V-VSS, June 1-2

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Vision Science: A panel of experts and advocates

Thursday, June 2, 2:00 – 3:00 pm EDT

Organizers: T. Rowan Candy, Indiana University; Anya Hurlbert, Newcastle University; Eileen Kowler, Rutgers University; and Ruth Rosenholtz, MIT
Moderators: T. Rowan Candy, Indiana University; Anya Hurlbert, Newcastle University
Speakers: Genevieve Almouzni, CNRS/Institut Curie; Member, Scientific Council of the European Research Council; Ximena Arriaga, National Science Foundation; Zsuzsa Kaldy, University of Massachusetts Boston; Alejandro Lleras, University of Illinois

The practice and progress of science are best when people with diverse viewpoints and backgrounds all contribute. How do we work to overcome barriers to inclusion that continue to exist? Four distinguished panelists will discuss their activities and advocacy to promote diversity and inclusion in vision science and related fields. Topics to be discussed cover a range of different yet interrelated issues:

  • Inclusive Mentoring and Teaching
  • Strategies for Networking and Making our Field More Diverse
  • Opportunities for Funding your New Ideas

Panelists include those from the US and European funding agencies. The discussion will be relevant to those at all career stages.

Genevieve Almouzni

CNRS/Institut Curie; Member, Scientific Council of the European Research Council

Genevieve Almouzni, PhD, is a world-leading researcher in genomics, combining biochemistry, cell biology and physical approaches with advanced imaging to explore chromatin dynamics in development and disease. Professor Almouzni is director of research exceptional class at the CNRS, EMBO member, member of the French Academy of Sciences, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and Director of the Research Center of the Institut Curie from September 2013 to September 2018 and honorary director since then. She has received prestigious grants (ERC Advanced Grants) and awards including the FEBS|EMBO Women in Science Award (2013)  and the Grand prix de Fondation de la Recherche Médicale (FRM) (2014), and has led many Europe-wide life sciences initiatives.

Professor Almouzni is highly engaged in promoting young scientists’ careers.  She is a member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council, where she has lead responsibility for the Working Group on Gender Issues. Professor Almouzni will share knowledge and experience of the ERC’s work on gender issues as well as actions on Widening European Participation. 

Ximena Arriaga

National Science Foundation

Ximena Arriaga, is a rotating Program Director for the National Science Foundation Social Psychology Program, which is in the Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Division of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate at NSF (BCS-SBE). Dr. Arriaga earned a doctorate in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her home institution is Purdue University, where she is a Professor of Psychological Sciences and has resided for 20+ years. In addition to holding editorial roles and positions in professional organizations, Dr. Arriaga has worked to support and implement research that can inform efforts to promote inclusive settings and broaden participation in science.

Zsuzsa Kaldy

University of Massachusetts Boston

Dr. Zsuzsa Kaldy received her M.A. in Psychology from Eotvos Lorand University, in Budapest, Hungary, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Rutgers University. She has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston since 2003, where she is currently Professor. Her main research focus is on the early development of visual attention and working memory. She has developed several innovative experimental paradigms to study these processes, using eye-tracking and pupillometry in typically developing infants and toddlers. In collaboration with Alice Carter and Erik Blaser (UMass Boston), she has also been investigating the unusual profile of visual attentional skills in 2-year-olds diagnosed with autism. Dr. Kaldy’s work has been funded by NIH (NEI, NICHD) and the Simons Foundation.

Zsuzsa Kaldy has been leading a research lab studying the development of visual attention and working memory at UMass Boston, a Minority Serving Institution, for almost twenty years. Together with Erik Blaser, she has been the recipient of four NIH R15 (Academic Research Enhancement Award) grants. From her perspective as a white European immigrant to the US, she is going to talk about strategies for the successful recruitment and mentoring of undergraduate students from minoritized backgrounds at a large urban university. Instead of talking about a ‘leaky pipeline’, her guiding metaphor is that individuals from historically underrepresented groups in science face a ‘hostile obstacle course’ (Berhe et al., 2021).

Alejandro Lleras

University of Illinois

Alejandro Lleras is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he co-directs the Vision Lab. Alejandro also serves as the Assistant Head for Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of Psychology at Illinois, and has served as an advisor on Diversity and Inclusion issues to a number of organizations, including VSS. He is also a co-founder and governing board member of the non-for-profit SPARK society, a group aimed at increasing the participation and visibility of scholars belonging to historically-marginalized groups in the cognitive sciences. Contact Alejandro at

T. Rowan Candy

Indiana University

T. Rowan Candy is a Professor and the Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Optometry & Vision Science at Indiana University.  She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of VSS and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.  After training as an optometrist (Univ. of Wales) she completed a PhD in Vision Science (UC Berkeley) and post-doctoral training (Smith-Kettlewell) in visual development. Her NIH-funded research is focused on the typical and atypical visual development of human infants in the context of information available in the natural environment and how it drives visual and ocular motor development.  She is a past chair of the Indiana University Bloomington Women in Science Program’s faculty advisory board and currently serves on the editorial board of the Annual Review of Vision Science.

Anya Hurlbert

Newcastle University

Anya Hurlbert is a Professor of Visual Neuroscience and Dean of Advancement at Newcastle University. She trained as a physicist (BA, Princeton University), physiologist (MA, Cambridge University), neuroscientist (PhD, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT), and physician (MD, Harvard Medical School), and did postdoctoral research in vision science at Oxford University.  She co-founded the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University in 2003, serving as its co-Director until 2014.  Hurlbert’s research focuses on colour perception and its role in cognition. She is also interested in applied areas such as biomedical image processing, digital imaging and novel lighting technologies.  Professor Hurlbert actively promotes public engagement with science and women in STEM, and has devised and co-curated several science-based art exhibitions. She is former Chairman of the Colour Group (GB) and Scientist Trustee of the National Gallery, and currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Vision and the Rank Prize Funds Optoelectronics Committee.  She is a member of the VSS board, and serves on its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.