Scientists sue the Salk Institute over sex discrimination - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Scientists sue the Salk Institute over sex discrimination

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – The Salk Institute for Biological Studies has been accused of long-standing gender discrimination.

Two women scientists at the institute have filed lawsuits alleging they have been subjected to a hostile work environment for years.

The two women, Dr. Katherine Jones and Dr. Vicki Lundblad, in their lawsuit claim they have been excluded from receiving vital resources that are readily available to their male counterparts.

“I’ve been told multiple time by our complex that donors would not understand it,” Dr. Jones.

“I want to compete on a level playing field. I want to compete for private foundation money. Right now, I don’t get that opportunity to compete,” said Dr. Lundblad.

Dr. Jones has discovered how cancer cells can be targeted and how dormant HIV infections become active.

Dr. Lundblad has discovered how the ends of chromosome promote premature aging and cancer.

Despite these discoveries, they claim the Salk Institute has force them to downsize their laboratories to a non-sustainable size.

“As a result, the two doctors are not able to extend beyond their tenure which most the men at the institute extend greatly beyond their tenure time,” said Dr. Jones.

In a statement, the Salk Institute said: “Drs. Jones and Lundblad, whose laboratories have received over $5 million in support from the institute over the past 10 fiscal years, have been treated generously by the institute, including relative to their male peers."

The lawsuit also alleges that Salk does not prioritize the hiring, retention or promotion of female faculty.

“The last woman to raise to the ranks was in 1999,” said Dr. Jones.

Salk’s statement further states:

"Female scientists at Salk have conducted acclaimed research programs since the Institute's founding, and in the past ten years Salk has appointed an additional eight women scientists to its elite faculty. The Institute is headed by a female President, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, and the majority of the executive leadership team is female."

The two scientists hope to bring light to the alleged discrimination at Salk – so future female scientists there can thrive.

"What I really like to do is to see SALK become the go-to place on the West Coast for outstanding women scientists,” said Dr. Lundblad.

Dr. Jones and Dr. Lundblad are represented by Gomez Trial Attorneys. The next step in the lawsuit is to gather depositions of Salk Employees and former employees who may have witnessed incidents in the allegations.

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