Minority Diversity Initiative Programs

Program Goal

The goal of the BCM-HGSC Diversity Initiative is to interest minority students in genomic science careers. We achieve this goal by preparing under-represented interns and post-baccalaureates to obtain Ph.Ds.  We need a diverse student body and faculty in the biomedical workforce interested in addressing the many genetic and genomics causes of diseases. These scientists will bring a diversity of ideas and approaches to conquer the challenges caused by the many conditions that burdened minority populations.

Underrepresented minorities are identified by the BCM-HGSC as African American, Hispanic American, Native American, and Pacific Islander.

Launched in 2003, our diversity programs are funded by NHGRI to provide undergraduate students and BCM-HGSC employees with research opportunities and helpful research skills and tools to pursue a career in genetics and genomics.  Currently, 22 program alumni have earned Ph.Ds.’, and 18 are in various stages of the Ph.D. pipeline.

Program Alumni: Where are they now?

We highlight the success of program trainees. Several HGSC-DI alumni are pictured in doctoral cap and gown (captions include alum name, doctoral granting department/institution with current job title (present job site not listed).

Lori Banks, Ph.D.
Molecular Virology and Microbiology-Baylor College of Medicine
Assistant Professor

Demarcus Briars, Ph.D.
Bioinformatics-Boston University
Lead Computational Biologist/Part Owner


Johneca Edwards Broussard, O.D.
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

Armand Brown, Ph.D.
Microbiology and Immunology - University of Texas-Health Science Center-San Antonio
Post-Doctoral Fellow


Alejandra Chavez, Ph.D.
Pharmacology, University of Illinois-Chicago
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Abdul Gabisi, PharmD.
Texas Southern University School of Pharmacy
Clinical Pharmacist I


Jaleesa Garth, Ph.D.
Microbiology Department - University of Alabama-Birmingham
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Anel Lizcano, Ph.D.
Microbiology and Immunology-University of Texas-Health Science Center- San Antonio
Post-Doctoral Fellow


Stacy Lloyd, P.D.
Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health


Emuejevoke Olokpa, Ph.D.
Cancer Biology, Meharry Medical College
Biotech Industry Intern


Natasha Pacheco, Ph.D.
Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics Theme - University of Alabama-Birmingham
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Erica Taylor, Ph.D.
Cellular and Molecular Physiology, University of Alabama-Birmingham


Mary Wesley, DrPH
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Office Director I