Vanderbilt joins Meharry Medical College, Fisk University in hosting Tri-Institutional Seminar series


A Tri-Institutional Seminar series has been initiated by the School of Medicine Basic Sciences, Meharry Medical College, and Fisk University focused on trainee development and promoting collaboration and existing ties between scientists affiliated with all three institutions. Seminars rotate between the three participating institutions or can be attended virtually. The series is open to the public.

At Basic Sciences, Antentor Hinton Jr., assistant professor of molecular physiology and biophysics, is facilitating the seminar series in collaboration with Vivian Gama, associate professor of cell and developmental biology and associate dean for inclusive mentoring, and Felysha Jenkins, assistant dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Felysha Jenkins
Vivian Gama
Headshot of Antentor Hinton Jr.
Antentor Hinton Jr.

“There is a pertinent need to increase successful outcomes for underrepresented minority students through an undergraduate mentor program,” Hinton said. “The goal of this series is to act as a motivational opportunity to inspire students. We aim to promote interdisciplinary mentorship and guidance, helping students gain a broader perspective of their chosen fields and others by bringing leading researchers to Meharry Medical College, Fisk University, and Vanderbilt. This has the capacity to improve collaboration between faculty and students, as well as to introduce our communities to new leading researchers.”

To date, there have been three seminars. Featured presenters were Krishna Mudumbi, associate research scientist at Yale University, Chrystal Starbird, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Maria Fernanda Forni, Pew Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University.

“The Tri-Institutional Seminar series is important as it serves to create unity between Meharry Medical College, Fisk University, and Vanderbilt University. The seminar series exposes students to innovative ideas in science across the country which enables us as students to broaden our understanding of basic sciences and lab techniques,” said Chanel Harris, a biomedical sciences Ph.D. Student at Meharry Medical College. “I am thankful for the Tri-Institutional seminar series which also focuses on diversity and inclusion because it also allows me to expand my connections among students and faculty at each institution. These connections may further extend opportunities to make a difference post-graduation.”

In May, there will be two additional seminars:

  • May 22: AZA Stephen Allsop, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, will give his talk, “Music Therapeutics for Social Connection, Synchrony, and Mental Health,” at12:00 the Cal Turner Auditorium at Meharry Medical College or
  • May 30: Osama Harraz, Bloomfield Professor in Cardiovascular Research at Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, will give his talk, “May the force be with you: Piez01 and the mechano-feedback control of brain blood flow” at 4:00 p.m. in the Cal Turner Auditorium at Meharry Medical College or Zoom.

Other 2024 presenters include:

  • Maria Bravo, University of Vermont
  • Chantell Evans, Duke University
  • Colwyn Headley, Stanford University
  • Debora Kamin Mukaz, University of Vermont
  • Sonya Neal, University of California, San Francisco
  • Caroline Palavicino-Maggio, Harvard University

The Tri-Institutional Seminar Series is funded by a Burroughs Wellcome Fund ad-hoc grant and the Vanderbilt Basic Sciences Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. To keep up to date on upcoming series information, contact Antentor Hinton.