Diversity Statement

At the Cao lab, we believe that diversity is a powerful driver of scientific discovery. Diversity is not only about inclusion of and respect for underrepresented minorities but also about knowing that all human beings, regardless of their race, gender, cultural background, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or any other underlying group characteristic or affinity, have far more similarities than differences. A true embrace of diversity should be grounded upon the acceptance of similarities and requires us to see people for who they truly are, rather than their labels, groups, or appearances. Not until then can one fully appreciate the value of differences among individuals.

As we continue to grow, the Cao lab is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse team of students and researchers, including those from underrepresented minorities, women, first-generation college students, LGBTQ+, and those from underprivileged backgrounds. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone can feel empowered to bring their whole selves to the lab. We value open communications, active listening, and mutual respect, and we seek to foster a culture of trust and collaboration that supports the free exchange of ideas.

In our research, we are also dedicated to addressing issues of social equity. For instance, when designing new therapeutics or preventative solutions, particularly those with public health implications, we consider their accessibility to individuals from low-resource settings and aim to avoid "defaults", assuming that one group is representative of all others.

The Cao lab is committed to supporting the minority groups at the University of Washington, as well as in the Seattle area and beyond, through our research projects and outreach activities. We encourage anyone who needs support or assistance to reach out to us. 

Poster design and pledge courtesy of Sammy Katta.