Department of Neuroscience & Equity

Message from the Chair:

“The Department of Neuroscience strives to support an environment that values diversity, equity and inclusion, and we recognize that it is crucial to foster a thriving, innovative, and socially responsible academic environment. We value the unique perspectives and contributions of individuals from all backgrounds and identities, and we are fully committed to eradicating barriers, enhancing opportunities, and promoting diversity and inclusion across the neuroscience research community at MUSC.

We believe that talented scientists come from all backgrounds and communities, but that a lack of access to resources and opportunities can limit the realization of one’s full potential. Implementing inclusive, equitable and caring practices allow our department to thrive, promote scientific excellence, and support our most valuable asset — our students, postdocs, faculty, and staff. Scientific data confirms, over and over, that increasing diversity and inclusion and scientific excellence mutually strengthen each other.

To support efforts, our Department, together with its Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, provides continuous opportunities to recruit and retain a diverse group of talented scientists, including individuals from underrepresented racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and we provide information on diversity and inclusion activities across our campus.”

-Christopher W. Cowan, Ph.D.

Neuroscience Diversity and Inclusion Task Force (DITF):

The mission of our task force is to help advance the diversity, equity, inclusion-related goals of the Department of Neuroscience. The DITF comprises volunteer representatives from across the entire department to ensure that diverse perspectives and experiences are included in formative and summative assessments of our initiatives and departmental progress. The DITF develops and implements programs that provide education and training opportunities for our faculty, students, and staff to support and promote opportunities to enhance a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

DITF Programs and Departmental Initiatives:

Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP): R25 DA033680

MUSC Internship in Neuroscience for Diverse Scholars (MINDS) Program – contact Dr. Jennifer Rinker or Dr. Jim Otis, for more information.

Safe Zone Allies and Training 

Neuroscience Scholars Program – supports recruitment and career development of faculty underrepresented in biomedical research

Claflin students

Outreach Program with South Carolina’s HBCUs

Also, see College of Graduate Studies’ Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program


Current members of our DITF:

Antonieta Lavin, Ph.D. (Associate Professor; DITF Chair)
Estefania Azevedo, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor)
Kyle Blidy (Graduate Student)
Elizabeth Doncheck, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Kayla Green (Graduate Student)
Ritchy Hodebourg, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Skylar Hodgins (Graduate Student)
Saurabh Kokane, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Kathy Lindquist (Graduate Student)
Erin Martin (Graduate Student)
Jacqueline McGinty, Ph.D. (Professor)
Patrick Mulholland, Ph.D. (Professor and Vice Chair)
Jen Rinker, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor)
Vonetta Smalls (Staff)