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Bonini and Walker Named to Inaugural DEAI Officer Positions

Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Today, FASEB further advanced its diversity and inclusivity efforts by naming Marcelo G. Bonini, PhD, of Northwestern University and Lauren Walker, PhD, of Colgate-Palmolive vice president and vice president-elect, respectively, of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion on the FASEB Board of Directors. 

FASEB has long prioritized diversity and inclusivity within its business strategy and values, and it remains committed to developing programs that support historically excluded communities and help them navigate institutional barriers, thereby creating and maintaining an environment where all individuals are welcomed, valued, and respected within the life sciences. To help carry out its commitment, the FASEB Board approved the addition of vice president and vice president-elect positions in December 2022. Both Bonini and Walker will be full voting members on the Board. They will begin their terms on July 1.

A biochemist, Bonini holds dual appointments as professor of medicine (hematology/oncology) and associate director for education and training at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. His laboratory studies the metabolism that occurs during aging and its connection to aging-related diseases such as cancer. Prior to joining Northwestern, he held academic appointments at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). He received the Research Excellence Award while at MCW.

“I am an immigrant scientist to the United States and have been keenly aware about barriers URM [underrepresented minority] groups face toward obtaining and retaining positions (particularly in leadership) both in academic science as well as industry and other science-related careers,” Bonini says. “I am honored to continue to advocate for DEIA within FASEB and beyond.”

Bonini is an active member of FASEB and the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine (SfRBM). He is currently vice president of SfRBM. From 2016 to 2020, he was founding chair of diversity, equity, and inclusion for SfRBM. He was also a member of the FASEB Science Policy Committee and the Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) Committee. In 2018 he assumed the chair of the DEAI Committee. 

He received his PhD from the University of Sao Paulo. 

Walker, a toxicologist at Colgate-Palmolive, will join Bonini on the FASEB Board. She has more than 10 years of research experience spanning molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, toxicology, immunology, and developmental biology. Walker’s graduate and postdoctoral research studied the impact of priority environmental pollutants on biochemical targets in cells and has extensive experience in mammalian cell culture and in vitro analytical approaches. 

“Over the last 9 years, I have dedicated myself to active service to strengthen the trainee pipeline and support the creation of professional development content that addresses unique challenges of historically excluded groups. It is an honor to continue that service in my role as FASEB vice president-elect for DEAI,” says Walker. 

Walker has held leadership roles in several scientific societies, including postdoctoral representative for the Society of Toxicology’s Women in Toxicology Special Interest Group and a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group Committee at the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention—both of which are FASEB member societies. For three years, she was vice chair of the FASEB Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.  

She received her PhD from the University of California, Riverside, and bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis. 

The 2023–24 FASEB Board of Directors Executive Committee includes Mary-Ann Bjornsti of University of Alabama at Birmingham, President; Beth A. Garvey of University of Kentucky College of Medicine, President-elect; Kevin C. Kregel of University of Iowa, Immediate Past President; Eric E. Kelley of West Virginia University, Vice President for Science Policy; Michael Lehman of Kent State University, Vice President-elect for Science Policy; CheriĆ© L. Butts of Biogen, Treasurer; Thomas L. Clemens of University of Maryland School of Medicine, Treasurer-elect; Marcelo Bonini of Northwestern University, Vice President of DEAI; Lauren Walker of Colgate-Palmolive, Vice President-elect of DEAI; and Diane Robins of University of Michigan Medical School and Michael Schaller of West Virginia University Medical School, Board Representatives.