Valentina Greco, PhD, Carolyn Walch Slayman Professor of Genetics, was elected vice president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). Her two-year term as vice president, which begins in June, puts Greco in line for a one-year term as president beginning in 2024.
For 20 years, the ISSCR has been bringing scientists together from across the world to understand, study, and translate the power of stem cells at all levels. As vice president, Greco hopes to advance the transformative work already being done in the stem cell field while also helping the society scrutinize the processes that both consciously and unconsciously contribute to an inequitable system.
“The pandemic has unmasked an underlying structure in which resources are not distributed fairly,” says Greco. “As an immigrant [from Italy] and mother, I, too wrestle with the many ways I don’t belong.”
At Yale, Greco studies how different types of cells come together and communicate to support tissue function. As an immigrant, she likes to view this process with her lab de ella as cells speaking various languages. Now, as the ISSCR’s newly elected vice president, Greco says she is looking forward most to drawing inspiration from its “incredible members” and building diverse partnerships to elevate the influence and decision-making power of voices who have historically been excluded from leadership positions. “We have learned over and over that diverse groups are the most creative,” she says. “Problem solving requires different points of view.”
Although she acknowledges her own privilege, Greco remembers many times where she feels her voice has been overlooked in the scientific community. She has taken part in multiple interviews for media stories, for instance, and later found that only her male colleagues de ella were quoted. “Even though I’m privileged, I’m muffled,” she says. “Imagine what we could do and how much farther along we could be if everyone’s voices were actually heard.”
Submitted by Robert Forman on April 18, 2022