Affirming Our Support for Black Lives

A message from our CEO, Melissa P. Wu, PhD

It’s been three weeks since the senseless death of George Floyd, and sadly, his is not even the most recent death of a Black American at the hands of our police.

This has been a period of intense grief and pain, particularly among the Black, African, and African diasporans across the world and in our Seeding Labs community.

For those bearing the brunt of systematic and individualized racism, I can empathize but not fully understand the depth of emotional pain that you are carrying.

This piece by Layli Long Soldier, written as an offering to the family of Mr. Floyd and others affected, resonates with the feelings that I want to share with you:

“Why? George Floyd and I—we are from different communities, different backgrounds, different genders. On this land, our histories overlap, but in some ways, they are distinct. I have no words for why, though I can say with certainty that George Floyd’s murder hit me to my core, as if he were my brother, my own, my blood. His death—along with the recent chain of violations and murders of Black people—makes me feel desperate for the respect owed to them. Absolute respect. Not one more violation.”

I support protesters in the US and their demand for an end to police brutality. I support their calls to eliminate the systems in place that have a disproportionately negative impact on Black people. I endorse their urgent insistence that we dismantle the structures that perpetuate racism. And it is in listening to these messages that we have the opportunity for change.

I take to heart these words by Ijeoma Oluo: “When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else’s oppression, we’ll find our opportunities to make real change.”

As someone who has benefited in many ways from the institutions that perpetuate racism, as well as from the advocacy and progress made against racial bias, I am taking this moment as a grave insistence to take heed, reflect, and reckon.

I bring this conviction to my role as CEO, where I am reflecting on how Seeding Labs can and must do more to confront the systems that led to our existence as an organization.

We are committed to addressing resource disparities worldwide—in large part a legacy of colonialism and institutional racism—so that everyone has access to the transformative power of science.

Across borders and cultures, we are rich in talent, experience, and the shared belief that through science we can create a better world.

Our mantra, and a core value since day one, is that scientific talent exists everywhere. That soft declaration quietly challenges the perception that skin color, culture, or geography justifies the vast disparities in how scientific resources are allocated worldwide.

Yet there is more we do not talk about, and we need to. This moment calls on us to add our voice to the calls for change, and to follow that with action.

We struggle, as a US-based organization, to have a staff that fully represents the experiences of the communities that we serve. While we redistribute scientific resources, we are reliant on the wealth that has been concentrated over decades. The ways we measure our own impact are heavy in Western scientific philosophy. When we build our research portfolio, we often prioritize the inclusion of research areas that are most prioritized in a Western context.

These are weighty and powerful dynamics. As a small organization, we often feel we have no choice—we don’t have enough time, or resources, or clout … that changing these entrenched dynamics is too difficult.

But we do have a choice. We must, despite these realities, use the influence and privilege that we do have to make substantial change.

Already, we’re seeing the incredible power of these protests to make changes in our symbols, systems, and policies—but this is just the beginning.

I commit to critically examining Seeding Labs’ role in perpetuating institutionalized racism and our part in the efforts to end systemic racism.

Today and in the future, I will use my voice and place in the global scientific community to advocate for and promote equity within Seeding Labs and our worldwide community.

I commit to having the courage to put my efforts into reforming our minds and institutions to remove racial bias.

I know that I have much to learn, and these commitments are empty unless they are deep and sustained. I ask you to hold me accountable, and encourage you to make these commitments with me. I would love to continue the conversation with you; please reach out to me at

Share this story

Kaitlin Snyder

Kaitlyn Snyder
Logistics Intern

Kaitlyn started working for Seeding Labs in 2023. She works closely with the Scientific Director in the Instrumental Access program.

Kaitlyn is currently a junior at Boston University studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Jennifer Raymond

Jennifer Raymond
Corporate Relations
Senior Manager

Jennifer partners with corporations, universities, and nonprofit organizations to identify opportunities to repurpose surplus scientific laboratory equipment that will in turn empower talented scientists in developing countries through the Instrumental Access program.

Prior to joining Seeding Labs, Jennifer served as a Development Officer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where she managed relationships with donors, foundations, and corporations to advance the groundbreaking work of research scientists.

She also directed membership programs for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and alumni relations for the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Jennifer graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in French studies and a minor in philosophy.

Manisha Patel

Manisha Patel
Scientific Director

Manisha uses her scientific expertise to implement the equipment-related aspects of Seeding Labs’ programs and plays a key role in Instrumental Access.

She provides support to Instrumental Access awardees, helping them choose the instruments that best meet their research and teaching goals. She also advises the Corporate Relations team on equipment that would be useful in our awardees’ labs.

Manisha has extensive experience in managing academic research labs with knowledge spanning lab setup, compliance, and equipment training. Most recently, she oversaw labs at Harvard University.

For the past decade, Manisha directed an undergraduate internship program focused on one of her passions:  diversity and inclusion in STEM. She holds a BS in ecology from Rutgers University and an MS in ecology from the University of Vermont.

Micaela Leaska

Micalea Leaska
Programs Specialist,
Metrics & Evaluation

Micalea works with the Programs team to develop and implement metrics and evaluation tools, and to monitor the worldwide impact of Instrumental Access. She compiles and analyzes quantitative data and qualitative stories that exemplify our mantra, “talent is everywhere.”

Her prior work experience includes consulting for the World Bank, working on Water Security Assessments for Peru and Central America, and improving access to safe water in rural Ecuadorian communities with the nonprofit WaterStep.

Micalea holds a BA from Saint Michael’s College and completed her Master’s degree in Climate Change and Global Sustainability from SIT Graduate Institute, where she studied global science issues alongside scientists, stakeholders, and community members in Iceland, Tanzania, and Ecuador.

Chiudo Ehirim

Chiudo Ehirim
Instrumental Access

After completing an Atlas Corps Fellowship with Seeding Labs, Chiudo now provides support to our Instrumental Access partners from his Rumines Ltd. office in Lagos, Nigeria. Chiudo is CEO of Rumines, an environmental technology and management consulting company.

Prior to his fellowship, Chiudo was a country manager for Nigeria with Climate Scorecard, a US-based organization that monitors how the top 25 greenhouse gas-emitting countries implement the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Chiudo earned a BS in pure and industrial chemistry from the University of Nigeria and a Master’s of Science in environmental technology and management from the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.

David Borman

David Borman, PhD

David works to highlight the innovation and scientific successes of Instrumental Access awardees. In telling these scientists’ stories, he helps to show the global impact of the Seeding Labs mission.

Prior to joining Seeding Labs, David worked as the alumni affairs director for Brevard College in North Carolina and managed communications for Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies, a nonprofit in Louisville, Kentucky, that provides services to children with special needs.

David earned his PhD in English from the University of Miami. He holds an MA in English from the University of Louisville and a BA in English from Bellarmine University.

Christine Srivastava

Christina Viola Srivastava

Vice President of Programs

Christina is responsible for program development, planning, and implementation at Seeding Labs. Her portfolio also includes metrics and evaluation and communications.

Christina has experience as a research program evaluator and science policy analyst. She’s held roles with the consulting firm Abt Associates, Inc. and the Science and Technology Policy Institute.

Prior to entering the consulting world, Christina worked for the Boston-area nonprofits Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics and Urban Ecology Institute. She holds an undergraduate degree in biology from Swarthmore College

Rick Sherman

Rick Sherman

Vice President of Philanthropy

Rick is responsible for the fundraising activities at Seeding Labs, engaging with corporations, foundations, and individuals to increase their financial and equipment donations to the organization.

Prior to joining Seeding Labs, Rick spent 17 years working in a similar capacity at a number of science-focused organizations, including Keystone Symposia, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and the Chemical Heritage Foundation (now the Science History Institute).

Rick earned an MS in Finance from Drexel University, and a BS in Paper Science and Engineering from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

David Qualter

Vice President of Operations

David is responsible for global logistics at Seeding Labs, overseeing the efficient movement of lab equipment worldwide.

He joined Seeding Labs from Image Arts, a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, where he provided logistics direction for the company with $110 million in annual sales.

He brings 20 years of supply chain management experience with in-depth knowledge of international logistics, warehouse execution, and distribution center operations.

Originally an art student at Southeastern Massachusetts University, David now uses his creative talents to develop logistics strategies that produce operational efficiencies and quality customer service.

Melissa P. Wu, PhD

Melissa P. Wu, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Please direct speaking requests to

As the CEO of Seeding Labs, Dr. Melissa P. Wu connects scientists and institutions around the world to help reduce barriers to scientific discovery.

Part scientist, part engineer, and part facilitator, Melissa brings strategic insight and rigorous methodology to her work, together with a dedication to helping people.

Melissa is driven by two overarching values: that scientific research is a critical tool for improving human lives, and that research thrives and we as a community make the best discoveries when we foster diversity in perspectives, approaches, and ideas. Joining these two ideas has given her a career focus on creating opportunities for people of all backgrounds to engage in scientific research.

Prior to being named CEO of Seeding Labs in 2019,
Melissa served as Senior Vice President of Operations. She revamped Seeding Labs’ Instrumental Access program to increase its efficiency while expanding its impact.

Melissa’s previous positions at the Harvard Office for
Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership and the BioBuilder Educational Foundation helped spread scientific knowledge to students nationwide.

She is proud to have mentored many students through
programs at the Journal of Emerging Investigators, Harvard, Boston Children’s Hospital, and MIT.

Melissa earned a PhD in Cellular and Developmental
Biology from Harvard University and holds an SB in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.