Organizing Commitee

ComSciConCAN 2021 is organized by:

Kaylee Byers (University of British Columbia; @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 Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. In her free time she hosts and produces the podcast Nerdin' About, where she asks scientists and artists about their work and what they've been nerding about. She’s also an avid open-water swimmer, knitter, and lover of puns.





Alexandra Gellé (McGill University; @AlexGelle)

AlexGelleAlexandra has been involved with Pint of Science since her first day as a PhD student at McGill University. She is now the director of Pint of Science Canada and can often been found in bars discussing science or holding meetings. She is also a contributing writer for the Science Network and The Conversation Canada, in English and French.






Sree Gayathri Talluri (University of Victoria, @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.


Julie McNutt (University of British Columbia)

julieJulie McNutt is a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry at The University of British Columbia. Her research is in the area of bioanalytical chemistry where she uses tools in chemistry to understand the effects of drugs in breast cancer cells. Julie is a co-founding member and the outreach coordinator of UBC Chemists for Diversity and Inclusion, and she was the president of the UBC Chemistry Graduate Student Society. She is passionate about education and currently working on her Certification in Advanced Teaching and Learning to help her use teaching as a platform for continued science communication efforts.



Sarah Nersesian (Dalhousie University, @nersesiansarah)

Sarah is a passionate researcher who loves to share scientific knowledge through illustrations and other visual communication strategies. Sarah is the founder of the first research based scientific illustrations company in Canada, Designs that Cell. She obtained her BSc in BioMedical Sciences from The University of Guelph and MSc in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Queen’s University. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at Dalhousie University focusing on exploring the impact of intra-tumoural natural killer cells on tumour development and treatment responses.




 Michelle Ogrodnik (McMaster University, @michelleogrod)

michelleMichelle Ogrodnik is a PhD candidate at McMaster University where she combines concepts from psychology and kinesiology to better understand how exercise impacts attention and memory. Alongside her passion for #SciComm, Michelle cares deeply about teaching. She works as an instructor at McMaster and a Lead Educational Development Fellow at the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, playing board games, and eating cheesy carbs.




Pramodh Senarath Yapa (University of Alberta; @PramodhYapa)


Pramodh 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 new states of matter. His current obsession is superfluid Helium-3 - a liquid which can flow forever without slowing down due to friction. In 2019, Pramodh was chosen as the winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's 'Dance Your PhD' competition for his swing-dancing rendition of electron behaviour. Outside of various #SciComm activities, you can find Pramodh playing ultimate frisbee, recording music or exploring the great outdoors!




Thanassis Psaltis (TU Darmstadt; @psaltistha)

thanassis-psaltisThanassis is a postdoctoral researcher at TU Darmstadt in Germany. He took his PhD in Physics from McMaster University and his research interest lies in the area of Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics, the study of the origin of the elements in the cosmos. Thanassis has worked as a researcher in laboratories in Greece, Canada, Germany, Japan and the USA (NCSR “Demokritos”, TRIUMF, Argonne National Laboratory). When not smashing nuclei using big machines to find out what are we made of, he talks about his research in a variety of audiences, edits for the science website “ScienceSeeker” and participates in science communication initiatives both in Greece and Canada (SciCo, Researchers’ Night Hamilton, Pint of Science).


Sydney Valentino (McMaster University; @sydvalentino)

sydneyvalentino Sydney Valentino is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University. She studies exercise prescription and monitoring in community-based groups in Hamilton, ON. Sydney aims to inspire others with her excitement for science through ComSciConCAN, Skype-A-Scientist, McMaster Institute of Research on Aging (MIRA) Trainee Network and Soapbox Science. Sydney loves her side hustle as a spin and cycling instructor but always prefers being active while she is in nature.




Francesco Zangari (University of Toronto; @franthewriter1)

francescoFrancesco Zangari is a PhD researcher at the University of Toronto in the Department of Molecular Genetics. He studies RNA-protein interactions using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry techniques. When he's not fishing for RNAs or proteins, Francesco is an avid science communicator through various outreach and writing initiatives. As a science writer, Francesco is driven to captivate readers with in-depth stories about the people involved in science and/or new scientific discoveries. To date, Francesco has written for a variety of outlets like Sinai Health Foundation, Massive Science, Cellular Agriculture Canada and the National Association of Science Writers. He's also a fan of sports, podcasts and exploring the Toronto restaurant scene when away from science





ComSciConCAN Advisory Board

Rackeb Tesfaye (McGill University; @RackebT)

Rackeb-TesfayeRackeb Tesfaye is a PhD student in the Program of Integrated Neuroscience at McGill University. Her research is focused on examining biological and behavioral factors that contribute to increased sleep problems found in youth with autism. Outside of the lab, Rackeb is a science communicator and outreach advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM. She is the founder of Broad Science, a Montreal based initiative that makes science inclusive, engaging and intersectional through audio storytelling projects.





Katie Moisse (McMaster University; @katiemoisse)

Katie-MoisseKatie Moisse teaches science communication at McMaster University. She's also a science journalist, with bylines in Scientific American, ABC News, Spectrum and The Atlantic. She has a Ph.D. in neuropathology from the University of Western Ontario and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.






Maria Drout (University of Toronto & Dunlap Institute; @mrdout)


Maria Drout is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. She is an observational astronomer who studies the evolution and death of massive stars and the origin of peculiar astronomical explosions.  In 2013, while a graduate student, Maria co-founded of the ComSciCon series of workshops, and is a member of the Leadership Team. She was previously a NASA Hubble Fellow at Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena. received her Ph.D. from Harvard, M.A.St from the University of Cambridge, B.Sc. from the University of Iowa, and is originally from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.


Farah Qaiser (University of Toronto; @this_is_farah)

farah_qaiserFarah Qaiser is a graduate student, science advocate and science communicator. She is currently completing a Master’s degree at the University of Toronto, where she uses DNA sequencing to better understand complex neurological disorders. When not in the lab, Farah engages in various science outreach, policy and communication initiatives in an effort to build an engaging and inclusive science culture here in Canada. Farah writes about science for various media outlets, has led Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons to address the encyclopedia’s gender biases, and is one of the co-founders of the Toronto Science Policy Network, which is a platform for student and post-doctoral researchers to learn about and engage in science policy.