Dr. Kishana Taylor Awarded HHMI's Inclusive Excellence Teaching Fellowship

Kishana Taylor
Under the mentorship of Dr. Sam Díaz-Muñoz, Dr. Taylor’s work as a virologist has helped increase our knowledge of factors that influence the emergence and transmission of viral diseases.

By Rebecca M. Calisi Rodríguez

Content Editor: Alexia Williams

We would like to highlight the achievement of Dr. Kishana Taylor, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (CBS), who under the mentorship of Dr. Sam Díaz-Muñoz was recently awarded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence Teaching Fellowship Award! The College of Biological Sciences congratulates Dr. Kishana Taylor on receiving this prestigious award and on this impressive accomplishment.

“I will participate in a series of trainings in the summer that introduce me to the pedagogy behind inclusive teaching. I will then get to apply what I have learned in the classroom as a course instructor this fall. This is a really exciting opportunity for me because not only do I get to improve my teaching skills but also expand my knowledge for how to be an effective teacher. Bonus points for being able to teach in the city where most of my family is from and just a step away from my hometown.”

Under the mentorship of Dr. Sam Díaz-Muñoz, Dr. Taylor’s work as a virologist has helped increase our knowledge of factors that influence the emergence and transmission of viral diseases. Throughout her career she has specialized in animal-human disease transmission, including the dynamics of antibiotic resistance in agricultural production, the epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus, and now avian influenza. Dr. Taylor was an invited speaker at the Gordon Research Conference for Viruses and Cells, an honor that is typically reserved only for faculty, and recently, she was elected Councilor of virology trainees for the American Society of Virology. 

In addition to her research, Dr. Taylor frequently contributes to podcasts and other online media platforms, most recently offering her virological expertise to the general public during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I couldn’t be in lab helping to solve the questions we had about the virus, but I could take the information we had and use it to communicate to the communities most at risk. We set out to make an episode we could send to our friends and families who aren’t necessarily in the academic world to help them with best practices and calm the anxiety a bit. Also, I wanted to combat some of the misinformation that was coming out in spades at the beginning of the pandemic.”

“I hope that those who listened to the podcast and have gone on to protest in the name of black lives have taken the information to keep themselves as safe as possible while also fighting systemic injustice and police brutality.”

The podcast can be found here.

Dr. Taylor will be joining the faculty at Mercy College in NYC this fall as an HHMI Inclusive Excellence Teaching Fellow.

To learn more about how to combat and eliminate systemic, institutionalized racism, please visit UC Davis' Resources for Racial Trauma, created by the UC Davis Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

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