Taylor Brown with Bruin Bear

Taylor will always be in our memories as an important member of the Graduate Programs in Bioscience and Molecular Biology community.  We are committed to honoring Taylor’s life, accomplishments, and her lasting impact on her UCLA family.

The Taylor M. Brown Memorial Award was established in honor of biosciences graduate student Taylor M. Brown. Taylor was a long-standing and vibrant member of the UCLA community. As a UCLA undergraduate, she majored in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, receiving her B.S. in 2015. She then joined the Immunity, Microbes, and Molecular Pathogenesis Home Area in the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Program for her Ph.D., where she pursued her interest in understanding host-pathogen interactions. Taylor was deeply committed to increasing diversity in the biosciences, serving as an active member of the Association for Multi-Ethnic Bioscientists’ Advancement (AMEBA) and the UCLA SACNAS Chapter (SACNAS@UCLA). She was passionate about teaching, mentoring, and outreach. Her kindness and compassion made a lasting and widespread impact on the UCLA biosciences community. Taylor’s many accomplishments, her promise as a scientist, and her strong dedication to diversifying the biosciences were recognized by her selection in 2018 as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellow.

The Taylor M. Brown Award recognizes exceptional Ph.D. students in the biosciences who reflect the characteristics that made Taylor such a special member of the UCLA community. The awardees are well-rounded, with strong interpersonal skills and broad interests, and are passionate about mentorship, leadership, teaching, and science. They are highly engaged with the UCLA biosciences community and have a powerful commitment to increasing diversity in the biosciences.

Funds for the discretionary award are provided by UCLA Graduate Programs in Bioscience.  Funds for the travel award are provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellows Program.

Ashlyn Ford, 2023 Awardee

Ashlyn Ford is a Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology in the lab of Dr. Peggy Fong. Ashlyn’s thesis research is focused on understanding coral ecology and coral host-parasite interactions in Moorea, French Polynesia. Ashlyn has been an event coordinator and mentor for the UCLA EEB Peer Mentorship Program (PMP), an event coordinator for the UCLA EEB Graduate Student Association (GSA), and organizer of the UCLA EEB Department Seminar Committee. Ashlyn is a mentor for Black Women in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Science (BWEEMS); Black in Marine Science (BIMS); the UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship (GRM) program; and the UCLA Diversity Project UC-HBCU Initiative. Ashlyn is the recipient of a UC Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiative Fellowship.

Roy McReynolds, 2023 Awardee

Roy McReynolds is a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program in the lab of Dr. Jason Hinman. Roy’s thesis research investigates the morphological and functional changes in astrocytes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease. Roy has served as a mentor for the GPB Bioscience Scholars Program, the BRI Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Program, the UCLA-HBCU Neuroscience Pathways Summer Program, the Competitive Edge Peer Mentorship Program, and the Grad STRIVE: Grad to Grad program. Roy was selected as an inaugural Black Men’s Brain Health Emerging Scholar and as an ISTAART Ambassador with the Alzheimer’s Association. Roy is the recipient of an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation Scholarship, a Society for neuroscience trainee professional development award (SFN TDPA), a Graduate Division Dean’s Scholar Award, and the Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship.

Previous Awardees

Anthony Jones, 2022 Awardee

Anthony Jones is a Ph.D. student in Molecular Pharmacology in the lab of Dr. Ajit Divakaruni. Anthony’s thesis research is focused on understanding the role of coenzyme A in anti-inflammatory macrophage polarization. Anthony is Founder and President of the Prostate Cancer Interest Group at UCLA and co-Director of Spark 101, where he teaches science to elementary and high  school students in Los Angeles. He is also a volunteer for the LA Public Library, The Blind Smile, and My Friend’s House. Anthony is the recipient of a Eugene V. Cota Robles Fellowship, a Dissertation Year Fellowship, a UCLA T32 Tumor Cell Biology Training Award, and a Graduate Dean’s Scholar Award.

Troy Lowe, 2022 Awardee

Troy Lowe is a Ph.D. student in Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology in the lab of Dr. Steve Clarke. His thesis research aims to conduct a biochemical and physiological characterization of Protein Arginine Methyltransferase 7 (PRMT7), an enzyme that is overexpressed in many cancers. At UCLA, he shows great interest in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity. He was a board member of the UCLA SACNAS Chapter and is an active participant in the CNSI Nanoscience Outreach Program. Troy is also passionate about teaching and mentoring, having served as a teaching assistant for seven biochemistry courses and as a research mentor for seven students in the Clarke lab. Troy is the recipient of a UCLA T32 Cellular and Molecular Biology Training Award, a University Fellowship, and a 2021 Sigman Symposium Poster Award.

Kimberly Martin, 2021 Awardee

Kimberly Martin is a Ph.D. candidate in Social Psychology in the labs of Drs. Annette Stanton and Kerri Johnson. Kimberly’s dissertation research is focused on understanding the experiences of Black Americans in healthcare. She is actively involved in the UCLA Underrepresented Graduate Students in Psychology (UGSP) organization, and established UGSP’s Transfer Outreach Committee. She also serves on the Brain Research Institute’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board. Kimberly is an instructor for the VIP Scholars Program, where she teaches social psychology courses to underrepresented high school students. She has also participated as a panelist and speaker in numerous outreach activities for high school and undergraduate students. Kimberly is currently a Cota Robles Fellow and was an NIMH T32 Predoctoral Fellow and a 2020 UCLA Political Psychology Fellow.

Tina Del Carpio, 2021 Awardee

Tina Del Carpio is a Ph.D. candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the lab of Dr. Kirk Lohmueller. Tina’s thesis research is focused on investigating recombination rates in dogs and wolves, and also on investigating the impact of the Competitive Edge program on graduate education. Tina is a passionate advocate for mental health and the founding member of the UCLA EEB Mental Health Working Group. They have contributed to training sessions for the EEB Department on supporting trans and non-binary students, were a member of the EEB Antiracism Task Force, and have participated in numerous career and mental health panels for undergraduate and graduate students. Tina is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, a former NHGRI T32 Predoctoral Fellow, and a recipient of a 2021 UCLA EEB Special Faculty Award for Departmental Service.

Raquel Aragon, 2020 Awardee

Raquel is a Ph.D. student in Cell and Developmental Biology in the lab of Dr. Melissa Spencer. Raquel’s thesis research investigates the role of the protein osteopontin in muscular dystrophy. Raquel is highly involved in recruiting students to the Cell and Developmental Biology Home Area of GPB. She was Co-Outreach Coordinator for SACNAS@UCLA from 2017-2018. She is currently Co-Chair of the Scientific Excellence through Diversity Seminar Series (SEDS) and Chief Financial Officer for AMEBA. Raquel is passionate about teaching, with students describing her as a “fantastic TA” who was “always very kind and approachable.” Raquel is a 2018 HHMI Gilliam Fellow.

Blanche Wright, 2020 Awardee

Blanche is a Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology advised by Dr. Anna Lau. Blanche is conducting policy-relevant research aimed at improving the quality of mental health care for low-income families, especially those from Latinx and immigrant backgrounds. Blanche is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar and the recipient of an F31 NRSA Fellowship. Previously, Blanche was the Undergraduate Outreach Co-Chair for the Underrepresented Graduate Students of Psychology (UGSP) organization and a Diversity & Outreach Ambassador for UCLA Graduate Division. Currently, Blanche is a Student Representative on the UCLA Psychology Diversity Issues Committee and the Life Sciences Anti-Racism Taskforce.

Roy McReynolds, 2020 Honorable Mention

Roy is a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program (NSIDP) in the lab of Dr. Gal Bitan. Roy’s thesis research investigates the role of non-neuronal cell types in Alzheimer’s Disease. Roy is a member of the Brain Research Institute (BRI) Neuroscience Outreach Advisory Board. Roy also serves as a graduate student mentor each summer for the BRI Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (BRI-SURE) and UCLA-HBCU Neuroscience Pathways Summer Programs. He is an active member of Black Scholars in Biosciences and served as his Ph.D. program’s representative for the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) last year.

As one tribute, we have arranged for a dedication of the Japanese Cherry Blossom tree in the UCLA Botanical Gardens in her memory.  The Cherry Blossom, which blooms in April, is characterized by small, delicate pink flowers, symbolizing Spring and a time of renewal.

We invite you to visit the tree and reflect on Taylor’s legacy.

Taylor Brown Dedication Flyer
Taylor Brown Tree Dedication Map