100 inspiring black scientists in America. Cell Press, Cell Mentor.


A few months ago, an African-American colleague of mine was speaking with an undergraduate student. During the conversation, the student raised two poignant questions: (1) are there any other black science professors, and (2) if they do exist, why aren’t we learning about their accomplishments in our curriculum? Conversation like this are all too common, and if we don’t this perception, young black scientists won’t realize the amazing legacy they come from. When Dr. Saboor raised this conversation with me, I immediately acted. There’s a plethora of black scientists who make significant contributions to science, but many of them are unknown to the masses. It’s imperative that young black scientists know about the myriad accomplished scientists from African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, and African-American backgrounds in the fields of life sciences, chemistry, engineering, and physics. To provide some revelation and encouragement to existing and forthcoming generations of scientists, I worked with my colleagues Zer Vue and Haysetta Shuler to compile a list of 100 inspiring black scientists. We’ve included 75 established investigators that range from tenure track Assistant Professors to Associate Professors and Full Professors. The last 25 scientists included are those that we consider rising stars. Our hope is that this resource will have a significant and long-lasting effect on all members of the scientific community and continue to emphasize the need for diversity in the academy. Please keep in mind that there are many more black scientists in the United States, but this list provides an example for what universities, societies, and nonacademic institutions should take the initiative to do.