April 20th 2015 – Chris Slape, Monash University

Chris SlapeI’m a Research Fellow at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and a molecular biologist by training. The goal of my PhD project was to identify the chromosome breakpoints in leukemia patients (back before the Human Genome Project made that an afternoon’s work), and I’ve been working in various leukemia genetics projects ever since. I’m currently working on a translational project, trying to bring a molecular discovery (the inappropriate expression of a certain protein in leukemia) made 20 years ago through to a useful clinical application. It’s my first time in a lab with a real biochemistry focus rather than a genetics or cellular biology focus, which is… challenging?


More generally, I’m interested in leukemia stem cells, the cells that are responsible for relapse after chemotherapy, and how they manage to survive and regenerate the leukemia all by themselves. Through my work I aim to understand the genetic mutations and epigenetic events that drive gene expression patterns which control this behaviour. Things I am interested in and wish I was more adept at include bioinformatics and understanding how genome organisation works; good luck with that. Outside of work, I am a keen if slow runner, a keen if mad baseball fan, and a keen if misguided semi-colon user. I have a blog I last updated about two years ago.


December 15th, 2014 – Victoria Metcalf, Lincoln University

Victoria MetcalfI’m a marine biologist/geneticist living in New Zealand and mad keen on studying fish and shellfish. I have a particular love of cold places and most of my research is on Antarctic marine life. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to the Antarctic seven times. I’m passionate about doing meaningful research that will help our planet. I am researching the effects of increases in temperature, ocean acidification and pollution because the effects of climate change are something we should all worry about. I’m also fascinated by epigenetics and the role of the microbiome.

I work part-time, mum full-time and am also incredibly interested in the science of parenting. This is why I have my own blog Parenting by Instinct (http://parentingbyinstinct.wordpress.com/) to help parents take on board good quality science which they can use to empower themselves in their own parenting decisions.

I’m a very committed science communicator in the form of community and school/teacher presentations, social media, blogging, media articles and involvement in science festivals. I really want to excite the public about science, especially from a young age.

You can find me on Twitter at @VicMetcalf_NZ and my science blog at http://sciblogs.co.nz/icedoctor/