2021

Board of Directors

Cristian Zaelzer
Cristian Zaelzer
Ph.D. Molecular &
Cell Biology Universidad Austral de Chile
Founder & President
Rebecca Duclos.jpg
Rebecca Duclos
Ph.D. Art History and Visual Culture
University of Manchester
Board Member
Trish Osler.jpeg
Trish Osler
M.A., Ph.D.(c) Art Education
Concordia University
Academic Research Director
Cecilia Kramar
Ph.D. in Neuroscience
University of Buenos Aires
Communications Director
Jihane Mossalim.jpg
Jihane Mossalim
BFA Art Education
Concordia University 
Fine Arts Director
Patricia Izbicki.jpg
Patricia Izbicki
Ph.D. Neuroscience Iowa State University
Neuroaesthetics Director
Grants Director
Cristian Zaelzer
 
Cristian Zaelzer
Ph.D. Molecular & Cell Biology
Founder & President

Cristian is an award-winning Chilean-Canadian neuroscientist, graphic designer, educator, communicator & artist. Trained as a graphic designer, he moved to the sciences obtaining a Ph.D. in Molecular & Cell Biology studying ion channels. His work and scientific collaborations have been published in high impact journals, including Nature. As a science communicator & educator, he teaches neuroscience to artists and science communication to scientists. In 2016, he found the Convergence Initiative.

 

I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) investigating the mechanisms involved in learning and memory. I've always been interested in how our brain decides what memories to keep and which ones to forget, and how that can shape our cognition and our entire self. During my Ph.D., I started using art as a way of expressing myself; not only making art, but also studying it, and understanding its importance in our mental health and well-being. During my scientific career, I've also been very interested in taking the science outside the lab to the community, making it more approachable and understandable. That's why, when I found out about the Convergence Initiative, I decided to get involved no matter what. It combines all my passions in one: art, science, and science communication. At the moment, I'm a Research Associate at Mcgill University, and I keep doing science and art every day of my life.

Cecilia Kramar
Ph.D. in Neuroscience
University of Buenos Aires
Communications Director
Trish Osler.jpeg
 

From professional practice to pedagogy, arts-based research to art-science collaborations, Trish’s portfolio reflects the hybridity of design thinking in studio arts, research and education.

Trained as an artist, researcher and art educator, Trish recognized the link between creativity, collaboration and communication during an early career in advertising, where she helped identify and make the best use of key performance strategies, challenging organizations and individuals to think like artists. Now a Doctoral Candidate in Concordia’s Department of Art Education, Faculty of Fine Arts, she is a Public Scholar and researcher with the Convergence Initiative, mobilizing the latest research findings into the neuroscience of creativity to develop transdisciplinary pedagogical practices. Her research interests include priming for creativity, art-as-research, a/r/tography, new materiality, and the immersive museum experience. Trish holds a Master’s of Art Education from Western University (London), and degrees in Drawing & Painting from OCAD University (Toronto) and Literature from Queen’s University (Kingston). Concurrent with teaching and learning, Trish manages a design consultancy and studio practice based in Toronto and is co-editing 'Artful Xchanges: Propositions for Museum Education'.

Trish Osler
M.A., Ph.D.(c) Art Education
Concordia University
Academic Research Director
Jihane Mossalim.jpg
 

A painter and an art educator, Jihane loves to bring the arts into people’s life. She believes that art is a universal language and she aims to find ways to bring this language to a wider audience in collaboration with the scientific community. She always had an interest in science and particularly for the human brain and psyche which led her to modify her entire schedule to be able to take the 2019/2020 Convergence class. The class gave her the opportunity to work on collaborative projects with science students which opened conversations and ideas regarding her own art education studies through a scientific perspective. She couldn’t just end the class and move on to other things; she wanted to contribute in any ways she could to the initiative and promote the idea of SciArt collaborations in educational institutions and in her own art teaching. As for her art practice, Jihane often plays with the concepts of childhood, memories and institutions. She is particularly fascinated with birthday traditions and children’s memories.

Jihane Mossalim
BFA Art Education
Concordia University 
Fine Arts Director
Patricia Izbicki.jpg
 

Dr. Patricia Izbicki is a Retention Manager for the All of Us Research Program Southeast Enrollment Center. Her other roles include Adjunct Professor at the University of West Florida Department of Psychology and a medical writer at SB Pharma Solutions.  Her research focuses on understanding the brain mechanisms of complementary therapies in aging adults and persons with Parkinson's disease. Her doctoral work focused on cognitive and motor inhibitory control in aging musicians and non-musicians to ultimately guide in designing accessible and evidence-based music interventions.

Dr. Izbicki is an Iowa Woman of Innovation, National Science Foundation Science Communication Fellow, Wakonse Teaching Fellow, and Iowa State University Focus Artist. She served on the Society for Neuroscience Trainee Advisory Committee and is former president of the Society for Neuroscience Ames Chapter.

I'm incredibly excited about contributing to the Convergence Initiative Mission because science and art are universal to all human beings. If we can continue to drive forward the research and outreach on sci-art, it can positively impact the lives of ALL people all across the world.

Patricia Izbicki
Ph.D. Neuroscience
Iowa State University
Neuroaesthetics Director / Grants Director
Rebecca Duclos.jpg
 
Rebecca Duclos
Ph.D. Art History and Visual Culture
University of Manchester
Board Member

I have been fortunate to have watched the Convergence Initiative expand and deepen over the past few years, first as dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia when our partnership with McGill first began, and now as a Professor in Art History. I'm not really one for disciplinary barriers and boundaries. Both in my own practice and administratively, I've pursued more experimental and open modes of knowledge seeking that are grounded in a sense of curiosity and wonder.

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