Biomedical Research 1A: Science in your Time

Instructor: Kirsten Turlo, Ph.D

Biography: I discovered my passion for science in high school when trying to determine how a molecular test for electrocution might be developed, following a high-profile case of racehorse electrocutions in insurance fraud. Unfortunately, my work electrocuting hot dogs and chicken wings from the grocery store did not yield significant breakthroughs.  And I am now a vegetarian. I earned associates degrees in Business Administration, Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences from Sierra College before transferring to UC Davis. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Genetics and worked in wildlife forensics on poaching cases for the then California Department of Fish and Game, now the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

For my PhD I studied in the laboratory of Dr. Luisa Iruela-Arispe, exploring the molecular regulation of blood pressure here at UCLA and did a short postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen G. Young, also here at UCLA.

In 2014 I began my teaching career with the Biomedical Research Minor, here at UCLA and have continued to teach with the Minor.  The focus of my teaching has always been to make the material as accessible as possible and then open-up the floor for critical discussion. Asking, “What do we really know from this work?” And “what have we still to learn?” I currently teach a journal club (BMD RES 193H) and Biomedical Research 1A: Science in Your Time, a course I developed with my colleague, Dr. Diana Rigueur that meets both the Life Science GE requirement and the Diversity requirement.

Biomedical Research 1A (5 Units) :  Exploration of current topics in biology from media sources like news organizations and TED Talks, tracing information back to primary research. Students learn to critically evaluate primary sources. Discussion of bias in system producing primary research from undergraduate education through tenured faculty, and medicine and national science funding (National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation). Addresses lack of Black and Latinx representation and its impact on science valued by current system.

Course is Offered: Fall, Winter and Spring during the Academic year.

Course Syllabus

To follow along with the Lectures for both the Diversity and Science Component of the course, please click on the hyperlinks below to download PowerPoint presentation.

Diversity Lecture Slides

Science Lecture Slides

Diversity Lecture

Science Lecture


Li & Koedel (2017) Representation and Salary Gaps by Race/Ethnicity and Gender at Selective Public Universities. Educational Researcher

AAMC Medical School Faculty (2018) by Race/Ethnicity

AAMC Active Physicians (2018) by Race/Ethnicity

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Number and Percentage of US Citizens by Race/Ethnicity and Degree Granting Institute

Riegle-Crumb, C, et al (2019) Does STEM Stand Out? Examining Racial/Ethnic Gaps in Persistence Across Post-secondary Fields. Educational Research

Fisher, AJ, et al (2019) Structure and belonging: Pathways to success for underrepresented minority and women PhD students in STEM fields. PLOS ONE

Ginther, DK, et al (2011) Race, Ethnicity, and NIH Research Awards. Science

Ginther, DK, et al (2018) Publications as predictors of racial and ethnic differences in NIH research awards. PLOS ONE

Price, EG. (2005) “Cultural Diversity in Academic Medicine” Journal of General Internal Medicine

NCES Doctoral Degrees Conferred by Race/Ethnicity 1976-77 through 2016-17

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, National Academies Press: Doctoral Degrees in STEM by Race/Ethnicity 2000-15 selected years

Collins, et al (2021) Affirming NIH’s commitment to addressing structural racism in the biomedical research enterprise. Cell

Lauer, M (2020) Open Mike: Institute and Center Award Rates and Funding Disparities.

Stevens, KR, et al (2021) Fund Black scientists.  Cell

Request for Information (RFI): Inviting Comments and Suggests to Advance and Strengthen Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Biomedical Research Workforce and Advance Health Disparities and Health Equity Research, NOT-OD-066

Phillips, KW (2014) “How diversity makes us smarter” Scientific American

Freeman & Huang (2015) Collaborating with People Like Me: Ethnic Co-Authorship in the US. Journal of Labor Economics

Alshebli, et al (2018) The preeminence of the ethnic diversity in scientific collaboration. Nature Communications