Advisors and Staff

Meet the scientists! The following people are collaborators, educational advisors and guest bloggers on MicroGlobalScope.

Scientist Advisors

Dan Menelly - Vice President, STEM Education, Liberty Science Center, Jersey City

Dan Menelly is Vice President of STEM Education at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey and serves on the advisory board of Science House Foundation. From 2010-2011 he worked at the National Science Foundation in the Office of Cyberinfrastructure as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator. For the past 15 years he taught science at the United Nations School. He is the host of “Video Science”, a growing collection of 80+ videos of science experiment demonstrations, lab techniques, book reviews and teaching tools, produced by Science House and available on the web, and also as as a free app for the iPhone and iPad.

In summer, Dan lectures on natural history and science that is geographically specific to different regions, normally Northern and Western European cities. Dan is interested in all forms of science media and commentary, and is lucky to be located in New York City, where much of it
is created.

Dr. Ben Dubin-Thaler – Founder and Director, Cell Motion Laboratories Inc (aka the Biobus)

In August 2007, Ben Dubin-Thaler, or “Dr. Ben,” founded Cell Motion Laboratories Inc., an educational nonprofit, weeks after defending his doctoral dissertation on cell mobility at Columbia University. Instead of getting a job, he purchased a 1974 San Francisco transit bus from Craigslist and transformed the inside of the bus into a functional wet-lab, outfitted with three state-of-the-art microscopes and computers. All of the equipment is research-grade and was acquired through donations or grants.

The BioBus travels across the country to provide students in underserved communities with meaningful, hands-on lessons in a range of subjects including biology, ecology, chemistry and materials science. BioBus has been featured on the Colbert Report and in Scientific American, and is supported by Olympus, Nikon, Edmund Scientific, New York University, Science House Foundation and others. Dr. Ben has been named a PopTech Science and Public Leadership Fellows, one of 18 scientists from across the country. Ben explains, “the BioBus is about changing young people’s lives by getting them really excited about exploring their world through science.”

Russell Durrett – Synthetic Biologist and Co-Founder of GenSpace NYC

A recent graduate with bachelors degrees in Biochemistry and Anthropology from NYU, Russell has since founded a number of initiatives that bring biology to students, kids and amateurs throughout New York City. In 2009 Russell co-founded GenSpace NYC, a non-profit community biology lab located in Brooklyn, NY, that provides professional biology laboratory space for individuals to conduct molecular biology research cheaply and safely. Since graduating, Russell also created the New York Synthetic Biology Association, an organization dedicated to encouraging high school and undergraduate research programs in synthetic biology.

Over the course of 2010 Russell led the first New York University Team in iGEM, a competition in which teams of undergraduates design and build genetically-engineered ‘machines’. The team won a silver project for their project, immunoYeast.

Dr. Ellen Jorgensen – Molecular Biologist and President of GenSpace NYC

Ellen has a PhD in molecular biology from New York University and has been a researcher for over 30 years. Ellen is the president of GenSpace NYC, the country’s first community biolab, located in Brooklyn NY. Most recently Ellen has been studying the molecular mechanisms of tobacco-related lung disease as an Assistant Professor at New York Medical College. Ellen has a keen interest in amateur science of all kinds, and loves seeing posts from students all over the world!

Alex La Fontaine – Microscopist and Materials Scientist

Alex is an honorary associate of the Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis at the University of Sydney. He has worked for the past four years carrying out research in materials science using various microscopy techniques, as well as training users in microscopy and taking care of the instrumentation. Alex obtained a materials engineering degree in France and holds a masters in nanotechnology. He will be traveling around the world for 14 months spending 6 months in South America, 6 months in northern India and passing through many other locations.

Dr. Ana Carolina de Mattos Zeri

When she was nine years old, Ana Carolina repaired a radio her grandma gave her to play with, and at 14 she built her first electric circuit, a crystal radio receiver. Electromagnetic fields have been one of her passions since then, along with optics, gardening, perfumes, painting and music. After receiving a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics in Brazil, she went to the US for a nine year period where she earned a few more degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry, in Philadelphia, San Diego and Berkeley. In 2006 she returned home to Brazil, where she runs one of the open laboratories at the Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory (LNBio), part of the Center for Research in Energy and Materials, which is run by a Social Organization for the Brazilian Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation. In the laboratory, she and her students use high field magnets and electromagnetic waves to look at the structure of molecules like proteins, and to investigate the metabolism of animals and plants.

Dr. Tiago Jose Paschoal Sobreira

Tiago has a bachelor’s degree in bioscience and a PhD in bioinformatics, both of which are from the University of São Paulo – USP. He is now a researcher at the Campinas National Laboratory of Bioscience, in Brazil, studying molecular interaction and applying it to rational drug design. While pursuing his graduate studies, Tiago worked at “Estação Ciência” (Science Station – a science museum and at the “Comissão de Visitas” ( now called “Estação Biologia” – a project of the bioscience institute of USP, responsible for receiving students usually aged between five to the end of their high school career. The focus of both programs is to view biology in a different light, with a hands on approach in which the student experiences the experiment itself.

Bob Vosatka – STEM Educator at Liberty Science Center and Strategic Medical Director at United Front Against Riverblindness.

Bob earned a combined MD/PhD from New York University. He is board certified in Pediatrics, Medical Genetics, Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine. As an Assistant Professor at Columbia University and Tufts University, he has taught at the graduate and undergraduate level. He has also taught Physics and Biology at the high school level and currently teaches science at the K-12 level in the NY-NJ-CT-PA region with Liberty Science Center. He has made occasional media appearances on NPR and WMBC science commentaries.

Bob’s passion has been working with the United Front Against Riverblindness in their effort to eradicate onchocerciasis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Working as Strategic Medical Director, he is involved in using science to facilitate the global eradication of river blindness and other neglected tropical diseases, while collaborating in the control of malaria.

Bob’s microscopic expertise focuses on human pathology, parasitology, clinical microbiology, chromosomal microscopy and epifluorescence microscopy.

Gabi de Wit – On Leave

Gabi is studying a D.Phil in Physical Chemistry at the University of Oxford, where she is building and testing new designs of ion imaging microscopes. While light microscopes use photons to form a magnified image of a sample, ion imaging microscopes use ions (molecules which have lost an electron) generated from the surface of a sample by lasers. Ion imaging provides a chemical map of a sample – e.g. the distribution of proteins or biomarkers within a tissue section – with a spatial resolution of a few micrometers (about the size of a large cell) using current instrument designs.

Before starting her D.Phil, Gabi was on the founding team of MicroGlobalScope and was Foundation Coordinator at Science House Foundation.


WagenbachGary Wagenbach, Lumbini Academy, Yangon, Myanmar

Gary Wagenbach, the Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor of Biology, Science, Technology, and Society Emeritus, taught biology and environmental studies at Carleton for 39 years. Wagenbach is a leader in off-campus studies directing ecology-oriented programs in Bermuda, California, New Zealand, Australia, and Tanzania. His on-campus courses included biology of invertebrates, parasitism and symbiosis, and courses in the Environment and Technology Studies program. He directed Carleton’s concentration in Environment and Technology Studies for four years until retiring in 2008. His research interests include water quality issues and threatened species of freshwater mussels. His most recent project involves teacher training and K-12 curriculum development for a bilingual (English & Burmese) school, Lumbini Academy, located in Yangon, Myanmar.



James Jorasch – Founder and CEO, Science House Foundation

James is the founder and CEO of Science House Foundation, an organization dedicated to bringing the excitement of science to kids around the world. James is the creative director of Science House Foundation’s educational projects, including MicroGlobalScope, Terrabotic (a global, school robotics project) and PlanetCheckup (a student environmental initiative). James is also the producer of Video Science, a virtual toolkit of inexpensive and easy to setup science demonstrations starring Dan Menelly. James is a trustee of the Museum of Mathematics, an organization focused on creating the nation’s first museum exclusively for math.

In James words – “The kind of impact we want is to have kids go ‘wow’ and see the world in a different way.”

Rita J. King – Executive Vice President of Business Development

Rita’s lifelong passion for science started in childhood when she first learned about quarks. In 2006, she founded Dancing Ink Productions, a company with global clients focused on a new culture and economy. With collaborator Joshua Fouts, she most recently co-directed IMAGINATION: Creating the Future of Education and Work, an interactive project for educators focused on science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics.

She’s currently a Senior Fellow for Social Networking and Immersive Technologies at the Center of the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington, DC, and recently served as Innovator-in-Residence at IBM Analytics Virtual Center. Her art explores the creation of meaningful common space. She currently serves as Futurist at NASA Langley’s think tank, the National Institute of Aerospace.

Dalibor Frtunik – Regular Contributor

Dalibor is a Sydney-based entrepreneur working on renewable energy and IT projects. He has also worked on quantum computers, protein crystallography, and nanomaterial synthesis. Dalibor has a B.S. (Hons) from the University of Sydney and was its first graduate with a major in Nanoscience, also majoring in Biochemistry.

Mariana Tóffolo – Science Mobility Program, Brazil

Mariana Machado Tóffolo is from Londrina, Parana, Brazil. She studies Biological Sciences at the Universidade Estadual de Londrina, a state university in her home city in Brazil where she is currently a Junior. Mariana studied for 2 semesters at Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona. Mariana joins Science House Foundation through Brazilian government program called Science without Borders. This program seeks to promote the consolidation, expansion and internationalization of science and technology, innovation and competitiveness in Brazil through the exchange and international mobility. Mariana’s career goal is to become a Marine Mammalogist with emphasis in Ecology Education.

Tyler Black

Tyler Black was born in Michigan and has lived in a multitude of places. Currently he resides in Princeton, NJ and goes to Seton Hall University. Tyler just completed his freshman year at Seton Hall University and is majoring in finance. Tyler has an infatuation with entrepreneurship as well as finance and most other business methods of thought. Tyler has found Science House to be a very easy place to fit in and find excitement. Immediately upon working here he learned many useful tools for his present ventures as well as in the future. Tyler says he feels very lucky to work in a place that has such great communication, great co-workers and an outstanding message with the desire to inspire change around the world in almost every aspect of society through science while intertwining the ideals of business and entrepreneurship.