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Diversity in Science: Stabilizing Systems

Fri., Nov. 18, 2022 3:45 p.m. - Fri., Nov. 18, 2022 5:00 p.m.

Location: RIC 119 and Zoom


Daniel Trotter, University of Ottawa


Diversity exists at all scales in our world, often greatly benefiting the systems in which it exists. For many biological and physical systems, diversity is critical for robustness and stability. Within STEM, diversity fosters innovation and creativity. In this talk, I will speak to both of these frameworks. First, I will describe work in my research group demonstrating a significant reduction in neural diversity in epileptogenic human brain tissue. Using model neural circuits, we show that increasing neuron population diversity increases resilience to seizure-like transitions. Then, I will switch to speaking about diversity within STEM, focusing on LGBTQ+ populations. I will overview the leaky pipeline model as it pertains to LGBTQ+ people, and discuss, both personally and from the literature, difficulties in retaining this population in STEM and how graduate students fit into the picture addressing these issues.