Distinguished biochemist speaks on diversity in science and academia

Bil Clemons, professor of biochemistry, California Institute of Technology

The Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the College of Science are delighted to host Dr. Bil Clemons a professor of biochemistry at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for a research seminar and an open discussion on the value of diversity in science on Wednesday, February 28. Clemons will present a biochemistry and biophysics research seminar, entitled “Structural insights into the targeting of tail-anchored membrane proteins to the ER,” at 3:30 p.m. in ALS 4001.

Clemons will lead an open discussion on the intersection of science and diversity at the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center on February 28, 2-3 p.m. Students, faculty, staff and postdocs from all disciplines and programs are welcome to attend and participate in what promises to be an engaging and spirited discussion on diversity in higher education.

Since his days as a graduate student, Clemons has made many notable contributions in structurally characterizing important biological systems, including the ribosome and the protein-conducting channel in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane. With his lab members at Caltech, Clemons carries out research on structural biology with a focus on understanding the biogenesis of membrane proteins.

Clemons is involved in mentoring and advocacy efforts targeted at increasing diversity and the enrollment of minority students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and medicine) fields. As a member of the President’s Diversity Council at Caltech, Clemons is broadly engaged in efforts to improve diversity and inclusion on his campus.

“From my perspective increasing diversity in science and STEM fields is important because all members of our community can contribute to improve the world. We need to attract the best and brightest to the STEM community in a way that is inclusive and representative of our broad society,” Clemons observed.  “Students from different backgrounds bring unique perspectives and create a broader impact that we don’t want to miss out on,” he added.

Referring to his own journey as an academic, Clemons noted that a good support network is essential for creating a diverse and inclusive pipeline for the STEM workforce.

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