Commitment to DEI

Our lab strives to create an environment where everyone is welcome regardless of their race, religion, and socioeconomic background.



  • Raf’s commitment to Diversity in Science
  • I was born and raised in Togo, a tiny country, and former French colony located in West Africa. I left Togo at 17 for Algeria, a country where the vast majority of population speaks Arabic and Berber. I spend 5 years in Algeria studying Biotechnology before I moved to France to pursue a Master’s degree in Molecular Biology and a PhD in Immunology. After my thesis in France, I pursued my training as Postdoc at New York University and Indiana University. Coming from Togo and living in Algeria, France and the United States, necessarily means interacting with people of different sociocultural backgrounds, and taking into account aspects of race, religion, and class. Although I lived in Togo, Algeria, and France that are diverse one from another in term of race, religion, and socioeconomic background, it was only when I arrived at New York University that I appreciated what a true diverse working environment looks like. As a faculty member, I am dedicated to nurture and promote the culture of diversity and make sure than every single student and lab members feels welcome and safe regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs. As faculty, I am committed to work on a daily basis to create an inclusive atmosphere in my lab, and teaching high-level translational research to students including those from minority backgrounds.


  • Although there are inequalities in our society based on our racial and ethnicity background, I remain optimistic about the future , and it is remarkable how more people including scientists from different background are coming together to make our society a better and more equal place. On my scale, I believe that the research I am leading at JAX on chronic kidney disease and sickle cell disease will contribute in decreasing the wide health disparity. Indeed, although African Americans are 12% of the us population, they unfortunately represent 35% of the CKD patient population. In addition to my commitment in the lab, on the international stage, I have contributed in creating a network to promote the training opportunities to early career scientists and trainees in Africa including a groundbreaking work in non-English speaking countries that is designed to foster new relationships between African diaspora and Africa-resident scientists. This platform we setup provides opportunities to scientists from the diaspora to mentor under-privileged early career scientists in Africa, a new pipeline that contribute to scientific inclusion worldwide. My previous engagement about promoting science in Africa has been highlighted by AAAS and Nature journals. Please visit the following websites! and Learn more about ADSF here, or listen to my Nature podcast here