Founders

Cat Adams
Cat Adams is a graduate student in the department of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley, researching the role of secondary metabolites in plant-fungal interactions. Her Master’s work examined the evolution of spice tolerance in fungal pathogens of wild chili peppers. For her PhD, Cat is studying the invasion of the deadly poisonous death cap mushroom, Amanita phalloides. In addition, Cat works with researchers in China studying how mycorrhizal fungi can alleviate phytotoxicity from heavy metal nanoparticles. She has an ongoing collaboration in Uruguay with Weyerhaeuser, investigating the effects of Pine and Eucalyptus plantations on the native grassland diversity. She is also passionate about science communication, and has written for Slate and BBC Earth.
Mitch Thompson
Mitch Thompson is a graduate student at UC Berkeley studying the microbial production of renewable chemicals in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. Working out of the Joint BioEnergy Institute, his thesis work focuses on using newly developed techniques to rapidly assign phenotypes to genes in understudied microorganisms of industrial importance. Before coming to Berkeley, Mitch worked at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research where he developed model bacteria and animal systems to study multidrug resistant infections that commonly plague wounded soldiers. In his (limited) free time Mitch tries to be a good father to his various edible plant children and a better runner of the Berkeley Hills.
Leigh Martin
Leigh Martin is a graduate student in the physics department at UC Berkeley. His research is a mix of theory and experiment, focusing on improving measurement and control of quantum systems. Long-term, he is interested in the fundamental limits of measurement and imaging, and what technologies might help scientists reach these bounds. Outside of research, he enjoys rock climbing, reading and music.

Research, content, and events

Simca Bouma
Dr. Linet Mera
Dr. Anna Schneider
Norma Morella
Claire Willing

Art and design

Caleb Fleisher
Freelance Graphic Designer and Fine Artist, native of the Pacific Northwest.
Theresa Oborn
The artist behind our bias cartoons! Large-scale sculptor and aspiring illustrator in Seattle, WA.
Roo Vandegrift
Roo Vandegrift is a queer mycologist, artist, and activist from Eugene, Oregon.

How we started

While Cat was working on her Master’s degree at Harvard, she noticed a peculiar trend. There were very few tenured female professors with children. After much asking around, no one Cat talked to could name a female professor with children that had received tenure at Harvard in the last seven years.

All the female professors Cat and others could find waited to have children after they had tenure, sometimes in their late 30s. The same was not true at all for male professors, however. Cat came across social science papers like the Motherhood Penalty, and began reading up on unconscious bias.

While still at Harvard, Cat and members of the group Harvard Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (HGWISE) began drafting ideas for a website to raise awareness about unconscious bias. Cat took these ideas with her to Berkeley.

In fall of 2014 at Berkeley, Cat attended the first Expanding Potential conference, hosted by SYNBERC. There, she presented her ideas for the Unconscious Bias Project website, and Leigh Martin joined the team.

A few months later, Cat, Leigh, and Mitch co-wrote a grant proposal to finance the website and outreach events. The proposal was approved in May, 2015.

The project has been picking up steam and members ever since!