UTHSC’s Professor Chester Brown Named to List of Inspiring Black Scientists

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Chester Brown, MD, PhD, St. Jude Chair of Excellence in Genetics at UTHSC and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, is listed among “1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America,” by the journal, Cell Mentor, which is affiliated with Cell Press. Dr. Brown is also a UTHSC professor of Pediatrics, professor of Genetics, Genomics and Informatics, and Genetics Division Chief.

Dr. Chester Brown

The list was compiled by The Community of Scholars, made up of members of the group Persons Excluded because of their Ethnicity or Race (PEER), including of postdoctoral fellows, early-stage investigators, instructors, and consultants.

“This post is for the present, but it is also a foundation for the future,” The Community of Scholars noted in its introduction to the list. “This is for our brothers and sisters that believed that they were alone in the struggle or did not know that there were others like them. For the Black scientists whose quirkiness was ridiculed not accepted. We hope that this post enables the next generation to fulfill their need to change the world.”

“It is an honor to be included among a group of scientists representing such a broad diversity of early life experiences, stages of career development and scientific interests, while sharing the common practices of being underestimated, yet simultaneously committed to excellence and lifting up those that follow,” Dr. Brown said.

“The group would not exist had it not been for the foundation laid by great scientists from generations past: Harold Amos, PhD, the first African American chairman appointed at Harvard University (bacteriology, 1968), and Warren Henry, PhD, internationally respected physicist with over 100 publications in solid-state physics and magnetism, physics professor of the Tuskegee Airmen, and dedicated childhood mentee of George Washington Carver,” Dr. Brown said. “Both men achieved highly despite seemingly insurmountable obstructionism — Dr. Henry having to sneak into the NIH at night with the aid of a friend and colleague to carry out experiments because of the racial policies of the time. I had the privilege of knowing them both. They are a constant reminder of the obligation that all of us have to the next generation of up-and-coming scientists from diverse communities, whose barriers may not be as clearly evident, but nonetheless still exist. In light of current political divisiveness, networks such as these and those that support them are critical if we are to ever achieve the American ideal.”

“Part of our UTHSC strategic map is to ‘foster and sustain a diverse and inclusive culture where we respect and engage all members of the UTHSC community, ’’ said Steve Goodman, PhD, UTHSC Vice Chancellor for Research. “Our goal within UTHSC Research is to become stronger through respecting the value of a diverse research community, where all are judged based on the quality of their scientific acumen independent of race or ethnicity. We are proud of the accomplishments of Dr. Chester Brown.”

The full journal article in can be accessed in Cell Mentor.