Kayla Retallick-Townsley

About Me
Kayla Retallick-Townsley
Meet 2024 Award Recipient

Kayla Retallick-Townsley

Kayla came to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai from Portland State University, where they majored in Molecular Biology. Previously, Kayla worked at the Oregon Health and Science University and Portland Veterans Hospital researching mechanistic relationships between circadian rhythms, inflammation, and alcohol dependence.

During their time at Icahn Mount Sinai, they acted as a PhD representative on the Mistreatment Subcommittee, an executive board member of the Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) Mount Sinai Chapter, and a fellow with the Racism and Bias Initiative (RBI). They co-developed a curriculum focused on mitigating the influence of biological essentialism and equipping scientists and medical professionals with tools for recognizing and actively combating instances of racism, sexism, and ableism. Through this work, Kayla spoke with researchers and medical professionals across fields and career stages – including invited seminars with the National Black Leadership Commission on Health, Mount Sinai Chats for Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Mount Sinai Institutional Review Board, SUNY Downstate, and Yale University.

Within their own research, Kayla integrates high-throughput screening technologies, stem cell modeling of neurodevelopment, and computational genetics to center the translation of environmental and genetic risk into medically actionable information with the goal of developing improved diagnostic practices, therapeutics, social interventions, and proactive public health policies for all peoples.

Kayla would like to thank their comrades and co-conspirators who have not only been inspiring, inquisitive, and supportive colleagues as scientists and organizers, but also have been excellent friends.

Kayla will graduate with their PhD degree in Neuroscience and will continue their career in academic research as a postdoctoral trainee at Yale University.

Kayla Retallick-Townsley is receiving the:

Social and Racial Justice Award to a Graduate Student