The DMC Diversity Matters Award

The Duke Microbiome Center (DMC) is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion as fundamental to our center’s success and excellence. This commitment compels us to develop and implement innovative approaches to achieve the following ends:

  • Building an inclusive culture characterized by civility, accountability, equity, and mutual respect;
  • Increasing numbers of underrepresented groups in student, fellow, faculty, and staff positions in the microbiome sciences;
  • Improving the cultural competence of the DMC community through diversity education and programming;
  • Advancing health equity by making a significant impact on reducing disparities through research, service, and practice.

Our ability to achieve these ends relies on the initiative, leadership, and engagement of our center members. The annual DMC “Diversity Matters Award” is designed to recognize individuals within DMC laboratories that have made significant advances towards these ends within Duke and our broader scientific and geographic communities. Nominees should have contributed to one or more of the ends stated above, and thereby advancing diversity, equity, and/or inclusion.

Application deadline: The next nomination cycle will be announced fall 2024

Eligibility of nominee: Any student, fellow, faculty, or staff employed at Duke University in a DMC laboratory for at least 6 months prior to the nomination deadline.

Eligibility of nominator: Any student, fellow, faculty, or staff at Duke University. The nominator does not necessarily need to be affiliated with the DMC. Self-nominations are not permitted.

Nomination package contents:

  1. Nomination letter (2 pages max) written by the nominator describing the specific ways the nominee has contributed to the ends above;
  2. Letter of support (2 pages max) written by someone other than the nominator. This referee does not necessarily need to be employed at Duke University or affiliated with the DMC;
  3. The nominee’s full CV.

These items must be collated into a single PDF and submitted by email to Cindy Wicker <> by the deadline shown above. Received nomination packages will be reviewed by a committee of DMC faculty and selected awardees will be recognized in January with a certificate and $500 discretionary funds. We anticipate making 1-2 awards per cycle.

If you have questions about the DMC Diversity Matters Award, please contact Cindy Wicker <>.

Previous Awardees

2023 (read more about these awardees here)

  • Jessica Portillo, PhD student in the Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Program.
  • Dr. Sweta Patel, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Division of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine).

2022 (read more about this awardee here)

  • Eva Kim, PhD student in the Pratt School of Engineering.

2021 (read more about this awardee here)

  • Briana Davis, PhD student in the Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Program.

2020 (read more about these awardees here)

  • Brianna Petrone, MD/PhD student in the Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Program.
  • Dr. Claudia Gunsch, Theodore Kennedy Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement, and Associate Director of the Duke Microbiome Center.