BOSC 2022 Panel: Building and Sustaining Inclusive Open Science Communities

Building open source software is a great start, but to maximize the impact, it’s also necessary to put effort into maintaining it. Similarly, open source / open science communities don’t just need to be built; they also need to be maintained and expanded. We’ve seen increasing calls for inclusion and diversity, but once you’ve reached out to a new community, attracted new contributors, or recruited a new team member, how do you go beyond surface-level changes and achieve meaningful and sustainable inclusion? What difficult work, self-education, and research is needed to make more diverse groups thrive?

This panel and audience discussion will focus on what needs to come after initial steps to diversify. Wherever you are on your path to building inclusion in your open-source project, we invite you to offer your questions and thoughts on how we can do better. Diversity and inclusion isn’t achieved in a single success, but rather by maintaining continued success.


Jenea Adams (Black Women in Computational Biology Network)
Jenea Adams

Devoted to promoting Black women in computational biology, Jenea Adams is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania in the Perelman School of Medicine’s Genomics and Computational Biology program. She is a member of the Yi Xing Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Computational and Genomic Medicine.

A Janssen Oncology Scholar, Penn Presidential PhD Fellow, and a dual Master’s Student in Statistics and Data Science, Jenea is experienced in developing and improving computational tools that leverage RNA biology for targeted cancer immunotherapy, and she is a recognized community advocate for minoritized computational biologists. Jenea founded the Black Women in Computational Biology (BWCB) Network, an intersectional community of Black women who are working toward (or interested in) a career that combines computational and quantitative sciences with biology. BWCB has grown from a small collective to an internationally-recognized professional development community for broadening participation in computational biology for Black women across the diaspora.

Andrew Hasley (North Carolina State University)
Andrew Hasley

Andrew (Drew) Hasley is currently a Postdoctoral Teaching Scholar in the Biotechnology Program at North Carolina State University. He teaches courses in fundamental biotechnology skills, professional development, biotechnology ethics, and environmental DNA analysis and applications to ecology and environmental science. Dr. Hasley co-managed BioQUEST’s Universal Design for Learning (UDL) initiative. This initiative focuses on providing professional development for undergraduate biology faculty at 2- and 4-year institutions to help them adopt and apply a UDL approach to their teaching.

Dr. Hasley earned a Ph.D. in genetics from University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2016. In addition to his genetics research, Dr. Hasley has devoted substantial effort to outreach and research on strategies for making biology, especially quantitative biology, education more accessible for students with disabilities. This focus has broadened to an interest in Universal Design for Learning, a framework for creating instructional environments that are usable by, accessible to, and inclusive of, as many students as possible. Dr. Hasley can provide a, sadly, rare perspective to discussions of UDL in biology education as he is himself a blind biologist who has been blind since birth.

Monica Munoz-Torres (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus)
Monica Munoz-Torres

Dr. Munoz-Torres, an Associate Research Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, is the Program Manager for the Translational and Integrative Sciences Lab (TISLab) and currently serves as Director of Operations for the Phenomics First Resource, an NHGRI Center of Excellence in Genomic Science. Curating genomes sparked Dr. Munoz-Torres’s scientific path, and she now manages software development projects aimed at facilitating how we draw insight from genomic and phenomic data across species. She is an experienced project manager, specializing in bioinformatics and genome curation efforts, and has been very successful in building and growing communities around genome curation.

Dr. Munoz-Torres strives to improve diversity in representation within the genomics and bioinformatics research workforces. She has actively participated in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committees for the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH), where she contributes to effort towards a more inclusive approach to the development of standards in genomics and health data sharing; for the International Society for Biocuration, where she spearheaded efforts to ensure that planning for their annual conference includes steps to increase diversity in the speaker roster; and has also volunteered as a member of the ISCB EDI committee.

Gary McDowell (Lightoller, LLC)
Gary McDowell

Gary McDowell is the founder of Lightoller LLC, a consultancy providing expertise on early career researchers, with the goal of ensuring that future generations of researchers can reach their potential to solve problems for society. Originally from Northern Ireland, Gary has a Masters in Chemistry and PhD in Oncology from the University of Cambridge, U.K. He carried out postdoctoral research at Boston Children’s Hospital then Tufts University and helped organize a symposium in Boston in 2014 to give a voice to early career researchers (resulting in the White Paper, “Shaping the Future of Research: a perspective from junior scientists”). In 2016 he co-founded and became Executive Director of the nonprofit “Future of Research”, and since 2019 he has worked as a consultant through Lightoller LLC focusing on advising institutions on how to better support future generations of researchers, and to provide early career researchers with tools and strategies to effect change. He has worked on the role of early career researchers in journal article peer review, paying particular attention to the hidden yet vital role they play in the process, shedding a light on ghostwriting in journal peer review and the lack of access to authentic training experiences.

Rachel Torchet (Institut Pasteur)
Rachel Torchet

Research Engineer Rachel Torchet does web and interface development in the Bioinformatics and Biostatistics HUB at Institut Pasteur. From a multidisciplinary background – from wet lab technician to computational biologist and finally a UX developer – she has always worked in diverse professional universes, which helped her to understand the needs of users, scientists, and colleagues. Based on that experience she came up with the idea of creating an internal professional community to promote diversity, equality, and inclusion at the Institut Pasteur, which included animating an online community, co-hosting a Feminist Café, being part of a Gender Month organization committee, and more.

Along with PI Hanna Julienne, Ms. Torchet co-supervised a Master student in social science with the intention of investigating how to create the proper conditions for a gender-equal expression in scientific conferences through an evidence-based and mixed-method study, the JOBIM 2021 pilot project – Gender Speaking Differences in Academia. One of the deliverables of this project is a leaflet of guidelines for STEM conference organizers.

Jason Williams
Moderator: Jason Williams (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory)

Jason’s bio