Brandeis health insurance or outside insurance.

PARC (Prevention, Advocacy and Resource Center)

Provides education, empowerment and support related to sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence and stalking. The Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center (PARC) is a confidential, student-centered resource serving all members of the Brandeis community who have been impacted by violence. We offer a variety of ways to engage with us focused on both prevention of and response to violence.

Ombuds Office

The Ombuds staff remains available virtually as a confidential, independent, impartial, and informal resource for all members of the Brandeis community including undergraduates and graduate students, faculty, staff and alumni. In our role as ombuds, we support the dignity, well-being and safety of each person who visits us by providing a safe space to talk confidentially and off the record about difficult situations and offer conflict resolution support.


Brandeis chaplains offer counseling, support and community to students of all faiths. The chaplains oversee on-campus worship and student religious life while also offering community support in times of joy and crisis. 

Reporting Resources (Non-Confidential)
The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO)

This office is responsible for addressing all issues of discrimination, harassment and sexual violence within the Brandeis community.  If you have experienced an incident related to these issues, you can report this through their report page on their website either anonymously or by giving your contact information.

Report It Webpage

If you have concerns about the well-being of a student or other concerns, you can use Brandeis’s Report It page, where there are a number of different reports available depending on the nature of the concern (e.g., sexual misconduct, mental health, harassment, etc.).  

Additional resources to support community members can be found on the DEI Resources page.