10th June 2019 – Chelsea Little, Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology)

Chelsea LittleHi there! I’m Chelsea Little. I just finished my PhD in Ecology at the University of Zurich, and during this time I was based at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. I will start a postdoctoral research position at the University of British Columbia in the fall. My journey to where I am now included an REU project as an undergrad, a stint as a research technician, and an international Erasmus masters program in Europe, after a detour through semi-professional ski racing. There’s no one “right” path to becoming a scientist!

I have a hard time defining what kind of ecologist because I have worked in a lot of study systems and am interested in many different aspects of ecology and evolution. However, all of the research I do is related to community ecology. I use this and connect to ecosystem processing of carbon and nutrients, to evolutionary biology, and to applied topics like climate change and invasive species. My PhD work was with macroinvertebrate communities in the streams and rivers of Eastern Switzerland. Before that, I worked in plant communities in the subalpine zones of the Colorado Rockies and in northern Sweden, the oak savanna of the Pacific Northwestern U.S., the alpine zone of the Swiss Alps, and the tundra of Svalbard.  I’ve also worked with colleagues on experiments using protozoans in model communities, as well as gathering data from other researchers to use in meta-analyses and reviews. What aspects of ecology do you want to talk about? I’m excited to share my experience and to chat!

Outside of my working life, I am an avid runner, hiker, and cross-country skier – being outside is part of why I became an ecologist in the first place. I also love to travel, cook, and read lots of books. I’ll use part of my time as a host to discuss work-life balance, hobbies, outdoor adventures, grad school life, living outside your home country, and feminism in science.

3rd June 2019 – Maiko Kitaoka, University of California, Berkeley

Version 3Hi everyone! I’m Maiko Kitaoka, and I’m a PhD student in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley (USA). I study mechanisms of chromosome mis-segregation using various species of Xenopus frogs and particularly chromosome loss in inviable Xenopus hybrids. My thesis project combines cell biological mechanisms and genomics in a unique evolutionary context, making it both interdisciplinary and exciting for this self-proclaimed cell cycle/cell division and microscopy nerd! Previously, I completed my undergraduate degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where my research focused on the cell biology of developmental cell cycle transitions in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.

In addition to my research, I’m really passionate about improving academic science to make it more generous and accessible to all. Science is difficult enough at the bench, so every other aspect (career progression/trajectory, publishing, collaborations, communication, etc) should be as open and kind and positive as possible. To this end, I’ve recently become an eLife Ambassador where I hope to contribute to specific initiatives to aid in reproducibility, open-access publishing, and improving the daily “life of a scientist” (whatever that means to you). I also contribute regularly to preLights, an initiative by the Company of Biologists to highlight new and cool bioRxiv preprints in an effort to speed up the availability of scientific information and discovery.

Some fun facts about me: I was previously a pre-professional ballet dancer with American Ballet Theatre in NYC before discovering science at MIT, so you can often find me pirouetting around the bench doing my experiments these days (to my lab’s amusement). I know many Broadway musicals by heart (perhaps to my labmates’ annoyance), read voraciously, and believe that laughter and sunshine and love is the best medicine for anything. I dream about (in no particular order) writing my own book, starring in a Broadway production, owning a book café, and making it as a scientist and changing science for the better.

I’m really looking forward to taking over the @Biotweeps account for the week, and I hope you enjoy this peek into my life as a graduate student scientist! There will be frogs, mitotic spindles, sunshine, and more! Follow me on Twitter (@MaikoKitaoka) and Instagram (@maikokitaoka) for more insights into my life as a PhD student, frog wrangler, bookworm, and weird human being. Check out my website to learn more about me, my research, etc, and follow my blog for more of my personal thoughts about graduate school, #scicomm, and the state of science.

Website: https://maikokitaoka.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://maikokitaoka.wordpress.com/blog/
preLights: https://prelights.biologists.com/profiles/mkitaoka/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaikoKitaoka
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maikokitaoka/

20th May 2019 – Shiz Aoki, BioRender, National Geographic Magazine

FB_IMG_1558333146841Shiz Aoki is a medical Illustrator, Johns Hopkins school of medicine alum, former Lead Science Illustrator at National Geographic, and a multi-winner of the Best Infographics in America award. After having spent a decade creating bespoke science illistrations for high-profile projects, Shiz’s focus has now been to democratize visual science communication for all scientists.
Shiz is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of BioRender, a web program that empowers researchers to create professional science figures in minutes. BioRender works with renowned institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Cell Press, and more.

13th May 2019 – Malcolm S Ramsay, University of Toronto

Malcolm RamsayHi! My name is Malcolm Ramsay (@MalcolmSRamsay) and I’m from Toronto, Canada, but I’m living in Hannover, Germany. I am a primatologist who wears different hats as a biologist, anthropologist, environmentalist, activist, and many more things without titles. I’m currently a PhD Candidate in Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Toronto in Canada. I also did my MSc in Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Toronto back in 2016 and my BA in Anthropology at the University of Waterloo in 2013. I work primarily in Madagascar on the unique and fascinating lemurs that inhabit the island. My PhD is examining how the smallest living primates (mouse lemurs) cope with increasing levels of habitat loss and fragmentation. While my work focuses on ecology and genomics, I am passionate about many other issues in biology and science more broadly. I look forward to talking to everyone on Biotweeps about primates, Madagascar, fieldwork, social justice, and whatever else comes up!

6th May 2019 – Jesse Czekanski-Moir, SUNY-ESF (Syracuse, NY, USA) / Belau National Museum (Palau)

Jesse Czekanski-MoirHi! My name is Jesse Czekanski-Moir and I’m a Ph.D. candidate in Conservation Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) in Syracuse, NY, USA. The central projects of my Ph.D. include biogeography, community ecology, and evolutionary biology, especially of ants and land snails in Palau (Micronesia, Oceania). I’m also working on projects involving evolutionary simulations, ancient whole genome duplications in the Mollusca, and non-marine gastropod Phanerozoic diversity patterns. My Ph.D. advisor Rebecca Rundell and I will be co-leading a field course in Palau in a few weeks, so some of my tweets will likely involve fun facts about Palau biogeography, culture, and the conservation biology of invertebrates.

For further information, please check out Rebecca Rundell’s website:

and my profiles at Google Scholar, etc.:

29th April 2019 – Dead Birds of Rutgers – Newark, Rutgers University – Newark / New Jersey Institute of Technology

Dead Birds of RutgersLocated in the heart of the Atlantic Flyway, the Dead Birds of Rutgers – Newark (@deadbirdsofRUN) are a group of birds and the mammals who love them, committed to increasing awareness of window collisions in urban areas, particularly on the Newark campus of Rutgers University in New Jersey. What started as a small side project among friends has now grown into a dedicated team of bird enthusiasts: we document migratory and resident bird mortality that results from collisions with reflective glass during the day and lighted buildings at night. It is our hope that our growing dataset can be used in support of wildlife-friendly initiatives, and we look forward to connecting with other researchers who love birds as much as we do.

22nd April 2019 – Julie Teresa Shapiro, Institut national de la santé et la recherche médicale

Julie ShapiroHi everyone! My name is Julie Shapiro (@JulieTheBatgirl) and I’m an ecologist. I am originally from Brockton, Massachusetts but I currently live in Lyon, France, where I work as a post-doctoral researcher at the Institut national de la santé et la recherche médicale (National Institute of Health and Medical Research). I completed my PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology in August 2018 at the University of Florida, where I studied bats. I was particularly interested in the different ways that human activity can affect bats, including their diversity, bacteria, and viruses. My current research is focused on the ecology of antimicrobial resistance in hospitals. I use ecological models to understand how the environment and characteristics of hospital wards affect the number of infected patients. I also love doing outreach and scicomm – especially with kids! Biotweeps was one of the first accounts I followed when I started using Twitter and I’m really looking forward to taking over next week! Expect to hear about bats, antibiotic resistant bacteria, scicomm, changing fields of research, moving to a new country, and maybe a picture of my cat!

Website: www.jtshapiro.com