Calling attention to meetings with skewed speaker gender ratios, even when it hurts, part 2

A few weeks ago I gave a talk at the Future of Genomic Medicine 2015 (aka #FOGM15) meeting.  The talk seemed to go over well.  I talked right after Martin Blaser in a session on “The Microbiome”.  I posted my slides and then a video of my talk as well as notes from the meeting: see My microbiome talk at #FOGM15 – the perils (and fun I guess) of redoing one’s talk at the last minute.  And I met some really interesting people at the meeting and enjoyed most of the talks I went to.

But alas, one thing stuck in my head from this meeting.  One single Tweet from someone out there threw me for a loop:

And this let to a bit of soul searching on my part.  Some of the conversations on Twitter are captured in this Storify:

Which I guess culminated in a post to the organizers of the meeting


Then, when I left the meeting I went to say goodbye to the organizers.  And, well, one of them did not take too kindly to the critique of the meeting, saying that they were doing a better job than other healthcare meetings.  I disagreed and said I thought they could do much better, but I had no numbers to cite at the time and the conversation ended there.

So on the way to the airport I started digging around for some numbers and I found some great resources – especially this from Rock Health.

And for the last few weeks I have continued to fester wondering – well – should I post more about this?  Should I dig into the gender ratio of the FOGM meetings in more detail?  Well, why do it?  Because I think it is important to know how meetings perform in terms of diversity.  Why not do it?  Well, I like Eric Topol and the other organizers.  And the meeting has many strong points.  But, as I wrote a few days ago – sometimes one needs to call attention to meeting gender ratio issues, even when it hurts.  

So then I decided to dig a little deeper and look at past versions of the “Future of Genomic Medicine”.  And, well, when I did this, things just do not look so good (detailed analysis is at the end of the post). (Note – for the numbers i counted all presenting slots – session chairs, keynotes, welcomes, etc.  The numbers are not much different if one counts just “talks”).

If one compares these meetings to the ones catalogued by Rock Health, the FOGM meetings are at the low end.  Not the worst certainly.  But definitely not something to be proud of.  And certainly something that could be improved upon enormously.  So I repeat the Tweet I posted during the meeting, and I stand by it, even if it means I am unlikely to be invited back and even if it means pissing off some big shots in the world of genomics …

If you are running a meeting, please consider the ways in which bias may creep into the speaker and session chair slots.  If speakers come from invitations, perhaps the invitation list is biased.  Perhaps certain types of people are more likely to say no to invitations.  Perhaps the timing of the meeting (e.g., on weekend) may lead certain types of people to not be able to participate.  Perhaps the meeting does not provide enough travel funds or child care or the right kind of schedule.  There are so many things that can lead to bias – from explicit bias against certain groups to very subtle implicit biases.  Consider inviting people from diverse career stages, which can open up speaking slots to more women and underrepresented minorities.  Consider providing child care.  Consider asking people why they say no to invitations to try and understand what is going on if many people say no.  Consider asking for help in finding speakers covering the diversity in the field.

If you do all these things, and the meeting still does not have diverse speakers, well, try some other things.  Keep trying to figure it out.  There are resources out there that can help.  Read things like Some suggestions for having diverse speakers at meetings (by me) and Ten Simple Rules to Achieve Conference Speaker Gender Balance (by Jenny Martin) and Increasing Diversity at Your Conference by Ashe Dryden (which is just completely awesome) and How To Create A More Diverse Tech Conference … and Would I attend my own conference? – O’Reilly Radar by Sarah Milstein.

Why is this important?  Well, speaking at a meeting is important for people’s careers.  It helps in merit and promotion and tenure cases.  It helps get their work recognized and known.  Speaking at a meeting is also good practice for speaking at other meetings.  Having diverse speakers also is important in terms of providing role models to attendees.  And having diverse speakers helps a meeting not just be about the same old, white, men talking about their ideas.  Or, in other words, it makes a meeting more, well, diverse.  And almost certainly more interesting.  And so on.  Diversity of speakers at meetings is important for 100s of reasons.  And don’t just focus on one aspect of diversity.  I post a lot about women speakers because, well, it is easy to make a reasonable guess as to whether a person is male or female.  But there are MANY other aspects of diversity to consider (see Increasing Diversity at Your Conference by Ashe Dryden (which I referenced above and which really is awesome).

Anyway – if you are organizing a meeting, make sure to think about these issues.  And do something about them.  And if you are invited to a meeting, look at the speaker list (if it is available) and consider saying no to speaking if the meeting has diversity issues (see a post of mine about doing this here: Turning down an endowed lectureship because their gender ratio is too skewed towards males #WomenInSTEM).

And if you are considering attending a meeting, consider diversity of speakers when deciding whether or not to attend.  Meetings with high diversity of speakers should be supported.  Meetings with poor diversity relative to possible candidate speakers (e.g., who is in the field) should be avoided, shunned, and called out.  We need to force change upon some fields and the only way will be to call out the bad apples.  Mind you, it is not possible to know WHY a meeting has a skew in terms of diversity of speakers.  Thus one additional thing to consider is whether something is a consistent pattern.  For example see my post about meetings from the National Academy of Sciences Sackler Colloquia – Apparently, the National Academy of Sciences thinks only one sex is qualified to talk about alternatives to sex #YAMMM. Sadly it seems to me that the FOGM meetings have a consistent pattern of poor representation of women among the presenters.  Unless the organizers commit to changing this, I think people should not attend this meeting in the future.


Detailed analyses of these meetings are below.

People I have identified as males are labelled in yellow.  People I have identified as females are in green.  I realize that this is an imperfect thing to do.  I may make mistakes in my inferences.  And dividing people into two categories is not representative of the true diversity in the human population.  But I still think this is a useful, informative thing to try to do.

2015 FOGM (schedule is from the one sent around to participants on 3/4/15)

  • Welcome
    • Eric Topol
    • Pateint #1 – Eunice Lee and Nilesh Dharajiya
    • Francis Collins
  • Session 1
    • Moderator Ali Torkamani
    • Diana Bianchi
    • Evan Muse
    • Stephen Quake
    • David Hoon
  • Session 2
    • Moderator Ali Torkamani
    • Mark McCarthy
    • Christopher Austin
    • George Yancopoulos
  • Session 3
    • Moderators Nathan Wineinger and Andrew Su
    • Atul Butte
    • Eric Schadt
    • Andrew Su
    • Joe Pickrell
  • Welcome Day 2
    • Patient #2
    • Eric Topol
  • Session 4: 
    • Moderator Ali Torkamani
    • Cristian Tomasetti
    • Nazneen Rahman
    • Roni Ziegler
  • Session 5
    • Moderators Kristin Baldwin and Fyodor Urnov
    • J. Keith Joung
    • Fyodor Urnov
    • TBD
    • Kristin Baldwin
  • Session 5
    • Moderator Kristian Andersen
    • Martin Blaser
    • Jonathan Eisen
    • Stephen Steinhubl
  • Session 6
    • Moderator David Goldstein  (he did not show up)
    • Elizabeth Worthey
    • Ali Torkamani
    • Seth Mnookin
    • Virginia Hughes
All speaker and session chair slots

  • Male: 30 (81%)
  • Female: 7 (19%)

Just speakers

  • Male: 23
  • Female: 6

2014 – Future of Genomic Medicine VII –  schedule from here

  • Welcome
    • Chris Van Gorder, FACHE
    • Eric J. Topol, MD
    • Patient / Family #1
  • Session 1
    • Frank McCormick
    • Bert Vogelstein
    • Elaine Mardis
    • Robert Nussbaum
    • Sarah Jane Dawson
    • Michael Pellini
  • Session 2
    • J. Craig Venter
    • Eric Topol 
    • Al Gore
    • Heidi Rehm
    • Muin Khoury
  • Session 3
    • Moderator Katrina Kelner
    • Leonid Kruglyak
    • Carl Zimmer
    • Magdalena Skipper
    • Chris Gunter
  • Session 4
    • Patient / Family #2
    • Athur Beaudet
    • Jay Shendure
    • Howard Jacob
    • Hakon Hakonarson
    • David Epstein
    • Nir Birzalai
    • Ali Torkamani
    • Jeffrey Hammerbacher
  • Session 5
    • Michael Specter
    • Jessica Richman
    • Andrew Feinberg
    • Russ Altman
    • Anne Wojcicki
    • Harry Greenspun
    • Zubin Damania


  • Male: 25 (76%)
  • Female: 8 (24%)

2013 – Future of Genomic Medicine VI – schedule from here

  • Welcome: Eric Topol
  • Patient / Family #1
  • Session 1:
    • Michael Snyder
    • William Gahl
    • Howard Jacob
    • Ali Torkamani
    • Gholson Lyon
    • Cinnamon Bloss
    • Misha Angrist
  • Session 2
    • Evan Eichler
    • Eric Schadt
    • Katrina Armstrong
    • George Weinstock
  • Session 3
    • Joe Ecker
    • Stephen Kingsmore
    • Stephen Quake
  • Session 4
    • Patient / Family #2
    • Siddhartha Mukherjee
    • Elaine Mardis
    • Daniel D. Von Hoff
    • Randy Scott
    • Susan Desmond Hellman
    • Elias Zerhouni
    • Janet Woodcock
  • Session 5
    • Peter Vesscher
    • David Goldstein
    • George Church
    • Jonathan Eisen
    • Atul Butte
    • AJ Jacobs
    • Neil Risch
    • Lonny Reisman
    • Daniel MacArthur


  • Male: 26 (84%)
  • Female: 5 (16%)

2012 Future of Genomic Medicine V – schedule from here

  • Welcome
    • Chris Van Gorder, FACHE
    • Eric J. Topol, MD
  • Joseph Beery and Family
  • Moderators: Samuel Levy, PhD and Eric J. Topol, MD
    • Samuel Levy, PhD
    • Matthew J. Price, MD
    • Julie Johnson, PharmD
    • Michael R. Hayden MB, ChB, PhD
    • William E. Evans, PharmD
  • Moderators: Evan Eichler, PhD and Sarah Murray,
    • Evan Eichler, PhD
    • Christofer Toumazou, PhD
    • Siddharta Mukherjee, MD, PhD
    • Sarah Murray, PhD
  • Moderators Nicholas Schork, PhD and Bradley Patay, MD
    • Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD
    • Isaac Kohane , MD, PhD
    • John A. Todd, FRS, PhD
  • Moderators Eric J. Topol, MD and Nicholas Schork, PhD
    • Howard J. Jacob, PhD
    • Joseph G. Gleeson, MD
    • Stanley F. Nelson, MD
    • Lynn Jorde, PhD (note – originalled labelled as female – corrected thanks to comment from Bruce Rannala)
  • Eric J. Topol, MD
  • Moderators: Aravinda Chakravarti, PhD and Richard Klausner, 
    • Aravinda Chakravarti, PhD
    • Joseph Nadeau, PhD
    • Nicholas Schork, PhD
    • Hakon Hakonarson MD, PhD
  • Moderator Eric Topol
    • Matthew Herper
    • Daniel B. Vorhaus, JD, MA
    • Issam Zineh, PharmD, MPH
  • Moderators: Elaine Mardis, PhD and Jeffrey Trent, PhD
    • Richard D. Klausner, MD
    • Thomas J. Hudson, MD
    • Jeffrey M. Trent, PhD
    • Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD
    • Elaine R. Mardis, PhD
  • Moderators: Samuel Levy, PhD and Fred Gage, PhD
    • Fred H. Gage, PhD
    • Bruce D. Gelb, MD
    • Joseph C. Wu, MD, PhD
All speaker and session chair slots

  • Male: 44 (88%)  45 (90 %)
  • Female: 6 (12%) 5 (10 %)

Just speakers

  • Male: 31 32 (91.4%)
  • Female: 4  3 (8.6%)

2011 Future of Genomic Medicine IV – schedule from here

  • Session 1: Moderators: Sarah S. Murray, PhD and Eric J. Topol, MD
    • Hannah A. Valantine, MD
    • Geoff Ginsburg, MD, PhD
    • Steve Shak, MD
    • Cinnamon S. Bloss, PhD
    • Matthew J. Price, MD
  • Session 2: Moderators: Bradley Patay, MD and Nicholas J. Schork, PhD
    • Kevin Davies, PhD
    • Thomas Goetz, MPh
    • Melanie Swan, MBA
  • Session 3: Moderators: Samuel Levy, PhD and Nicholas J. Schork, PhD
    • Kári Stefánsson, MD
    • Aravinda Chakravarti, PhD
    • Howard J. Jacob, PhD
    • Sarah S. Murray, PhD
    • James R. Lupski, MD, PhD
    • Nicholas J. Schork, PhD
    • Stephen L. Hauser, MD
    • David R. Bentley, D.Phil, F.Med.Sci.
  • Keynote: Juan Enriquez, BA, MBA
  • Session 4: Moderators: Robert L. Strausberg, PhD and Samuel Levy, PhD
    • Robert L. Strausberg, PhD
    • Elaine R. Mardis, PhD
    • Thomas J. Kipps, MD, PhD
    • Samuel Levy, PhD
    • Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD
    • Dennis A. Carson, MD
  • Session 5: Moderators: Eric J. Topol, MD and Bradley Patay, MD
    • Eric J. Topol, MD
    • Amy Harmon
    • Misha Angrist, PhD
  • Session 6: Moderators: Sarah S. Murray, PhD and Samuel Levy, PhD
    • Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD
    • Mark McCarthy, MD, F.Med.Sci.
    • Karen Mohlke, PhD
    • Stephen S. Rich, PhD
    • Philippe Froguel, MD, PhD
    • Muredach P. Reilly, MB, MS

All speaker and session chair slots

  • Male: 35 (80%)
  • Female: 9 (20%)

Calling attention to poor speaker gender ratio – even when it hurts

So I saw this Tweet earlier today

And that sounded very interesting. So I clicked on the link to check out the Plant Breeding for Food Security: The Global Impact of Plant Genetics in Rice Production A symposium honoring Dr. Gurdev Khush symposium.  And, then I went to the program.  And sadly I saw something there that was not to my liking.  The speakers were almost all male (men labelled in yellow, women in green)

  • Welcome to the Khush Symposium (Alan Bennett)
  • The Plant Breeding Center (Charles Brummer)
  • The Confucius Institute (Glenn Young)
  • Global food production – challenges and opportunities (Ken Cassman) Food production, technology and climate (David Lobell)
  • Panel – Impact of Gurdev Khush on plant genetics and food security Tomato genetics
    • (Dani Zamir)
    • (Pam Ronald)
    •  (Gary Toenniessen)
    •  (Gurdev Khush)
  • Lunch; The California Rice Industry (Kent McKenzie)
  • The rice theory of culture (Thomas Talhelm)
  • Recent advances in rice productivity and the future (David MacKill)
  • Hybrid rice technology contributions to global food security (Sant Virmani)
  • Super green rice (Qifa Zhang)
  • Tackling the wheat yield barrier (Matthew Reynolds)
  • African Orphan Crops – inspiration and execution (Howard Shapiro/Allen Van Deynze)

If this was a symposium outside UC Davis the first thing I would do would be to post about it.  To Twitter or my blog or both.  And to critique them.  Why?  Because there is a bad history in STEM fields of having meetings and conferences have under-representation of women as speakers.  And this has become a passion of mine and I write about it a lot.  But I hesitated.  Why?  Because this was from UC Davis and many of the people involved are friends / colleagues.  I did not want to anger them, or embarrass them.  And I don’t think there is any intentional bias here by any means.  But, if I am going to critique people outside UC Davis, it seems like I should also apply the same standards to people inside UC Davis and to colleagues and friends.

So I posted to Twitter a response:

But that did not seem sufficient.  So I wrote up this post.  Underrepresentation of women as speakers is a serious issue in STEM fields.  And it is solvable (e.g., see Some suggestions for having diverse speakers at meetings by myself and the wonderful Ten Simple Rules to Achieve Conference Speaker Gender Balance by Jennifer Martin).

Now – do I know who the possible speakers were for this symposium?  No – I don’t really know the field.  Is it possible that there just are no women in the field?  Sure.  But I would bet anything that is not the case here.  Having a meeting where the ratio of speakers is 16:1 male: female sets a bad example.  UC Davis and the organizers of this meeting can do better.  And though this will possibly hurt me in various ways (I already got grief from one person who I will not name for the Tweet), I think it is critical that we call out examples such as this.

And finally I note – I have taken on the issue of women at STEM conferences and meetings because, well, it is easy to identify cases where the numbers are anomalous and it is relatively easy to solve.  But it is also important that we consider other aspects of diversity of speakers (age, ethnicity, career stage, etc).  It is important to have diversity of speakers at meetings for many many reasons.  Speaking is a career building opportunity.  Speakers serve as role models for others.  Diverse points of view are important to have represented.  Bias – whether simplicity or explicit damages the whole practice of science.  And more.  Yes, we need to work on many aspects of diversity in STEM fields.  Improving the diversity of speakers at meetings is but one part of this.  But it is an important part and it is relatively easy to do.  So just do it.  And call attention to it.  Even if it hurts.

UPDATE 3/25 11:29 AM

The meeting organizers have responded on Twitter

Storify of some responses here


Today’s all male genomics meeting brought to you by Oxford Nanopores

The Tweets about this really say it all so I am just going to embed them here:





Really disappointed in Oxford Nanopores.  Perhaps we can get some of the speakers to cancel on them unless they fix things.

  • Ron Ammar, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Ewan Birney, European Bioinformatics Institute, UK
  • Thomas Hoenen, NIH/NIAID, USA
  • Nick Loman, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Brook Milligan, New Mexico State University, USA
  • Justin O’Grady, University of East Anglia, UK
  • Jared Simpson, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Canada
  • Yutaka Suzuki, University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Mick Watson, The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, UK
Update 3/8/15 
Well, after I posted about the Nanopore meeting there were some responses on Twitter. So I made a Storify

So I decided to check the meeting today to see whether they “fixed” anything.

Right now they list 11 male and two female speakers.  So that added two males and two females.  Better ratio.  Still pretty bad.  They really could do better …

Oxford Global Sequencing Meetings: Where MEN Tell You About Sequencing #YAMMM

Well, got an email invite to one of these Oxford Global Meetings. Sadly the gender ratio of listed speakers is awful. I highlighted the list below (men in yellow, women in green).  Ratio of 17:3.  (See below).  No thanks Oxford Global.

Dear Professor Jonathan Eisen ,
 We hope you are well and we would like to invite you to speak at our forthcoming Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) USA congress ( or co-located  Single Cell Analysis USA congress (www.singlecellusa-congress.comto be held on 27th –28th October 2015 at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
 Over the two days, the NGS USA congress aims to cover updates and application of NGS technologies in genomics and genetics research in the US and UK, Europe. Topics are comprised of NGS & NGS Data Analysis Technologies and Platforms, NGS for Cancer Drug Development, Microbiology and Immunotherapy as well as Clinical Applications & Diagnostics. Novel updates in Gene Synthesis, Protein Sequencing and Targeted Sequencing will also be explored The Single Cell Analysis USA congress looks at new methods in DNA sequencing, epigenomic DNA sequencing and RNA sequencing, informatics, data handling as well as application of single cell genomics in understanding cancer  other areas of cancer research such as cancer stem cells and immunotherapy. The presentations are also comprised of novel techniques in imaging and cytometry, isolation and processing of single cells. The congress also covers the applications in translational medicine and the clinic for therapeutic targeting.
 The combination of carefully researched topics and high-level networking opportunities creates a unique discussion platform for over 250 senior scientists we are expecting in attendance from research institutions and pharmaceutical companies. Confirmed Speakers for 2015 include:NGS·          Sreekumar Kodangattil, Senior Principal Scientist, Pfizer       
·          Shrikant M. Mane, Senior Research Scientist in Genetics; Director, MBB Keck Biotech laboratory; Director, Yale Center for Genome Analysis
·          Stephan Schuster, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Penn State University
·          Richard  McCombie, Professor, Human Genetics, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
·          Jingyue  Ju, Director, Center for Genome Technology and Biomolecular Engineering, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Pharmacology, Columbia University            
·          Christopher Mason, Chair, ABRF NGS Consortium, Assistant Professor, Weill Cornell Medical College. Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics; The Brain & Mind Research Institute
·          Michaela Bowden, Associate Director, Center for Molecular Oncologic Pathology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute      
·          Yuan Gao, Director, Associate Professor, Lieber Institute/Johns Hopkins University
·          Sheng Li, Instructor in Bioinformatics, Department of Neurological Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College
·          Michael  Fraser, Associate Director, CPC-GENE Prostate Cancer Genomics Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre    
 Single Cell·          Daniel Chiu, Professor, University of Washington    
·          Steve Potter, Professor, Division of Developmental Biology, Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center
·          Norman Dovichi, Professor, University Notre Dame 
·          Zaida Luthey-Schulten, Professor of Chemistry, University of Illinois
·          Paul Bohn, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame       
·          Navin Varadarajan, Assistant Professor, University of Houston
·          Alexander R., Ivanov, Director of the HSPH Proteomics Resource, Research Scientist
Harvard School of Public Health·          Viktor Adalsteinsson, Researcher, Researcher, Koch Institute at MIT, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Medical School
·          Xinghua Victor Pan, Research Scientist, Single Cell Genomics Group, Sherman Weissman Laboratory, Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine
·          Cheng-Zhong Zhang, Computational Biologist, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Another "Yet another mostly male meeting (YAMMM)" from BGI

Well just saw an announcement for this meeting on Twitter: The First Announcement of The Tenth Annual Meeting of the International Conference on Genomics (ICG

And I hoped beyond hope that they would have a decent representation of women speakers at the meeting.  Why did I hope this?  Well, in the past, BGI run meetings have had incredibly skewed gender ratios of speakers.  See this post for a discussion of their past record: Kudos to the DOE-JGI for organizing a genomics meeting w/ a good gender ratio – no kudos to BGI – yet again

I guess I had hoped that perhaps they would try to change their practices after I and other people criticized them for their past record.  So – I went to the web site for the ICG10 meeting advertised in the Tweet.  Oh well, silly me for hoping.

On the front page they have 14 speakers they are promoting – all of them male.

Screen shot from ICG10 web site

On the announcement page they have a slightly different list where the ratio is 14:1

  • Jef Boeke, NYU Langone University School of Medicine, USA
  • Sydney Brenner, 2002 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Singapore
  • Charles Cantor, Sequenom, Inc., USA
  • Julio Celis, Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Denmark
  • Richard Durbin, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK
  • Leroy Hood, Institute for Systems Biology, USA
  • Thomas Hudson, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Canada
  • Maria Leptin, Chair of EMBO, Germany
  • Maynard Olson, University of Washington, USA
  • Aristides Patrinos, J. Craig Venter Institute, USA
  • Mu-ming Poo, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • Richard Roberts, New England Biolabs, 1993 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, USA
  • Eils Roland, Heidelberg University, Germany
  • Mathias Uhlen, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Tilhuan Yilma, University of California, Davis, USA

Regardless, this is a consistent pattern of not having an even remotely balanced ratio of male to female speakers at their meetings.  And please, avoid their meetings until they change this.

Some suggestions for having diverse speakers at meetings

Been having a lot of discussions online in response to my post (Apparently, the National Academy of Sciences thinks only one sex is qualified to talk about alternatives to sex #YAMMM) tracking the awful gender ratio for speakers and session chairs at meetings run by the National Academy of Sciences in their Sackler series.  Some people were asking what one can do to improve gender diversity at meetings so I thought I would post this which I was meaning to do anyway …


I wrote this in an email to a meeting organizer after I had turned down their invitation due to the imbalance in gender of the speakers (more about this another time — this is not the same case as the one I wrote about here: Turning down an endowed lectureship because their gender ratio is too skewed towards males #WomenInSTEM). 

Anyway, my colleague wrote a long and very helpful email to me after I withdrew from the meeting when I saw the speaker list.  In the email she detailed things that her organization was trying to do to increase diversity of speakers at meetings.  She ended it with this:

Thus, I take your comment to heart and wanted you to know that I care about this issues as well.  I would love to hear how you balance these inequities at your meetings and learn as much as I can.  Thank you for taking the time to bring this up I know how busy you are and appreciate your candor. Truly looking forward to more scientific exchanges and perhaps some education around gender issues.

And I wrote back, quickly, without digging into the literature or all the posts in the world about this some quick suggestions which I think others might find useful. So here is my response – again – was not meant to cover all the things one can do – just examples:

Thanks so much for the response and I am really glad to see all you are trying to do in this area. 

In terms of how we try to balance inequities at meetings I organize I would note a few simple things

  1. Do not try to invite only the famous people or the people doing the “top” work.  This usually biases one towards more established researchers (as in, older) and this alas also usually is accompanied by distortion of diversity.
  2. DO try to invite people across the breadth of career stages.  Meetings to me should not be only about getting the PIs whose labs are doing the best work to talk.  It should also be about giving opportunities to junior researchers – PhD students, post docs and junior faculty who are doing exciting work – perhaps more focused or smaller scale – but nevertheless exciting.  If one opens up a invited speaker list to people at diverse career stages one generally greatly increases the gender and ethnic diversity. 
  3. DO try to invite people from diverse institutions – research universities, research institutes, companies, non profits, NGOs, the press, non research universities, and more.
  4. DO try to be flexible about times and dates for talks – I have found that women more than men have other commitments (e.g. kids) for which they cannot change dates of activities. 
  5. DO try to provide child care assistance (as you are doing).
  6. DO try to make sure women are on the organizing committee See
  7. DO make sure to provide travel funds.
  8. DO try to include some talks on related areas that may not be the main theme of the conference.  For example history of science and ELSI related topics increase the pool of women and speakers with diverse backgrounds which can be invited.
  9. DO ask the women who turn down invitations if they care to say why.
  10. DO commit to spending a decent amount of time searching for qualified female speakers.  Sometimes there are people who fit ALL the goals of a meeting and they are just missed because women on average have lower public profiles than men doing the same type of work.

Just some ideas off the top of my head.


see also 


Apparently, the National Academy of Sciences thinks only one sex is qualified to talk about alternatives to sex #YAMMM

Just got this email from Francisco Ayala:

January 9-10, 2015 

In the Light of Evolution IX. Clonal Reproduction: Alternatives to Sex 

Organizers: Michel Tibayrenc, John C. Avise and Francisco J. Ayala 

Beckman Center of the National Academies, Irvine, CA 

Evolutionary studies of clonal organisms have advanced considerably in recent years, but are still fledgling. Although recent textbooks on evolution and genetics might give the impression that nonsexual reproduction is an anomaly in the living world, clonality is the rule rather than the exception in many viruses, bacteria, and parasites that undergo preponderant asexual evolution in nature. Clonality is thus of crucial importance in basic biology as well as in studies dealing with transmissible diseases. 

This Colloquium will bring together specialists in various disciplines, including genetics, evolution, statistics, bioinformatics, and medicine. A balance will be sought between the various disciplines, including clonal animals and plants, animal and human cloning, pathogens, and cancer studies.   

Registration is now open

Registration fee is $150. 

Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers are eligible for discount fee of $100. 

All meals, break and reception refreshments listed on the agenda are included in the registration fee.
For more information, contact

Could be interesting right?  Alas, then, I clicked on the link.  And I discovered the meeting could also be referred to as “Only one sex talks about alternatives to sex”.  Men are highlighted in yellow. Women highlighted in green. (Note – I am making some guesses as to gender but I think these are reasoably accurate).

Organizers: Michel Tibayrenc, John C. Avise and Francisco J. Ayala 

I. General Considerations  

  • 8:30 AM Overview: The ILE Series. John C. Avise  
  • 8:40 AM Introduction and Chair, John C. Avise  
  • 8:40 AM  Can eukaryotes be considered clonally propagating cell lines with intermittent sex?, Dave Speijer, University of Amsterdam 
  • 9:30 AM Cancer in Parasitic Protozoan Trypanosoma brucei and Toxoplasma gondii, Zhao-Rong Lun, Sun Yat-Sen University 
  • 10:40 AM Mathematical Models of Clonality, Dominik Wodarz, University of California, Irvine 
  • 11:30 AM The Cost of Sex: Why Aren’t We All Clonal?, Claus-Peter Stelzer, University of Innsbruck 

II. Clonality in Multicellular Organisms  1:30 PM Chair, Zhao-Rong Lun

  • 1:30 PM  Genets, Ramets and Unisexual Reproduction in Plants, Spencer C.H. Barrett, University of Toronto
  • 2:20 PM Clonality in Asexual Invertebrate Animals, John M. Logsdon, Jr., University of Iowa
  • 3:30 PM Natural Clonality in Vertebrate Animals, John C. Avise, University of California, Irvine
  • 4:20 PM Artificial Cloning of Domestic Animals, Carol L. Keefer, University of Maryland

Keynote Address 

  • 6:45 PM Introduction, Michel Tibayrenc
  • 6:50 PM Cloning Humans: Biological and Ethical Considerations, Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine

III. Clonality in the Microbial World  

  • 8:00 AM Chair, Carol L. Keefer  
  • 8:00 AM Clonality and Intracellular Polyploidy in Virus Evolution and Pathogenesis, Esteban Domingo, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • 8:50 AM The Impermanence of Bacterial Clones, Howard Ochman, University of Texas, Austin
  • 10:00 AM Clonal Reproduction in Fungi, John Taylor, University of California, Berkeley
  • 10:50 AM Clonal Reproduction in Parasitic Protozoa, Michel Tibayrenc, IRD, Montpellier, France

IV. Clonality, Cancer, and Evolution

  • 12:50 PM Organismal Fitness, Somatic Evolution, and Cancer, James DeGregori, University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • 1:40 PM Cancer and Pathogens as Clonal Processes, Edwin L. Cooper, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 2:50 PM Stem Cell Competitions: Evolution, and Cancer Progression, Irving Weissman, Stanford University
  • 3:40 PM Clonal Reproduction: An Evolutionary Curse or Blessing?, Marcel E. Dorken, Trent University
  • 4:30 PM Concluding Remarks, Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine

So – whether you count just speakers, or speakers plus session chairs, the gender ratio is not good.  Really there is only one woman as far as I can tell involved with this meeting.  Sadly this is not the only meeting at the NAS Beckman Center with gender issues.  See this post for example Today’s YAMMM (Yet Another Mostly Male Meeting) Brought to You by CIFAR & NAS.  Does NAS even make any effort in regard to diversity of speakers?

UPDATE 10/25/14 – Some responses from Twitter




For more on this topic see my other posts on “Diversity in STEM

UPDATE 2: 10/26 – New NAS Sackler meeting after this one – better but barely in gender ratio

The next Sackler meeting after this one is on “Drawing Causal Inference from Big Data”.  Here are the speakers they list with the same colors as used above.

  • Edoardo Airoldi, Harvard University
  • Susan Athey, Stanford University 
  • Leon Bottou, Microsoft Corporation 
  • Danah Boyd, Microsoft Corporation
  • Peter Buhlmann, ETH Zurich 
  • Susan Dumais, Microsoft Corporation
  • Dean Eckles, Facebook 
  • James Fowler, University of California, San Diego  
  • Michael Hawrylycz, Allen Institute 
  • David Heckerman, Microsoft Corporation 
  • Jennifer Hill, New York University 
  • Guido Imbens, Stanford University
  • Michael Jordan, University of California, Berkeley 
  • Steven Levitt, The University of Chicago 
  • David Madigan, Columbia University
  • Thomas Richardson, University of Washington 
  • Bernhard Schölkopf, Max Planck Institute 
  • Jasjeet Sekhon, University of California, Berkeley 
  • Cosma Shalizi, Carnegie Mellon University  
  • Richard Shiffrin, Indiana University 
  • John Stamatoyannopoulos, University of Washington 
  • Hal Varian, Google, Inc. 
  • Bin Yu, University of California, Berkeley 

That is a ratio of 18:5 or 21% women.  Not sure what the gender balance is for people working on “big data” but still, given the Sackler’s recent issues with gender ratio in fields with an almost 50:50 ratio of men:women I am not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt here.  And I note – the link they provide for Susan Athey goes to the web site of Richard Shiffrin.  So I am just going to assume that the name on the list is correct not the link to Shiffrin.

UPDATE 3: 10/26 – Made a Storify to track discussion of this.

UPDATE 4: 10/26 — and another recent Sackler meeting

Epigenetic changes in the developing brain: Effects on behavior

This meeting was held March 28-29, 2014 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. and organized by Donald W. Pfaff (The Rockefeller University) and Eric Barrington Keverne (King’s College, Cambridge).

  • Introduction and welcome, Donald Pfaff and Barry Keverne
  • Session I. DNA methylation (Chair, Tom Insel)
    • Mechanisms that establish and maintain genomic methylation patterns in mammalian tissues, Tim Bestor, Columbia University
    • Signaling networks that regulate synapse development and dysfunction, Michael Greenberg, Harvard University
    • Impact of early life experiences on DNA methylation: Implications for brain development and behaviour, Frances Champagne, Columbia University
  • Session II. Histone modifications (Chair, Barry Keverne)
    • A histone methylation network regulates epigenetic inheritance, Yang Shi, Harvard University
    • Global Epigenomic Reconfiguration during Mammalian Brain Development, Joseph Ecker, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
    • H3.3 nucleosomal dynamics regulate synaptic development and plasticity in postreplicative neurons, Ian Maze & David Allis, The Rockefeller University
    • Steroid hormone actions on histone tail modifications in the brain, Donald Pfaff, The Rockefeller University
  • 14th Annual Sackler Public Lecture
    • Introduction – Diane Griffin, Vice President, National Academy of Sciences
    • Deconstructing circuits for motor behavior, Thomas Jessell, Columbia University
  • Session III. Genomic imprinting (Chair, Rusty Gage)
    • Genomic imprinting,action and interaction of two genomes in mother, Barry Keverne, Cambridge University
    • Epigenetic regulation of imprinted gene loci, Marisa Bartolomei, University of Pennsylvania Medical School
    • Monoallelic gene expression, Andrew Chess, Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Session IV. Non-coding RNA’s (Chair, Don Pfaff)
    • Linking RNA to Nuclear Architecture, John L. Rinn, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT
    • Human retrotransposons (“jumping genes”) in health and disease, Haig Kazazian, Johns Hopkins University
  • Session V. CNS applications (Chair, Tim Bestor)
    • Mobile Element Activity in Evolution and Disease, Fred Gage, Salk Institute
    • The Epigenetic Language of the Circadian Clock, Poalo Sassone-Corsi, University of California, Irvine
    • Epigenomics of Major Psychiatric Disease, Art Petronis, University of Toronto
    • Imprinting mechanisms underlying Prader Willi and Angelman syndromes, James Resnick, University of Florida
  • Closing remarks: Brain Exceptionalism, Tom Insel, Director, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH

So – if you just count all the speaking / session chair slots that comes to 24 slots to men and 3 to women for a wonderful 11% female percentage.  Even if you count just speakers (and not session chairs) the #s don’t look good.  Looking pretty bad NAS Sackler meetings.

UPDATE 5: Copying in my analysis of gender ratio at the most recent Sackler meeting on Symbioses becoming permanent: The origins and evolutionary trajectories of organelles which I refer to above but only via a link out to my post.  Here is the speaker analysis:

  • Organizers: W. Ford DoolittlePatrick Keeling, and John McCutcheon
  • Distinctive Voices Public Lecture presented by Michael Gray, CIFAR Advisor, Dalhousie University
  • Session 1: Genomes (evolutionary rates, oddities, and reduction)
    • Introduction and welcome remarks – W. Ford Doolittle, CIFAR Advisor & Patrick Keeling, CIFAR Program Director and Senior Fellow
    • John McCutcheon, CIFAR Associate Fellow, University of Montana
    • John Archibald, CIFAR Senior Fellow, Dalhousie University, Nuclear organelles 
    • Andrew Roger, CIFAR Senior Fellow, Dalhousie University, Organelle reduction 
    • Siv Andersson, Uppsala University, Alphaproteobacterial genome evolution 
    • David Smith, University of Western Ontario, Roots of genomic architecture variation 
    • Daniel Sloan, Colorado State University, Cytonuclear co-evolution under extreme mitochondrial mutation rates
    • John Allen, University College London, Why keep genomes?
  • Session 2: Integration/Control (trafficking, signaling, transporters)
    • Debash Bhattacharya, Rutgers University, Transporters in organellogenesis 
    • Nancy Moran, University of Texas, Austin, Insect endosymbionts 
    • Geoff McFadden, University of Melbourne, Diversity of protein trafficking
    • Chris Howe, Cambridge University, Why integrate?
    • Steve Perlman, CIFAR Fellow, University of Victoria, Maternal transmission, sex ratio distortion, and mitochondria 
    • William Martin, Düsseldorf University, Endosymbiont and organelle, what’s the difference? 
    • Moriya Okhuma, Riken University, Metabolic integration across endosymbiotic communities
  • Session 3: Theories and Models
    • Eors Szathmary, Loránd University, A fresh look at cooperation in some major transitions, especially the origin of eukaryotes
    • Marc Ereshefsky, University of Calgary, Evolutionary individuality
    • Peter Godfrey-Smith, City University of New York, Individuality and the egalitarian transitions 
    • Maureen O’Malley, University of Sydney, Philosophical Reflections on Endosymbiosis: Implications for Evolutionary Theory
    • Toby Kiers, University Amsterdam, Bacterial cooperativity
  • Closing remarks J. McCutcheon

That is a ratio of 19:4 for speakers slots for men vs. women.  Sensing a pattern anyone?

UPDATE 6: I feel much better now looking at the meeting before the developing brain meeting.  It is so much better (not). 

In the Light of Evolution VIII: Darwinian Thinking in the Social Sciences. January 10-11, 2014 at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, CA. 

  • Organized by Brian Skyrms, John C. Avise and Francisco J. Ayala
  • I.  Evolution of Social Norms
    • Bargaining and Fairness, Kenneth Binmore, University College London
    • Cooperation, Natalia Komarova, University of California, Irvine
    • Friendship and Natural Selection, James H. Fowler, University of California, San Diego
    • Reputation and Punishment, Michihiro Kandori, University of Tokyo
  • II. Social Dynamics
    • The Replicator Equation and Other Game Dynamics, Ross Cressman, Wilfrid Laurier University
    • Payoff-Based Learning Dynamics, Alvin Roth, Harvard University
    • Strategic Learning Dynamics, David K. Levine, Washington University
    • Cultural Evolution, Marcus W. Feldman, Stanford University
  • Keynote Address:  Public Goods: Competition, Cooperation, and Spite, Simon A. Levin, Princeton University
  • III. Special Sciences
    • Evolutionary Demography, Kenneth W. Wachter, University of California, Berkeley
    • Folklore of the Elite and Biological Evolution, Barry O’Neill, University of California, Los Angeles
    • Economics, Ted Bergstrom, University of California, Santa Barbara
    • Psychology, Dale Purves, Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School
  • IV. Applications
    • Evolutionary Implementation in Mechanism Design, Éva Tardos, Cornell University
    • Some Dynamics of Signaling, Brian Skyrms, University of California, Irvine
    • The Rate of Innovation Diffusion in Social Networks, H. Peyton Young, Oxford University
    • Homophily, Culture, and Coordinating Behaviors, Matthew O. Jackson, Stanford University

That is 15:2 males to females in speaking slots and also three main organizers. 

Update 7: A trend in meetings coorganized by John Avise and Francisco Ayala

I note the meeting above in Update 6 is the second recent meeting coorganized by John Avise and Francisco Ayala with a highly skewed gender ratio.  So I decided to go back and look at other meetings they coorganized.  For example here is the next most recent one.

In the Light of Evolution VII: The Human Mental Machinery

Organized by Camilo J. Cela-Conde, Raúl Gutiérrez Lombardo, John C. Avise and Francisco J. Ayala

This meeting was held January 10-12, 2013 at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, CA.

  •  I. Theory of Mind 
    • Theory of Mind: Darwin’s legacy, John Searle, University of California, Berkeley
    • Human mind and brain – pathological evidence, Robert E. Clark, University of California, San Diego 
    • Theory of Mind in Other Primates, Robert M. Seyfarth, University of Pennsylvania
  • II. Cognition
    • Evolution of Working Memory, Peter Carruthers, University of Maryland
    • The evolution of episodic memory, Norbert Fortin, University of California, Irvine
    • Natural Basis of Cognition, Terrence J. Sejnowski, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
    • Human and Animal Consciousness, Michael T. Alkire, University of California, Irvine
    • Co-Evolution: Culture, mind and brain, Chet C. Sherwood, George Washington University 
  • Keynote Address 
    • Unusual and Exceptional Capacities of the Human Mind, James L. McGaugh, University of California, Irvine     
  • III. Evolving Piece by Piece: Levels of Modularity in Neurobiology
    • Neuronal Networks of the Moral Judgment, Patricia Churchland, University of California, San Diego
    • Pathological Altruism, Barbara A. Oakley, Oakland University
    • Theory of Justice in Non-Human Primates, Sarah F. Brosnan, Georgia State University
    • Evolutionary Dynamics of Altruism, Martin Nowak, Harvard University
    • Human and Animal Neuroeconomics, Michael Platt, Duke University 
  • IV. Aesthetics 
    • Music and the Brain, Robert Zatorre, Montreal Neurological Institute 
    • Aesthetic and Ethnic Emotions, Oshin Vartanian, University of Toronto, Scarborough
    • Aesthetic Perception: Mind and Brain , Camilo J. Cela-Conde, University of the Baleares Islands, Spain

That is a ratio of 14:3 for speakers of men: women. //

UPDATE 8: The next most recent meeting coorganized by Avise and Ayala

In the Light of Evolution VI: Brain and Behavior
January 19-21, 2012
Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center
Organized by Georg F. Striedter, John C. Avise and Francisco J. Ayala

  • Session I. Brains in History: Descent with Modification
    • Chair, John C. Avise, University of California, Irvine
    • Evolution of Brain Development, Georg Striedter, University of California, Irvine
    • Evolution of Neuronal Cell Types, Nipam H. Patel, University of California, Berkeley
    • Homology and Homoplasy of Behavior and Neural Circuits, Paul S. Katz, Georgia State University
    • Evolution of Cognitive Traits, Lucia F. Jacobs, University of California, Berkeley
  • Session II. Brains in Ecology: Adapatation by Natural Selection
    • Chair, Georg Striedter, University of California, Irvine
    • Adaptation of Neuron-typical Molecules and Processes, Harold H. Zakon, University of Texas, Austin
    • Evolution of Specialized Sensory Systems, Kenneth C. Catania, Vanderbilt University
    • Evolution of Specialized Motor Systems, Andrew H. Bass, Cornell University
    • Evolving Neural Mechanisms of Social Diversity and Cognition, James L. Goodson, Indiana University
  • Keynote Address
    • Introduction, Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine
    • Evolution of Centralized Nervous Systems, R. Glenn Northcutt, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Session III. Evolving Piece by Piece: Levels of Modularity in Neurobiology
    • Chair, Lucia F. Jacobs, University of California, Irvine
    • Molecular Models in Neurobiology, Kenneth S. Kosik, University of California, Santa Barbara
    • Devolpmental Modules in Nervous Systems, Leah A. Krubitzer, University of California, Davis
    • Neuroanatomical and Physiological Modules, Jon H. Kaas, Vanderbilt University
    • Modularity of Cognitive Processes, Jessica F. Cantlon, University of Rochester
  • Session IV. Human Evolution: Brains and Behavior
    • Chair, Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine
    • Molecular Aspects of Human Brain Evolution, Todd M. Preuss, Emory University School of Medicine
    • Evolution of Primate Brain Morphology, Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
    • Evolution of Primate Brain Functions, Lizabeth M. Romanski, University of Rochester
    • The Evolution of Human Cognition, Clark Barrett, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Concluding Remarks
    • Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine
That isa ratio of 17:6 if one includes all slots (chairs, speakers, etc) or 14:5 if you just include speaking slots. 

UPDATE 9: This is NOT just about speaking at meetings.

I note – many of the Sackler meetings turn into special collections in PNAS and thus the limited representation of women speakers (which is a problem) is made worse by then directly affecting publishing in PNAS.

UPDATE 10: 10/27/14. Going back to another Avise/Ayala meeting from 2001

In the Light of Evolution V: Cooperation

Organized by Joan E. Strassmann, David C. Queller, John C. Avise, and Francisco J. Ayala
January 7-8, 2011

(Note Joan Strassmann is one of my favorite scientists and people on the planet – great to see her in a role as coorganizer here)

  • Session I. Foundations of Cooperation
    • John C. Avise, University of California, Irvine, Chair
    • Insect Societies: pinnacles of cooperation – Peter Nonacs, University of California, Los Angeles
    • Families in vertebrates – Dustin R. Rubenstein, Columbia University
    • The major evolutionary transitions In bacterial symbiosis – Joel L. Sachs, University of California, Riverside
    • Kin, kith, and kind: the varieties of social experience – David C. Queller, Rice University
  • Session II. Genetic Basis of Cooperation and Conflict
    • David Queller, Chair
    • Altruism and cheating in a social microbe, Dicytostelium discoideum – Joan E. Strassmann, Rice University
    • A prokaryotic model system –Greg Velicer, Indiana University
    • The evolution of restraint in simple communities – Ben Kerr, University of Washington
    • Selfish genetic elements – Jack H. Werren, University of Rochester
  • Banquet Lecture
    • Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine, Introduction
    • Evolution of insect society: eat, drink and be scary – Gene E. Robinson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Session III. Hamiltonian Medicine
    • Joan E. Strassmann, Chair
    • Genomic imprinting, helpers at the nest, and age at menarche David Haig, Harvard University 
    • Pathology from evolutionary conflict – Steven A. Frank, University of California, Irvine 
    • The sociobiology of drug resistance and pathogen virulence – Andrew Read, Pennsylvania State University
    • Microbial sociality: implications for disease – Kevin Foster, Harvard University
  • Session IV. Are Humans Different?
    • Francisco J. Ayala, Chair
    • Cooperation and conflict in traditional cultures – Beverly I. Strassmann, University of Michigan 
    • The cultural niche – Robert Boyd, University of California, Los Angeles
    • Social Bonds to Social Preferences; the foundations for human moral sentiments  – Joan Silk, University of California, Los Angeles
    • What does primate cooperation tell us? – Dorothy Cheney, University of Pennsylvania
  • Concluding Remarks
    • John C. Avise, University of California, Irvine

So – for speaking and chairing slots – that comes to a ratio of 17:5 male to female.  Even with Joan Strassmann being involved as a coorganizer (and she is truly wonderful in a million ways) this meeting still has the NAS and Avise/Ayala pattern of very few female speakers or session chairs, even in fields where ther are many candidates.  Yuck.

I think I would make one recommendation out of this to begin with – John Avise and Francisco Ayala should not be allowed to run any NAS meetings again.  And NAS needs to have and use policies on educating meeting organizers about gender bias and requiring some type of efforts to have reasonable representations of diversity among speakers and chairs.

UPDATE 11: Meetings from 1990s I went to while in graduate school

Just scanned in notes from some of these NAS Beckman Center meetings that I attended while in graduate school at Stanford.  I added them to my collection of “Retroblogging Meetings and Seminars: Posting Scans of Notes“.  The meetings then had even worse gender ratios of speakers.

1994: Tempo and Mode in Evolution.  See scans here. All speakers except one were male.
1997: Genetics and the Origin of Species. See scans here.

Don’t forget to positively highlight meetings w/ "good" gender ratio of presenters

As many know, I spend a decent amount of effort critiquing conferences that have poor speaker diversity (mostly focus on gender ratio).  Well I am also trying to start calling out in a positive way those meetings that do a good job with speaker diversity. And here is one: 2014 Xenopus Genetics meeting in Pacific Grove.  I was pointed to it in an email that was in response to a Tweet I posted (not sure if I have permission to say who this was from – will post if they say it is OK). (UPDATE 9/20 – it was Ian Quigley).

From what I compute – the ratio was 30:22 male: female.  I do not know what the ratio of the “pool” of speakers is but regardless, having 42% female speakers is a more even ratio than I have seen for most life sciences meetings.  So they deserve some props for this.

Female speakers highlighted in yellow.  Male in green.  

Keynote Lecture: Rebecca Heald

Special Lectures from John Gurdon and Marc Kirschner

Invited Speakers

Enrique Amaya, University of Manchester

Ruchi Bajpai, University of Southern California

Bill Bement, University of Wisconsin

Mike Blower, Harvard Medical School

Cliff Brangwynne, Princeton University

Josh Brickman, The Danish Stem Cell Center DanStem

Ken Cho, University of California, Irvine

Hollis Cline, The Scripps Research Institute

Frank Conlon, University of North Carolina

Lance Davidson, University of Pittsburgh

Eddy DeRobertis, University of California, Los Angeles

Amanda Dickinson, Virginia Commonwealth University

Carmen Domingo, San Francisco State University

Karel Dorey, University of Manchester

Jim Ferrell, Stanford University

Jenny Gallop, University of Cambridge

Jay Gatlin, University of Wyoming

Jean Gautier, Columbia University

Xi He, Harvard University

Ralf Hofmann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Jubin Kashef, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Mustafa Khokha, Yale University

Mary Lou King, University of Miami

Laurent Kodjabachian, Developmental Biology Institute of Marseille (IBDM)

Branko Lantic, Cardiff University

Dan Levy, University of Wyoming

Soeren Lienkamp, University of Freiburg

Karen Liu, King’s College

Laura Ann Lowery, Boston College

Ann Miller, University of Michigan

Brian Mitchell, Northwestern University

Anne-Helene Monsoro-Burq, Institute Curie

Kim Mowry, Brown University

Shuyi Nie, University of Georgia

Christof Niehrs, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)

Nancy Papolopulu, University of Manchester

Sabine Petry, Princeton University

Susannah Rankin, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Bruno Reversade, Institute of Medical Biology, A* Singapore

Dan Rokhsar, University of California, Berkeley

Hazel Sive, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Elena Silva Casey, Georgetown University

Francesca Spagnoli, Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)

Elly Tanaka, Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden

Gert Veenstra, Radboud University Nijmegen

Monica Vetter, University of Utah

Sara Woolner, University of Manchester

Phil Zegerman, University of Cambridge

Aaron Zorn, Cincinatti Children’s

Everything You Wanted to Know about the Lake Arrowhead Microbial Genomes meeting #LAMG14

The Lake Arrowhead Microbial Genomes meeting, which happens every other year, is starting tonight.  I love this meeting.  No bias here since I am now a co-organizer.  But I really love this meeting.  I am posting here some background information about the meeting for those interested.  We will be live tweeting the meeting using the hashtag #LAMG14.  This years program is here.

Posts of mine about previous meetings

Blog posts by others

Programs and notes from past meetings

Meeting Web Sites

I have uploaded slides from my previous presentations at the meeting

    Today’s YAMMM (Yet another mostly male meeting): pharma-nutrition #PN2015

    Just got pointed to (by Elisabeth Bik) an announcement for a meeting: Home : Pharma-Nutrition 2015 with a focus on “Linking the Microbiome with Nutrition and Pharma”.  And alas, the list of confirmed speakers is as follows:

    • Keynote Speaker
      • Martin J. Blaser, NY University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA
    • Speakers
      • Gregor Reid, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada 
      • Alain van Gool, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands 
      • David Hafler, Yale, New Haven, CT, USA 
      • John F. Cryan, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland 
      • André Marette, Laval University, Montreal, QC, Canada 
      • Charles R. Mackay, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
      • Alan L. Landay, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA

    Yay.  All men.  How wonderful.  Because, you know, there are no women working on the microbiome and nutrition right?  Ugg.

    Seems like they are still working on getting more speakers.  I will send this blog post to the organizers and see what they say.  But suffice it to say I am very disappointed in them.  Oh, and shockingly, the two organizers are men: Johan Garssen and Alan Landay.

    These YAMMMs (Yet Another Mostly Male Meeting) really have got to be killed.  People should not got to them.  People should not speak at them.  And the organizers should not be allowed to run other meetings unless they can explain themselves and provide evidence that they will work to not have this happen again.


    I found the program committee for the meeting.  Alas the gender ratio there is lame too.

    • John F Cryan, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
    • Alain van Gool, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    • David Hafler, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
    • Charles R Mackay, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
    • André Marette, Laval University, Sainte-Foy, QC, Canada
    • Gregor Reid, Lawson Health Research Institute, London, ON, Canada

    And a bit strangely – all of the people on the program committee are speakers.  No bias there.