Yale postdoc Chrystal Starbird maximizes her opportunity with NIH career award

Monday, February 14, 2022

Yale Postdoctoral Associate Chrystal Starbird has received a Postdoctoral Career Transition Award under the Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) program, part of the National Institutes of Health effort to enhance diversity within the academic biomedical research workforce.

Starbird is a structural biology postdoc in the Yale Cancer Biology Institute (YCBI). Her research seeks to understand how formation of macromolecular assemblies defines cellular signaling, and how these can be targeted therapeutically in cancer.

The K99/R00 MOSAIC Award facilitates the important transition of promising postdoctoral researchers from diverse backgrounds from their mentored, postdoctoral research positions to independent, research-intensive faculty positions.

“I have wanted to lead my own research team for quite some time,” said Starbird. This K-award supports this dream of mine, not only by granting funding before and after my transition to faculty, but by offering a wealth of career development activities that will support my candidacy.”

“I’m beyond excited to join the MOSAIC community,” she said, “and I look forward to taking advantage of all that this award offers to turn my long-held dream into reality.”

Dr. Starbird grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts and her early interest in science grew out of her love of nature, which prompted her to start a nature club in second grade. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she worked in multiple labs before graduating with a B.S. in biology. Starbird spent a few years working in academic and industry labs before returning to UNC Chapel Hill to complete a year-long postbaccalaureate research education program. She then completed her graduate work in chemical and physical biology at Vanderbilt University before moving to a postdoc position at Yale.

Starbird is an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, and is active in promoting diversity in multiple ways, including as co-founder of the Yale Black Postdoctoral Association and Intersections Science Fellows Symposium.

In 2021 she received the inaugural Rising Black Scientist Award from Cell Press editors and an academic advisory board, which recognizes exceptional scientists and inspirational advocates for scholars of color.

The MOSAIC program is part of NIH’s efforts to enhance diversity within the academic biomedical research workforce and is designed to facilitate the career transition of promising postdoctoral researchers from diverse backgrounds, for example individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce at the faculty level, into independent researchers.

Contact: jon.atherton@yale.edu