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 – www.eciencia.usp.br) a science museum and at the “Comissão de Visitas” ( now called “Estação Biologia” – www.ib.usp.br/estacaobiologia) 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.
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.
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.