Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The community of biologists in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois is committed to understanding life at the organismal, cellular, and molecular levels. Our fundamental understanding of the natural world directly impacts human health, the health of the environment, and our broader culture and society. Thus, innovation, drive, and excellence are critical to our mission.

Our entire community firmly believes that scientific discovery and advances in the life sciences can be made by anyone, and that diversity within our school drives the innovation that keeps MCB research at the forefront of scientific discovery. However, we recognize that societal, academic, and structural barriers have often kept talented individuals out of our community.

We are committed to eliminating these barriers and supporting students and scientists of all backgrounds, both to push our science to new heights and to fulfill our mission as an educational institution. We condemn racism and sexual harassment, which have long held back both individuals and science as a whole. We will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status, national origin, religion, neurological differences, or socio-economic status.

We welcome and strive to support all students as they think deeply about the molecular basis of life, work hard to understand basic biology, and share their scholarship with others.

Visit the MCB DEI page for resources and information on initiatives

March 17, 2021 – CDB message on anti-Asian hate and solidarity with Asian community

We are all shocked, saddened, disappointed, and angered by the shootings in Atlanta that left eight people dead. As six of the victims were women of Asian descent, this may raise serious concern that these killings are part of a rise in hate crimes against Asians in the United States.

The CDB community stands together in denouncing this senseless act, and all acts of hate against Asian and Asian American individuals, just as we denounce all acts of intolerance and hate within and outside our CDB community. We stand in solidarity with our Asian colleagues against the forces of intolerance and hate, we stand in solidarity with all members of our community who face hate or intolerance.

To be clear, all are welcome here. CDB is a community of scholars with the shared goal of understanding the foundations of life itself. Many of us have traveled far and even crossed oceans to be here so that we can work together. Many of us have traveled far from our beginnings or backgrounds where science seemed an unlikely pursuit. Many of us have crossed seeming oceans of time to be here – years of study to become part of the CDB community. We need to stand together. We need to recognize that everybody in CDB wants to be here for the same overall goal. One of the great strengths of our program is its diversity. As CDB, we affirm our commitment to our principle that all are welcome here.

Inclusion and diversity require continuous reinforcement throughout life. This isn’t just about sensitivity or hurt feelings; this is about hate. And that can make people feel not only underappreciated or unwanted, it can make them feel scared.

Maybe today is a good day to reaffirm our commitment to one another. Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, suggested in her New York Times article, "The Losses We Share", that the path to healing often begins with three simple words: Are you OK? Perhaps that simple question, asked in earnest, can help everyone in our CDB community feel welcome here; and it might serve as simple starting point for understanding, tolerance, respect, and love to stand against intolerance, hate, and violence.

Please find below some university resources:

Bill Brieher, Member, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
Supriya Prasanth, Head, Department of Cell & Developmental Biology