Plenary Speakers

We are thrilled to be welcoming three incredible speakers to discuss topics that address science, pedagogy, and inclusion as they pertain to academia and our broader communities.


Japera Johnson

Morehouse School of Medicine

Dr. Johnson is a researcher at Morehouse School of Medicine who has an extensive background training to recognize and address implicit bias. She serves as a Diversity and Inclusion Advocate and is directly involved in research and policy initiatives that address workplace gender and ethnic diversity in higher education and professional education settings. Dr. Johnson will be speaking on bias in academia and ways to identify and better address possible bias in our pedagogy and researh. Understanding risks and implications of bias is exceedingly important for improving the environment for academic for fellows, faculty, students, and additional research partners.


Manu Platt

Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Platt is an Associate Professor, Diversity Director, and member of the National Science Foundation’s Science and Technology Center for Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems in Georgia Tech’s Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research interests incorporate cell biology, physiology, and engineering to study topics in tissue remodeling, cardiovascular disease, Sickle cell-based complications, and HIV. Dr. Platt also has a dedicated focus on topics of equity and inclusion across teaching and research, and will be speaking of his experiences, his career trajectory and his passion for enhancing diversity in his field. This talk will provide valuable insights our fellows can use to inform their careers and further tailor the ways they engage with colleagues and students of various backgrounds.


James Porter

University of Georgia

For more than 60 years, the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico was used for intense aerial and naval bombardment by U.S. and NATO Allies.  Declared a Super-Fund site in 2005, long-term residents on Vieques still suffer from significantly elevated cancer rates.  The types and age-related expressions of these cancers are consistent with a causal-relationship with munitions-derived carcinogens.  In his talk, Dr. Porter will discuss human rights implications raised by these discoveries.   He will also describe actions taken to align public health initiatives with social justice goals for these impacted communities.