The goal of the Gilliam Fellowship program is to increase the diversity among scientists who are prepared to assume leadership roles in science, particularly as college and university faculty, by supporting graduate students. The program provides awards to pairs of students and their dissertation advisers who are selected for their scientific leadership and commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the sciences.
“It is such an honor to be granted the HHMI Gilliam Fellowship. To be welcomed into a community of like-minded scientists who genuinely care about diversity and inclusion is like having another home away from home,” Johnson said. “I’m in awe of the fact that I will get to meet brilliant young scientists in the making who not only conduct rigorous research but also advocate for the need to diversify the scientific community.”
Johnson works in Professor Alea Mills’ lab as part of his Ph.D. program. He studies the epigenetic proteins in connection with glioblastoma multiforme, a type of brain tumor. His work uses cutting-edge CRISPR technology to discover new targets for treating this cancer.
“Working with David on the Gilliam application gave us a unique opportunity to both plan the science and to strategize on how we might accelerate the diversity movement that is in full swing at the Lab,” Mills said. “David is a serious scientist who thinks deeply about his project, and he is driven to make a serious impact in the diversity and inclusion arena.”