Division of Biology and Medicine
Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry

Dr. Samuel M. Nabrit Conference for Early Career Scholars

An inclusive event for molecular life scientists.

Sixth Annual Dr. Samuel M. Nabrit Conference for Early Career Scholars

June 6-7, 2024
Brown University
Providence, RI

The 2024 Dr. Samuel M. Nabrit Conference for Early Career Scholars (June 6-7) will showcase the research achievements of outstanding molecular life scientists from historically underrepresented groups. The conference is free and in person, hosted by the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry Department at Brown University.

Applicants selected to present short talks will receive a travel award and accommodations. Speakers will be selected from applicants who are senior graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and beginning faculty members or industry scientists. The application deadline for presenting a short talk has been extended to Friday April 26, 2024

Poster presentation slots also are available for conference attendees at any career stage. The application deadline for poster presentations is Friday May 24, 2024.


Conference Keynote Speakers

Keynote addresses presented by:
Dr. Blanton Tolbert, PhD (University of Pennsylvania and HHMI), Thursday June 6
Dr. Sherilynn Black, PhD (Duke University) Friday June 7

  • Blanton S. Tolbert, PhD

    Blanton S. Tolbert, PhD

    An Affinity for RNA Biology and Advancing Equity and Inclusion: A Look Back
  • Sherilynn Black, PhD

    Sherilynn Black, PhD

    Pursuing Systemic Change in the Academic Ecosystem

The conference program will open Thursday afternoon June 6 and close Friday evening June 7. It will feature short talks by invited early career scholars, panel events focusing on identity and professional development, and a poster session. 

This will be an inclusive event, drawing attendees from the Brown BioMed community (including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff and campus organizations) as well as registered participants from across the US. The conference has been named in honor of Dr. Samuel Milton Nabrit, Brown's first African-American PhD recipient and a marine biologist with a distinguished international career. 

For questions about the 2024 Samuel M. Nabrit Conference for Early Career Scholars, please contact smnc@brown.edu

Previous Conferences

The inaugural Dr. Samuel M. Nabrit Conference for Early Career Scholars took place on June 6-7, 2019 at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.  The second and third annual conferences were held virtually in August 2020 and 2021.  The fourth and fifth annual conferences were held in person at Brown University in June of 2022 and 2023.  You can view videos from the 2022 Nabrit Conference here.


About Dr. Samuel M. Nabrit

Portrait of Dr. Samuel Nabrit
Samuel Nabrit (1999), by Robert Freeman; Brown University Portrait Collection, BP.276

An accomplished marine biologist with a distinguished international career, Samuel Milton Nabrit was Brown University's first African-American Ph.D. recipient and first African-American trustee. After graduating from Morehouse College in 1925, he studied regeneration in fish tail fins in the doctoral program in biology at Brown and at the Marine Biological Laboratory. Dr. Nabrit began his teaching career at Morehouse College, where he was a professor of zoology and then chair of the biology department from 1932 to 1947. He served as president of the National Institute of Science in 1945. In 1947 he became a member of the Marine Biological Laboratory Corporation (he was only the second African-American scientist to do so) and moved to Atlanta University, where he served as dean of the graduate school of arts and sciences. Dr. Nabrit's scientific papers remained influential for many years and are still cited today in journals including RegenerationMechanisms of Development, and Developmental Cell

Dr. Nabrit became the second president of Texas Southern University in 1955, serving in that role until 1966, publishing a number of important papers on the status and future of graduate and professional education for African Americans. Under U.S. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, Dr. Nabrit served in a number of national roles, including membership on the National Science board and on the Atomic Energy Commission, as well as a special ambassadorship. He was a founding member of the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine). In 1967 he became the executive director of the Southern Fellowship Fund, which supported African-American students pursuing doctoral degrees, a post he held until his retirement in 1981.

Dr. Nabrit's contributions and achievements have been recognized and remembered in several ways at Brown University. He was awarded an honorary Sc.D. degree in 1962, and received the William Rogers award, which recognizes Brown alumni for outstanding humanitarian contributions, in 1987. In 1999 a portrait of Dr. Nabrit was unveiled and added to the collection of portraits of important university leaders in Sayles Hall. Since 1985, Nabrit Fellowships have supported graduate students and, more recently, undergraduate researchers from historically underrepresented groups, and The Samuel M. Nabrit Black Graduate Student Association adopted his name in 2005.