Friday, June 26, 2015

Cold Spring Harbor presents the men's only view on the evolution of sequencing

On June 5 I posted a guest blog post by an anonymous person writing about the Programming for Biology workshop at Cold Spring Harbor Labs: Guest post on Yet Another Mostly Male Meeting (YAMMM) - Programming for Biology 


And this post generated some responses including yesterday a series of responses from whomever is behind the Cold Spring Harbor Meetings Twitter account.






Sounds great.  And I retweeted all of these.

And then I got an email invite to a new Cold Spring Harbor Meeting: The Evolution of Sequencing Technology: A Half Century of Progress


With a long long list of speakers.  Alas, the gender ratio here of speakers is abyssmal.  I have highlighted men in yellow and women in green (with the caveat that I always try to giver that assigning gender from names or appearance or records is not always accurate)

  1. Mark Adams, J. Craig Venter Institute
  2. Gillian Air, University of Oklahoma
  3. Shankar Balasubramanian, University of Cambridge, UK
  4. Hagan Bayley, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Ltd.
  5. David Bentley, Illumina Cambridge, Ltd
  6. Sydney Brenner, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  7. Nigel Brown, University of Edinburgh, UK
  8. George Brownlee, University of Oxford, UK 
  9. Graham Cameron, Bioinformatics Resource, Australia EMBL
  10. Piero Carninci, RIKEN Ctr.for Life Science Technologies, Japan
  11. Norman Dovichi, University of Notre Dame
  12. J. William Efcavitch, Molecular Assemblies, Inc.
  13. Miguel Garcia-Sancho, University of Edinburgh, UK
  14. Mark Gerstein, Yale University 
  15. Jack Gilbert, University of Chicago
  16. Walter Gilbert, Harvard University
  17. Philip Green, University of Washington
  18. Leroy Hood, Institute for Systems Biology
  19. Clyde Hutchison, J. Craig Venter Institute
  20. James Kent, University of California, Santa Cruz
  21. Jonas Korlach, Pacific Biosciences
  22. Victor Ling, BC Cancer Agency, Canada
  23. David Lipman, NCBI/NLM National Instiutes of Health 
  24. James Lupski, Baylor College of Medicine
  25. Thomas Maniatis, Columbia University Medical Center
  26. W. Richard McCombie, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  27. Joachim Messing, Waksman Institute, Rutgers University
  28. Gene Myers, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology & Genetics, Germany
  29. Richard Myers, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
  30. Debbie Nickerson, University of Washington
  31. James Ostell, NLM/NCBI
  32. Stephen Quake, Stanford University/HHMI
  33. Charles Richardson, Harvard Medical School
  34. Richard Roberts, New England BioLabs
  35. Jane Rogers, The Genome Analysis Centre, UK
  36. Mostafa Ronaghi, Illumina, Inc.
  37. Yoshiyuki Sakaki, University of Tokyo
  38. Jay Shendure, University of Washington
  39. Melvin Simon, Caltech
  40. Hamilton Smith, J. Craig Venter Institute
  41. Lloyd Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  42. J. Craig Venter, J. Craig Venter Institute
  43. Robert Waterston, University of Washington
  44. James Watson, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory 
  45. Jean Weissenbach, Genoscope, France
  46. Barbara Wold, Caltech
  47. Huanming Yang, Beijing Genomics Institute, China
That is right.  47 speakers.  4 of which are female.  For a whopping 7.8 % female speakers.  This is one of the most extreme skews I have seen for any meeting.  This truly makes me sick to my stomach.   Since there are plenty of women who have had and still have fundamentally important roles in the field of sequencing and sequencing technology I infer that this most likely reflects some type of bias in the meeting organization and planning process.

The meeting page lists the organizers as
  • Mark Adams, J. Craig Venter Institute       
  • Nigel Brown, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Mila Pollock, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory     
  • Robert Waterston, University of Washington
And one of the major sponsors as Illumina.

I think they all have some explaining to do.

One last note - the meeting description says "The opening session will include a tribute to Frederick Sanger, the father of DNA sequencing, and will cover the early efforts in protein, RNA and DNA sequencing."  Really?  The father of DNA sequencing?  Seems perfect for this meeting I guess.




UPDATE 6/29/15 7 PM PST

Apparently this meeting is part of a series on the history of molecular biology.  The meeting page says
The CSHL/Genentech Center Conferences on the History of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (http://library.cshl.edu/hosted-meetings) aim to explore important themes of discovery in the biological sciences, bringing together scientists who made many of the seminal discoveries that began the field with others whose interests may include the current status of the field, the historical progress of the field, and/or the application of these techniques and approaches in biotechnology and medicine. Previous meetings in the series have included:  
Biotechnology: Past, Present & Future (2008)
History of Restriction Enzymes (2013)
Messenger RNA: From Discovery to Synthesis and Regulation in Bacteria and Eukaryotes (2014)
Plasmids: History & Biology (2014)
So I decided to take a peek at these meetings I started with Biotechnology: Past, Present & Future (2008).

Organizers
  1. Mila Pollock 
  2. Jan Witkowski
Advisors
  1. Sydney Brenner
  2. Peter Feinstein
  3. Lee Hood
  4. Tom Maniatis
  5. Richard Roberts 
Speakers are listed below:
  1. Garen Bohlin
  2. Robert Bud 
  3. Don Comb 
  4. Peter Feinstein
  5. Maryann Feldman 
  6. Herbert Heyneker 
  7. John H. Leamon
  8. Yuk-Lam Lo 
  9. Alan McHughen 
  10. Stelios Papadopoulos 
  11. Rich Roberts
  12. Robert Steinbrook
  13. Kenneth Thibodeau 
  14. Marc Van Montagu
  15. Charles Weissmann 
  16. Julie Xing
For speakers that comes to 14:2 male:female or 12.5 % female



Next I went to History of Restriction Enzymes (2013).

Organizers
  1. Herb Boyer, University of California, San Francisco
  2. Stu Linn, University of California, Berkeley
  3. Mila Pollock, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  4. Richard Roberts, New England BioLabs
Speakers are listed below:
  1. Aneel Aggarwal, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  2. Werner Arber, University of Basel, Switzerland
  3. Tom Bickle, University of Basel, Switzerland
  4. Herb Boyer, University of California, San Francisco
  5. Jack Chirikjian, Georgetown University
  6. Steve Halford, Bristol University, United Kingdom
  7. Ken Horiuchi, The Rockefeller University
  8. Clyde Hutchison, J. Craig Venter Institute
  9. Arvydas Janulaitis, Institute of Biotechnology, Lithuania
  10. Stu Linn, University of Califoria, Berkeley
  11. Bill Linton, Promega
  12. Arvydas Lubys, Institute of Biotechnology, Lithuania
  13. Matthew Meselson, Harvard University
  14. Rick Morgan, New England BioLabs
  15. Andrzej Piekarowicz, Warsaw University, Poland
  16. Alfred Pingoud, Institute of Biochemistry - Giessen, Germany
  17. Mila Pollock, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  18. Rich Roberts, New England BioLabs
  19. John Rosenberg, University of Pittsburgh
  20. Ham Smith, J. Craig Venter Institute
  21. Bruno Strasser, Yale University & University of Geneva
  22. Geoff Wilson, New England BioLabs
OK that is 21:1 or 4.5 % women. Well, I guess this makes the meeting on sequencing look good.




Organizers:
  1. James Darnell, The Rockefeller University
  2. Adrian Krainer, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  3. Mila Pollock, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Speakers
  1. Arnold Berk, University of California, Los Angeles
  2. Douglas Black, HHMI, University of California, Los Angeles
  3. George Brawerman, Tufts University School of Medicine
  4. Sydney Brenner, Janelia Farm Research Campus, HHMI
  5. Stephen Buratowski, Harvard Medical School
  6. Louise Chow, University of Alabama
  7. Juan Pablo Couso, University of Sussex, UK
  8. James Darnell, The Rockefeller University
  9. Gideon Dreyfuss, HHMI, University of Pennsylvania
  10. Grigorii Georgiev, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
  11. Adrian Krainer, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  12. Tom Maniatis, Columbia University Medical Center
  13. James Manley, Columbia University
  14. Lynne Maquat, University of Rochester Medical Center
  15. Matthew Meselson, Harvard University
  16. Melissa Moore, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  17. Bernard Moss, National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
  18. Arthur Pardee, Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  19. Mila Pollock, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  20. Rich Roberts, New England BioLabs
  21. Robert Roeder, The Rockefeller University
  22. Mike Rosbash, Brandeis University
  23. Robert Schleif, John Hopkins University
  24. Robert Singer, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  25. Nahum Sonenberg, McGill University, Montré, Quéc, Canada
  26. Joan Steitz, Yale University/ HHMI
  27. David Tollervey, Wellcome Center for Cell Biology; University of Edinburgh, UK
  28. Jonathan Warner, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  29. James Watson, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
So so much better no? 24:5 Male: Female or 17% female (for the speakers).



Finally I checked out Plasmids: History & Biology (2014)

Organizers
  1. Dhruba Chattoraj, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
  2. Stanley N. Cohen, Stanford University
  3. Stanley Falkow, Stanford University
  4. Richard Novick, New York University
  5. Chris Thomas, University of Birmingham, UK
  6. Jan Witkowski, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY
Speakers
  1. Peter Barth, Helsby, Cheshire UK
  2. Susana Brom, Universidad Nacional Autonóma de México, Cuernavaca, Morelos Mexico
  3. Ananda Chakrabarty, University of Illinois
  4. Mike Chandler, Université Sabatier, Toulouse, France
  5. Dhruba Chattoraj, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
  6. Don Clewell, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  7. Stanley N. Cohen, Stanford University
  8. Fernando de la Cruz, Universidad de Cantabria, Spain
  9. R. Curtiss III, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  10. Julian Davies, University of British Columbia, Canada
  11. Stanley Falkow, Stanford University
  12. Laura Frost, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  13. Barbara Funnell, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  14. Mathias Grote, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
  15. George A. Jacoby, Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA
  16. Mark Jones, Life Sciences Foundation, San Francisco, CA
  17. Saleem Khan, University of Pittsburgh
  18. Bruce Levin, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
  19. John Mekalanos, Harvard Medical School
  20. Marc van Montagu, Ghent University, Belgium
  21. Richard Novick, New York University
  22. David Sherratt, University of Oxford, UK
  23. David Summers, University of Cambridge, UK
  24. Chris Thomas, University of Birmingham, UK
  25. Eva Top, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
  26. Gerhart Wagner, Uppsala University, Sweden
  27. Michael Yarmolinsky, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda MD
  28. Peter Young, University of York, UK
That comes to 24:4 for speakers or 14% female.



Notice any patterns?  The totals for these meetings come to 17 women out of 142 speakers.  Or ~12 %.  That is a dismal record for Cold Spring Harbor Labs and certainly does not convince me that they are trying at all to have diversity represented at their meetings.  I note - I truly love many things about CSHL.  This is definitely not one of them.






UPDATE 2 - Some discussion of this post on Twitter









UPDATE 3: Made a Storify w/ some of the discussions

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