Organizing Committee

ComSciConCAN 2020 is organized by:

Roshan Achal (University of Alberta; Twitter: @TheSmilentist)

Photo of Roshan AchalRoshan Achal (he/his) has just finished his PhD in Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Alberta. He studied the fabrication and properties of atomic-scale electronics on silicon. During his research Roshan created the World’s smallest maple leaf from 32 atoms for Canada’s 150th birthday. He then improved these techniques to create the World’s densest solid-state memory, storing and playing back the iconic notes of the Mario theme song with just 62 atoms. Roshan has had extensive speaking experience, bringing science enthusiastically to a wide range of audiences. When not actively researching he enjoys creating art and playing sports.



Lara Bartels (University of British Columbia)

Photo of Lara BartelsLara Bartels (she/her) is a MSc student in Physics at the University of British Columbia. 
After completing her BSc in nuclear physics at CERN in Switzerland she decided to move to another continent as well as a new area of research and now works in medical physics on MRI of the brain. 
She loves hosting science shows and talking to high school students about what physicists get up to at CERN. 
In her free time she enjoys hiking, futsal, playing the piano and cooking.




Kaylee Byers (University of British Columbia; Twitter: @kaylee_byers)

Photo of Kaylee Byers

Kaylee Byers (she/her) is a wildlife health biologist and science communication nerd. She is the Deputy Director of British Columbia’s Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, and a recently defended PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia where she studied urban rats and their impacts on human health. In her free time she: organizes Nerd Nite Vancouver, a monthly science seminar series; produces, edits, and hosts the Nerdin’ About podcast; and runs science communication training via the organization SciCATs. She’s also an avid open water swimmer, knitter, and lover of puns.




Alejandra Castilla (University of Regina, Twitter: @alecastillab)


Photo of Alejandra CastillaAlejandra Castilla (she/her) is a biomedical engineer with a deep passion for science communication, stem cells, engineered biomedical tissues, and neurodegeneration. She has been a TEDx speaker by her contributions in Alzheimer's disease (here it is her talk:, a 3MT competitor, and an educator at the University of Regina and the First Nations University of Canada. Alejandra received her B.Eng from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, M.Sc. in Neurophysiology from the University of Regina, and is originally from Colombia. In her free time she enjoys dancing, hiking, and traveling.
Currently, Alejandra is owner of Linkiu: the Mobile App to sell and buy medical supplies online.


Lauren Eckert (University of Victoria , Twitter: @eckertleckert, Instagram: @laureneeckert)

Headshot of Lauren EckertLauren (she/her) is a conservation scientist, adventure enthusiast, and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Victoria. Lauren’s early research experiences around the globe exposed her to the complexities of interrelated social and ecological systems, and motivated her to delve into conservation science and science communivation that upholds local and Indigenous knowledge and human rights. Lauren’s recent work at the interface of social and ecological sciences aims to value local and Indigenous knowledge systems alongside empirical scientific studies – seeking community-engaged and Indigenous-led opportunities to more holistically understand the complex relationships between humans and our changing environments. As a doctoral student, Lauren’s broad interests include better understanding and seeking solutions to conservation conflict. Her research examines: Canadian environmental policy, relationships between humans and wildlife, and pathways to resolving stakeholder and human-wildlife conflict in British Columbia. Lauren is a Vanier Scholar, Raincoast Conservation Fellow, National Geographic Explorer, dog mom, avid hiker, and peanut butter aficionada.  


Sree Gayathri Talluri (University of Victoria, Twitter: @SreeGayathriTa1 )

Photo of Sree Talluri in front of a blackboard Sree Gayathri Talluri (she/her) is a PhD candidate at the Department of Chemistry, University of Victoria. She obtained her Integrated Masters in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. She is a trained photo-chemist with expertise in self-assembled systems. During her PhD, Sree is combining her expertise in photochemistry to understand self-assembled systems at the fundamental level. Her research focuses on investigating the function in self-assembled systems using the structure and dynamics studies. In addition to research, Sree is passionate about science communication and outreach. She is currently the interview coordinator for UVic Women in Science, where she works towards amplifying the voices and highlighting the experiences of women in the scientific community across Vancouver Island. She is a Co-STEM specialist at BC girl guides, where she actively works on designing and developing STEM experiments for girls. Outside of work, Sree is a part-time hiker, experimental baker and loves to travel.

Sarah Turner (University of Manitoba; Twitter:  @SarahTurner11)

Photo of Sarah TurnerSarah Turner (she/her) is a PhD candidate at the University of Manitoba in the Azad Lab. Her research focuses on how breastmilk and breastfeeding contribute to child neurological development and behaviour. She is working with teachers and health care providers to get breastfeeding education into the public school system and likes to write/talk about how the public can support breastfeeding. After hours, you can find her leading professional development workshops for grad students and teaching bootcamp at the local gym.





Guy Whittall-Scherfee (University of Alberta; Twitter: @GuyWhittall)

Photo of Guy Whittall-ScherfeeGuy Whittall-Scherfee (he/his) recently completed his MS at the University of Alberta that focuses on Space Plasma Physics. He studied how the energization of ions around the Earth can impact its magnetic field and lead to events like the Aurora Borealis. He is the founder of the Science Graduate Students Association Council at the University of Alberta which focuses on advocating for graduate student rights. Guy now works with students at Kids Stem Studio where he creates curriculum and teaches 5-11 years olds about all things science.


Pramodh Senarath Yapa (University of Alberta; Twitter: @PramodhYapa)

Photo of Pramodh Senarath YapaPramodh Senarath Yapa (he/his) is a PhD Student in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Alberta. He studies the properties of matter when it is cooled to near absolute zero, and explores how quantum mechanics leads to the formation of new states of matter. His current obsession is superfluid Helium-3, which is liquid that has zero viscosity and thus can flow without friction. In 2019, Pramodh was chosen as the winner of the Dance Your PhD competition sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his swing-dancing rendition of electron behaviour, "Superconductivity: The Musical!". Outside of various #SciComm activities, Pramodh is playing ultimate frisbee, recording music or out exploring the great outdoors!