Winner of Notable Research Award Discusses Inclusion, Diversity in Laboratory Environments

Published on: Jun 28, 2022

diverse scientists
Photo credit: Gorodenkoff/Adobe Stock

Sara Ranjbar, PhD, winner of the Mayo Clinic’s 2021 Edward C. Kendall Alumni Award for Meritorious Research, has always known she wanted a job that would enable her to help patients and be of service to others.

Today, she has a job that includes all these responsibilities — plus plenty of math.

“By the end of my PhD, I found out about the research that was being done in the mathematical neuro-oncology lab at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, where mathematical approaches are used for designing personalized treatment for glioblastoma, a highly invasive and heterogenous type of brain tumor,” Ranjbar, a post doctoral research fellow at Mayo Clinic, said in an interview with Healio. “I found the research really exciting and found the lab to be a great place for me to learn about oncology and apply my computational skillsets in machine learning and data science to the betterment of patients with brain tumors.”

Even as she continues to defy persistent stereotypes about women in math-intensive fields, Ranjbar recognizes the need for greater parity for all health care professionals from historically underrepresented groups.

“If you are in the minority, find out what diversity and inclusion resources exist in your institution,” she said. “Most institutions have resources or groups that are formed around common dimensions of diversity — including sex, disability or race — to break down barriers.”

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