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ReForm Lab

ReForm Lab is a ‘science of science’ research space, where we ask socially relevant and pressing questions about how knowledge is created, shared, and governed across multiple scales by embracing interdisciplinary methods and collaborations. We aim to blur the disciplinary boundaries and exist at the interface of biomedicine/STEMM higher education, sociology, ethics, science technology studies, public policy, and organizational behavior. 

Our lab derives its name, ReForm (Latin re: again, formare: to form/shape), taking inspiration from cell and developmental biology, where biologists investigate the principles and processes underlying how organs form in space and time. We aim to understand similar ReFormation principles to build equitable academic spaces and research enterprises, which operate at social and societal levels. 

Questions We Tackle

We use biomedicine/STEMM higher education as a model context to address the following questions:


  1. WHO CAN DO SCIENCE AND INNOVATE? How do social dimensions of inequalities and inequities, such as socioeconomic status, gender, race, citizenship status/immigration policies, shape the scientific workforce, such as graduate, postgraduate and faculty pools? How does such a scientific workforce contribute to technological innovations, breakthroughs, and research integrity? How can we measure such contributions and impact to inform equitable policy and governance structures?  

  2. HOW DOES SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY SHAPE SOCIETY? How does the research in labs and isolated units have the power to shape sociological dimensions of society? How does the rise and fall of technological innovation break or reinforce structures of bias and exclusion? For instance, would using and incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) decision-making tools reduce, reproduce, or redistribute existing biases in higher education or healthcare?

Current Projects

1. Postdoctoral Compensation and Inclusive Excellence: We explore the relationships among socioeconomic status, financial burdens, and academic research career choices of the US postdoctoral population.

See: Yalcin, Esra, Rosa Martinez-Corral, and Mayank Chugh*. "Retaining postdocs by recognizing their worth." Nature Biotechnology 41, no. 2 (2023): 296-298. 

2. Citizenship Privilege and Impact on Research Scholars: We explore the concept of citizenship privilege and its integration into academic/higher education enterprise. We also investigate the impact of citizenship and visa/immigration policies on scholars' mental wellbeing, research productivity, and career progression.

See: Chugh, Mayank*, and Tiffany Joseph. "Citizenship privilege harms science.Nature 628, no. 8008 (2024): 499-501.


3. Artificial Intelligence and Academic Recruitment: We explore the use of AI-based decision making platforms in the academic recruitment of undergraduates, graduates, and postdocs. We investigate whether the recruitment biases are reproduced or amplified when using AI-tools and its impact on teaching and scholarly learning.

Approach and Collaborators

Our approach is collecting and analyzing data among academic populations and lead grassroots style initiatives, advocacy efforts, and deliberations to inform equitable policy changes. We achieve this with the help of interdisciplinary collaborations, concepts, theories, and methods. 


Tiffany Joseph, Northeastern University

Jim Gould, Harvard Medical School
Markus Lambert, SUNY Downstate
Abby Cheruiyot, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Background: Norman Rockwell, The Problem We All Live With, oil on canvas, 1963. Credit: The Kennedy Center

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