Remembering Ben Barres

Hi all, 

As many of you already know, neuroscientist Dr. Ben Barres, passed away this past December. He was an amazing scientist who discovered crucial roles for glia. He was also a dedicated mentor and fierce advocate for LGBTQ+ individuals in science. 

We thought we would share this write-up of Dr. Barres that was featured in The Atlantic last month.  

-Your PRISM board

The PRISM Survey: LGBTQ+ experience at RU

People at Rockefeller Identifying as Sexual Minorities (PRISM) formed in late 2015 because we five founders saw a lack of formal LGBTQ+ community at Rockefeller University. Since we are the first group at Rockefeller focusing on LGBTQ+ issues, we had no data about what our community here looked like. So, as good scientists, we set out to get some! Over two weeks in January, we invited all Rockefeller community members by email to fill out a 5-minute survey about LGBTQ+ experiences.

The survey was a great success, garnering 191 responses from both LGBTQ+ folk and straight allies. While these data draw on a non-representative sample and are therefore incomplete, they provide a fascinating first glimpse into LGBTQ+ life at Rockefeller. Here are some main findings:

  1. LGBTQ+ people exist at Rockefeller at all levels (except, notably, heads of lab)

  2. LGBTQ+ people feel mostly safe at Rockefeller, but many remain guarded about their identities: More LGBTQ+ people than not say that science is a friendly place for them. However, many respondents are wary of disclosing their identities, especially around senior colleagues. Most respondents have not personally experienced bias or harassment, but those who have are disproportionately LGBTQ+, women, and especially both.

  3. LGBTQ+ people have needs that PRISM can fill: a visible community, access to senior role models, and a community across NY institutions.

Next: data illustrating these findings.

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