Appointment of Donita Brady, PhD, as Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (IDE) in Research Training



Donita Brady in her office.We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Donita Brady as the inaugural Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (IDE) in Research Training at the Perelman School of Medicine, effective immediately.  This new role underscores the impact of Dr. Brady’s contributions to Penn in diversity efforts and our confidence in her ability to have even greater impact in the future.

Dr. Brady came to Penn in 2015 to begin her independent research career as the Presidential Termed Assistant Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology, appointed by President Gutmann.  With her recent promotion with tenure, Dr. Brady is now the Harrison McCrea Dickson, MD and Clifford C. Baker, MD Presidential Associate Professor.  She received her BS in Chemistry from Radford University and her PhD in Pharmacology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She completed her postdoctoral work with Dr. Christopher Counter at Duke University focusing on pharmacologically accessible signaling pathways downstream of oncogenes, like RAS.  Dr. Brady’s innovative research program centers on the critical role played by metals, particularly copper (Cu), in oncogenic signaling and cancer biology.  Her laboratory has been responsible for major conceptual advances in an entirely new field of oncogenic signaling that she helped to found. 

Dr. Brady has received many honors, including being named a Pew Charitable Trust Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, a William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation Scholar, and a Minority Faculty Scholar of Penn’s Center of Excellence in Health and Education.  In recognition of her scientific accomplishments, last year, Dr. Brady was the recipient of the prestigious Michael S. Brown New Investigator Research Award

Since arriving at Penn, Dr. Brady has served as an active member of the Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics Graduate Group, Cell & Molecular Biology Graduate Group, and Pharmacology Graduate Groups. As an advocate for underrepresented trainees, she co-directed the Penn Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) for two years, has mentored several PREP and Summer Undergraduate Internship Program (SUIP) scholars, and currently co-chairs the Combatting Racial Inequities Committee for our graduate student and postdoctoral programs. With departmental and Abramson Cancer Center support, Dr. Brady also partners with eCLOSE Institute to develop cancer research summer camps for School District of Philadelphia’s high school students.

As Assistant Dean, Dr. Brady will be an integral member of the Dean’s office, working closely with faculty directors and assistant and associate deans to plan and to oversee implementation of activities for the Office of Research and Diversity Training (ORDT). This includes serving as the faculty advisor to ORDT and collaborating on education initiatives and diversity recruitment of our training programs.  She will also serve as a necessary link to PSOM’s Office of IDE, led by Vice Dean Eve Higginbotham, SM, MD, ML.  As highlighted in a recent Penn Today profile, Dr. Brady has been a strong advocate of promoting the retention and recruitment of Black trainees and professors in academic research, and she devotes time to supporting and increasing racial diversity and equity in science.  We are grateful that Dr. Brady will contribute her talents in mentorship, advocacy, and science to creating and sustaining a more inclusive scientific community.

Our commitment to IDE efforts has never been stronger, and we are thrilled that Dr. Brady will lead in this new role.  Please join us in congratulating Dr. Brady on this appointment.