Rochelle (Shelley) Diamond


I am a lesbian and I am a research biologist. //

Born into a prominent family in Phoenix, Arizona, I had a real coming out as a debutante in 1967. I majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Santa Barbara, and immediately entered the scientific workforce. My claim to fame is that I was a member of the City of Hope/Genentech research team that cloned the synthetic human gene for insulin in 1978. I came out as a lesbian in 1981, and lost my job because of it. I’ve been an LGBTQ+ activist ever since, and am an advocate for LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion as chair of the NOGLSTP Board of Directors. In 1982, I joined Caltech as lab manager for Professor Ellen Rothenberg’s developmental immunology lab. Now a Member of the Professional Staff, I also serve as facility director of the Beckman Institute’s Flow Cytometry/Cell Sorting Facility at Caltech. I’ve co-authored a book and have received numerous awards for my activism, but my greatest honor was giving the keynote at National Science Foundation 2017 Pride Celebration.