Lea Vacca Michel, Ph.D. is a Professor in the School of Chemistry and Materials Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. In 2022, she was named the College's first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Currently, her research is focused on the role of proteins in disease. Dr. Michel is a proud member of RIT's Women in Science (WISe) program (former Chair of WISe), a mentor for the Rochester Project SEED program (former Director), member of the Rochester ACS Women Chemists Committee (WCC), Director of the Research Strand for the HHMI-funded Inclusive Excellence program at RIT, and a member of ASBMB's Maximizing Access Committee (incoming Chair). She strives to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities (including those who are deaf and hard-of-hearing) in science and math. Dr. Michel is also the Director of Experiments for the SMASH Experience for Middle School Girls, led by Dr. Kara Maki (School of Mathematics and Statistics). Dr. Michel was featured in articles in Nature (Nature 558, 149-151, 2018) and Chemistry World magazine (Chemistry World, Careers, 21 December 2020), and she was awarded the 2022 ASBMB Early-Career Leadership Award (ASBMB Today article) and the 2023 ChemCUR Outstanding Mentor Award from the Chemistry Division and the Council on Undergraduate Research.
For more information, please visit the Lea Michel Research Group website.
In the News
October 30, 2023
RIT scientists receive grant to expand work on a sign language lexicon for chemistry
A team of scientists at RIT will expand its work after receiving a large grant from the National Science Foundation to make chemistry more accessible for students who rely on American Sign Language interpreters in class. The team has been awarded nearly $380,000 for its proposal to transform chemistry for deaf and hard-of-hearing students via the design, implementation, and evaluation of a descriptive sign language lexicon.
October 5, 2021
International students who started at RIT remotely during the pandemic continue to thrive
More than 200 international students began their studies at RIT remotely in fall 2020, including 65 undergraduate students and 159 master’s students. RIT Admissions officials said the students have done remarkably well given the challenging circumstances, and 83 percent of those students are now studying at RIT’s campus in Henrietta.