11th June 2018 – Anne Berlin, DC Web Mavens, Women of Email

Anne BerlinAnne is a consultant in digital outreach for campaigns geared at health empowerment and behavior change. Her expertise is in designing, formatting and editing websites and other digital content that encourages patient awareness, self-efficacy and activation. Most recently, she held a position as Director of Digital Strategy for the Lupus Foundation of America.

She has done #scicomm professionally for several years, with an emphasis on biomedical research, the drug development pipeline and public health.


4th June 2018 – Louise Topping, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London

Louise ToppingLouise is currently a final year PhD student at the William Harvey Research Institute, part of Queen Mary University of London. Her PhD research focuses on targeting therapeutics to arthritic joints using antibodies specific to damaged cartilage. During her PhD, she has combined these antibodies with additional therapies to deliver them only to the areas of the body that need it.

Louise completed her BSc(Hons) and MRes degrees from the University of Brighton before moving to London for her PhD studies. During her studies in Brighton, her research was focused on biomaterials with cartilage regeneration or anti-inflammatory properties.

Louise’s main scientific interests lie within Human Biology, although she thoroughly enjoys nature and being outdoors amongst wildlife. She enjoys partaking in public engagement, including patient engagement days, being part of the Queen Mary Pint of Science organising team and volunteering with science events aimed at school children.

During her week as the tweeter of Biotweeps she will be discussing her PhD work, as well as her other scientific interests, public engagement, day-to-day lab life and the real-life issues of being an academic scientist in the 21st century.

You can find Louise tweeting (not always about science) at @louutopping

28th May 2018 – Sabah Ul-Hasan, UC Merced

Sabah Ul-HasanSabah Ul-Hasan is a Quantitative & Systems Biology PhD Candidate at the University of California, Merced advised under Dr. Tanja Woyke at the Joint Genome Institute. Sabah‘s educational background stems from three B.S. degrees in Biologevy, Chemistry, and Sustainability & Environmental Studies from the University of Utah and an M.S. in Biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire. Sabah‘s thesis work focuses on venomous host-microbe interactions with the California cone snail serving as a model system. In addition to Sabah‘s interests in coevolution, venomics, and marine ecosystems, Sabah holds a passion for science communication and spearheads an array of organizations from The Biota Project (@thebiotaproject), an after-school STEM workshop high school students, and a data science graduate student group. Sabah intends to pursue a data scientist position post PhD, with special attention to intersectionality and open access.

This week we’ll be discussing venomous animals. What constitutes a venomous animal? Is there a difference between venomous and poisonous animals? What is the scientific history of venoms and who are the main groups studying venoms today? We’ll then bring up some big topics in the current field of microbiology and draw connections between these two realms.

Are you working on venomous animals with an interest to pursue their associated microbiomes, and/or know someone who is doing that kind of work? If so, send a personal message to Sabah to partake in the venomous host-microbe consortium. The aim of the consortium is to build a collaborative network of scientists for establishing a strong foundation in big data and associated resources. For example, why throw the rest of that snake tissue away when someone else on the other side of the world can use a section of it and perhaps find out something interesting and new too?!

Let’s use communication, collaboration, and citizen science make science great again together!

21st May 2018 – Manuel Spitschan, University of Oxford

Manuel SpitschanDr Manuel Spitschan (Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford) read psychology at the University of St Andrews and completed his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. After a short post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University/VA Palo Alto, he joined the University of Oxford as a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow in September 2017, and was appointed as a Biomedical Sciences Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College in October 2017. Dr Spitschan is interested in visual and non-visual responses to light in humans, the biological mechanisms in the retina that mediate it, and the precise quantification and display of visual stimuli to examine these responses.

14th May 2018 – Isa Betancourt, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Isa BetancourtMy name is Isa (pronounced Ee-sa & short for Isabelle). I work in the Entomology Department of the oldest continuously operating natural history museum in the Americas: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, est. 1812 and located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I work daily with the moth and butterfly specimens that are a part of the Academy’s historic insect collection. The collection contains 4 million insect specimens representing over 100,000 species, some of which are two centuries old! When I’m not immersed in the Academy’s insect collection, you’ll find me out collecting insects from center city Philadelphia fountains as part of my urban entomology project that seeks to examine biodiversity and evolution in the city. In addition to working full time as a Curatorial Assistant of Entomology, I am a master’s student studying communication at Drexel University with the goal of becoming an evermore effective insect ambassador.

During the week we will discus insect biodiversity and look behind-the-scenes at the museum’s active research collection. We will explore insect collection contents, personnel, research, and general operations.

Since the week kicks off with Mother’s Day, insect & spider mothers will be an overarching theme throughout the week. Various parental care strategies are used by these mothers. For example, while some terrestrial arthropods lay their eggs and promptly fly off, others carefully guard their eggs and even give their offspring a ride on mama’s back when the eggs hatch. Did you know that there is even a spider mother who feeds herself to her offspring?! This is only the tip of the iceberg! Get ready to explore the vast range of parental techniques in the terrestrial arthropod world.

In addition to the collection work and research, I host an insect-themed live broadcast called the #bugscope every Tuesday afternoon. It features live insects, insect collections, research, guest experts and more. I invite you to check it out and join a live broadcast sometime! You can find it and follow along at www.periscope.tv/isabetabug.

7th May 2018 – Karen Bondoc, University of Jena, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

Karen BondocKaren recently finished her PhD in Natural Sciences in Friedrich-Schiller-Universitatet-Jena in Germany. Her thesis was focused on understanding how unicellular microalgae called diatoms respond to food and sex pheromones. Previously, she worked with chemical defenses of sea cucumbers for her MSc thesis in University of the Philippines. She also helped developed a passive sampling device for detecting marine toxins from harmful algal blooms. Due to her penchant for learning, she has a tendency to be drawn to interdisciplinary studies and has changed research topics from time to time.

Currently, she is the science head of a science communication initiative in the Philippines developed by Filipino scientists called Aghamazing! (a fusion of the Tagalog word agham which means science and the English word amazing). You can follow Aghamazing! at facebook.com/aghamazing.ph/

On her free time, she does travel photography and international culture-related outreaches. You can find her tweeting about science in @pureblissofsun.

30th April 2018 – Auriel Fournier, Mississippi State University

Auriel Fournier_18Dr. Auriel Fournier is a postdoctoral researcher at Mississippi State University where she works as a part of the Gulf of Mexico Avian Monitoring Network (gomamn.org) using structured decision making to inform conservation decision making in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Auriel received her PhD from the Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Arkansas in 2017 where she completed her dissertation studying the autumn migration ecology of rails. She is passionate about wetlands, birds and trying to understand their migration while making the conservation and scientific communities more diverse.