We at Future of Research are very excited to announce that as of May 14th, former Board member Dr. Adriana Bankston has joined the FoR staff as Associate Director of Fundraising and Strategic Initiatives. Dr. Bankston will start with us as a part-time hire for 6 months which we hope to sustain as part of her efforts into raising funds.
As we enter the last year of our initial seed grant from Open Philanthropy, we are looking into how we sustain the efforts of Future of Research. It has become clear that this work requires dedicated time and effort, and with the enthusiasm and dedication to the organization that Dr. Bankston brings, we are hopeful that we will be able to more efficiently sustain the efforts of FoR.
Dr. Bankston is a skeletal muscle biologist by training, with the overall goal of improving the biomedical research enterprise. In 2005, she obtained her B.S. in Biological Sciences from Clemson University with a Magna cum laude distinction. She then moved onto Emory University, where she completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology in 2013. Her Ph.D. dissertation studies with Dr. Grace Pavlath centered around skeletal muscle growth and repair using primary muscle stem cells and rodent models. Her postdoctoral studies at the University of Louisville were initially focused on membrane trafficking, followed by the regulation of mammalian myogenesis with Dr. Ashok Kumar until September 2016.
During her postdoctoral studies, she developed an interest in training practices and policies affecting junior scientists within U.S. institutions. To this end, she co-founded and co-organized two initiatives to improve professional development for graduate students and postdocs while at the University of Louisville. The first is the Career Research Advancement Focused Training (CRAFT) seminar series, with the goal of exposing trainees to various career options. The second is the ASCB-sponsored Midwest Membrane Trafficking & Signaling Symposium, with the goal of creating a community of scientists in the Midwest working in this field, as well as give junior scientists an opportunity to present their work to local experts.
Following these events, Dr. Bankston became interested in improving the environment for junior scientists at the national level. During the last month of her postdoc, she obtained a travel award for the 2016 Advocating for Science meeting (co-organized by Future of Research and other groups). Subsequently, she became involved with Future of Research on a volunteer basis, collecting data to monitor the compliance of institutions with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which was published in F1000Research in 2016 and updated in 2017 following the injunction. She was elected to the Future of Research Board of Directors in July 2017, where she continued working on the postdoc salary project, leading to the publication of a preprint on Assessing the Landscape of U.S. Postdoctoral Salaries together with members of the data collection workstream. In addition, she collaborated on an effort led by Dr. Christopher Pickett, Director of Rescuing Biomedical Research, on a publication assessing the ability of the GSS to predict postdoc population trends. Dr. Bankston has given numerous talks and workshops related to both the postdoc salary project and other projects for Future of Research, with the goal of promoting and developing future directions for the organization. To this end, she was a member of the organizing committee for the 2017 Future of Research meeting on Expanding Leadership Roles for Early Career Researchers, which will be developed in the future.
In addition to the Future of Research, Dr. Bankston has also been a leader in various others organizations with similar goals, including American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), Association for Women in Science (AWIS) and Graduate Career Consortium (GCC).