Sophie Balmer, PhD

Sophie Balmer, PhD

Sophie is a postdoctoral fellow at Sloan Kettering Institute in NYC. After obtaining her PhD in 2013 for her work on signaling pathways during Drosophila development, she started her postdoc focusing on early stages of mouse development. She uses high resolution microscopy to image cellular dynamics with tissue-specific fluorescent reporter. Outside of the lab, she enjoys cooking, hiking and occasionally taking her camera to capture the beauty of the city.

003_3Lori Bystrom, PhD

Lori is a postdoctoral researcher at Weill Cornell Medical College. Her research interests include phytochemistry, ethnobotany, nutrition, and hematology/oncology.  She received her PhD from the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. Her doctoral research took her to the Dominican Republic where she  learned more about tropical fruits. Her current work involves isolating specific compounds from fruits to evaluate their effects on hematological malignancies. She is also interested in science communication and enjoys getting outside the lab to visit fruit gardens or to go hunting for interesting edible plants.

Deirdre Sackett

Deirdre Sackett

Deirdre Sackett is a 4th year graduate student in the Behavioral Neuroscience department at UNC-Chapel Hill. She researches the neurobiology of decision making in Dr. Regina Carelli’s lab. Outside the lab, Deirdre is actively involved in science communication and outreach, and loves hiking, swimming, and creative writing.

John McLaughlin John McLaughlin

John is a PhD candidate at Hunter College of the City University of New York. He uses Drosophila as a model system to study how the transport and translation of mRNA is regulated in the oocyte. Aside from doing research, he spends his time reading, enjoying music, exploring the city, and maintaining the lab’s website:

Jordana LovettJordana Lovett

Jordana is a PhD candidate at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where she studies immunological gene regulation. Using an in vitro embryonic stem cell differentiation model, she studies the properties of the T-cell Receptor α Locus Control Region for use in gene therapy applications. Jordana’s passions are communicating and getting people excited about science. When she is not in lab, you can find her dancing, on an international adventure, or roaming through Central Park.

Elizabeth OElizabeth Ohneck, PhD

Elizabeth is a Medical Writer with Health Interactions. She received her PhD in microbiology in 2013 from Emory University, where she studied genetic regulation of multidrug efflux pumps in Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Her postdoctoral research at New York University focused on the intersection of metabolism and pathogenesis in Staphylococcus aureus. In her current position, she provides medical communications support in multiple therapeutic areas, including rheumatology and veterinary medicine. She is passionate about the improvement of scientific communication among researchers, medical professionals and the general public.

JoEllen McBride, PhDJoEllen McBride, PhD

Jo is a recent PhD recipient from the Physics and Astronomy Department at UNC – CH. She studied whether star birth is completely shut off, toned down some or enhanced by interactions with 4 or more galaxies. This past summer she worked as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow at Voice of America in Washington, D.C. She began a temporary faculty position at West Chester University in Pennsylvania this fall. During her graduate career, she was part of the Engaging the Public in Science Workshop at the NC Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh and an Astronomy Ambassador for the American Astronomical Society. She also acted as a delegate for the Student Advocates for Graduate Education for three years where she lobbied on Capital Hill for graduate student issues such as research funding and student debt. In her free time, she pets her kitties Thelma and Louise, raises her daughter, Carina, with the help of her partner, Ed and writes about science.


Past Contributors:

Esther Cooke

Esther Cooke, PhD

Esther is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California San Diego. Born and raised in the UK, she completed her PhD in the Division of Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research at the University of Leeds, where she investigated mechanisms of thrombosis. Her current research focus is hemophilia, with emphasis on vascular remodeling in hemophilic joint disease. Esther is also passionate about science writing and communication, and is an active member of the public speaking group Toastmasters. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to the beach, and exploring more of California.

Sally Burn

Sally Burn, PhD

Sally is a British postdoctoral researcher living in New York. Born in Newcastle, she studied at the University of Nottingham (BSc) and University of Edinburgh (MSc, PhD). She spends her days high up in an ugly tower at Columbia University, investigating the genetics of embryonic kidney development. When not in the tower she can be found at the local middle school, teaching kids how to make a model intestine out of stockings and bread. She is also head butler for an arrogant cat.

Celine CCeline Cammarata

Celine is  a full-time lab manager and part-time Master’s student in the department of Human Development at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology. Celine’s current research focuses on neuromodulation, cognitive aging, and translational neuroscience; more broadly, Celine is interested in how science in general, and neuroscience in particular, influences and is influenced by society at large.

Rebecca Delker, PhDRebecca Delker, PhD

Rebecca is a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University in NYC. She received her PhD in 2013, studying novel regulatory mechanisms of antibody diversification in B Cells. For her post-doc, she leapt into the world of Drosophila research where she studies the role of genome organization in the regulation of gene expression and cell-identity during development. She is passionate about the communication of science and STEM education. When not in the lab, you can find her enjoying the outdoors.

Gesa Junge, PhDGesa Junge, PhD

Gesa is a postdoctoral research scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City studying the DNA damage response and DNA repair pathways. She is originally from Hamburg (Germany). She did her undergraduate studies in in Pharmacology and her PhD at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, working on DNA repair and drug discovery in Newcastle upon Tyne (UK).  She is really interested in science communication and like writing and talking about science just as much as she likes working on it. Her free time is mainly spent reading and cycling or writing blog posts about cool science.

jesicaJesica Levingston Mac leod, PhD

Dr. Jesica Levingston Mac leod is a consultant/project manager at Definiens, the tissue phenomics company. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow in Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Her PhD thesis was done in the University of Buenos Aires, in the arenaviruses field. She contributed to several magazines in Argentina, where she also developed a fictional writer career. Also, she is the founder and writer of the blogs: eNjoYC and Science Re-Views.

Johannes Buheitel, PhD

Johannes is a postdoctoral researcher at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. A molecular cell biologist by trade, he is currently investigating mutations in the cohesin complex and their role in the development of cancer and other diseases. Born in Erlangen, Germany, Johannes received his Master’s as well as his PhD from the University of Bayreuth (home of the Wagner festival!) before he moved to Gotham in 2015. He is an avid science communicator, a science and education policy advocate with SEPA, as well as an editor and writer at Natural Selections. In his free time Johannes writes, photographs, plays guitar, reads food blogs and binge watches tv series. Follow him under @grandmastabu.

Lauren Tanabe, PhD
Lauren Tanabe

Lauren Tanabe is a freelance writer and postdoc living and working in Detroit. She received her PhD in Pharmacology & Molecular Signaling from Columbia University and previously studied at the University of Chicago (BA). She spent many years tinkering at the bench attempting to unravel the mysteries that lurk inside of cells. Although a scientist by training, she is a storyteller by nature. She writes on a wide range of topics, including why she decided to leave academia for more fulfilling pursuits, motherhood, and her own struggles with identity and depression. She loves helping others to tell their own stories because every single person has a riveting tale to tell. When she is not being schooled by her two-year-old in lessons of gratitude and the wonder and awe of the universe, you can find her daydreaming and writing in various coffee shops around the city. Sometimes, she even doodles illustrations for a handful of children’s books she has written, but yet to publish. Follow her adventures @lauren_tanabe or at

Past Contributors: