Diversity in research: Wyatt takes on new role at OHSU

Letisha Wyatt, Ph.D., director of diversity in research

Letisha Wyatt, Ph.D., has been named director of diversity in research, a new position funded by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research. In this role, Wyatt will lead the new OHSU Neuroscience Postbaccalaureate Initiative, continue co-directing the OHSU Fellowship for Diversity and Inclusion in Research program and build and connect other projects designed to increase diversity in research at OHSU.

The Neuroscience Postbaccalaureate Initiative, a collaborative effort between the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, the Vollum Institute and the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, provides recent undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds with the lab experience and research learning skills to be successful applicants and students in graduate programs. As director, Wyatt will help the program’s scholars maximize their mentored research experience with tailored academic and professional development support.

Three scholars were selected for the first cohort of the postbac initiative. They are studying in the labs of Marc Freeman, Ph.D.Henrique von Gersdorff Ph.D., and Damien Fair, Ph.D. 

In addition to the postbac initiative, Wyatt will focus on supporting diverse postdoctoral fellows as co-director of the OHSU Fellowship for Diversity and Inclusion in Research program. Alongside Damien Fair, Ph.D., associate professor of behavioral neuroscience, School of Medicine, who launched the program in 2015, she will help advance the program’s goal of attracting promising researchers and educators from different backgrounds, races, ethnicities and other diverse populations to contribute to the academic mission of OHSU.

With the creation of the director of diversity in research position, diversity programs and initiatives can be better integrated and aligned across OHSU. Wyatt’s goals are to strengthen and build networks among these programs, including the Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science, which works to increase visible diversity within graduate programs at OHSU.

A neuropharmacologist, Wyatt joined OHSU in 2016 as the biomedical research and data specialist in the OHSU Library. She is currently an assistant professor in the department of neurology in the School of Medicine. In addition to the director role with the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, she supports culture and diversity at the Knight Cancer Institute’s Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center.

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