Campus News

Senta Georgia reflects on Title IX and becoming the first Black PhD scientist to earn tenure at the Keck School of Medicine of USC

Cristy Lytal June 27, 2023
Headshot of Senta Georgia (Photo by Sergio Bianco)
Senta Georgia (Photo by Sergio Bianco)

When USC Stem Cell researcher Senta Georgia was granted tenure on March 10, 2023, she became the first Black PhD scientist to earn this promotion in the history of the Keck School of Medicine, which was founded in 1885.

“There are not that many Black PhD scientists, and so it’s a pipeline problem,” said Georgia, who was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor of pediatrics, and stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at USC, and is a principal investigator at the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). “But at the same time, we’re 50 years after Title IX outlawed sex discrimination in educational institutions receiving federal funding, and I’m still the first Black PhD scientist—of any gender—to earn tenure while at the Keck School.”

Since being hired as an assistant professor at CHLA and USC in 2013, Georgia has dedicated herself to remedying this pipeline problem by improving access for students and trainees from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue research in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

At the same time, her stem cell lab at CHLA is working towards the regeneration of the insulin-producing “beta cells” of the pancreas as a potential therapy for patients with diabetes, a disease that disproportionately affects communities of color. (…Read More)