Cristian Zaelzer
Cristian Zaelzer
Ph.D. Molecular &
Cell Biology
Founder & President
Valérie Hénault
Valérie Hénault
Art Historian, MA in Arts Managment
Project Manager
Eun-Ji Amy Kim 4 low.jpg
Eun-Ji Amy Kim
Ph.D. in Educational Studies
McGill University
Academic Research Director
Bettina Forget
Bettina Forget
MA in Art Education 
Fine Arts Director
Andree Lessard.JPG
Andrée Lessard
Ph.D. in Physiology
Grants & Founding Director
 
Cristian Zaelzer
Ph.D. Molecular & Cell Biology
Founder & President

Born in Chile, Cristian pursued his graduate studies at the Universidad Austral of Valdivia, Chile. He obtained his Ph.D. with a thesis conducted at the University of Chicago in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology studying the structure and biophysics of ion channels. In 2009, he moved to Canada to work in brain circuitry and osmoregulation. His work and collaborations have been published in high impact journals including Cell Reports, PNAS, Science, and Nature. He has been the recipient of numerous recognitions including a CIHR Brain Star Award.

Parallel to his research, Cristian is also interested in science outreach and communication of the neurosciences with other areas of society. He is the Founder and President of Convergence, Perceptions of Neuroscience. This initiative brings the complexity and beauty of the mind and brain to the public through artwork inspired by cutting-edge neuroscience research. His work has brought together the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Program of the McGill University Research Centre (MUHC), the Integrated Program in Neuroscience (IPN) of McGill University, Concordia University Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), the Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN/ACN), the Montreal General Hospital Foundation, and the Visual Voice Gallery.

Cristian is also a Graphic Designer, practicing since 1995 in difference advertising companies in Chile and as an independent since 2001, and a Stained Glass artist.

 
Bettina Forget
MA in Art Education 
Fine Arts Director

Bettina Forget is a visual artist, gallery owner, art educator, and researcher living and working in Montreal, Canada.

Bettina’s creative work a focuses on space sciences, inspired by her avid engagement with amateur astronomy. She has exhibited her artwork in the USA, Canada, Germany, Iceland, Singapore, and Nicaragua.

Bettina owns and runs Visual Voice Gallery. Located in downtown Montreal, Visual Voice Gallery presents contemporary art exhibitions which create a dialogue between art and science.

Since 2016 Bettina is the art/science researcher for the SETI Institute’s Artist-in-Residence program. In this capacity, she investigates idea translation between collaborating artists and scientists, and explores different modes of knowing.

In her (limited) spare time Bettina serves on the board of the English Language Arts Network as president and Representative for Visual Arts, and she produces and edits the online art magazine The Belgo Report.

Born in Germany, Bettina has studied at Central St-Martins School of Art in London, England and at Curtin University in Perth, Australia and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore. She holds an MA in Art Education from Concordia University, Canada, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Art Education from the same institution. Her research project examines the recontextualization of art and science, and how women and girls may connect to STEM subjects through MakerEducation.

Eun-Ji Amy Kim 4 low.jpg
 
Eun-Ji Amy Kim
Ph.D. in Educational Studies
McGill University
Academic Research

The question of “What are the relationships between the ideas?” has been driving Amy’s research interests and agenda. Eun-Ji Amy Kim is an education consultant specialized in science education, Critical-Transdisciplinary learning approach and Indigenous Education. Amy was one of the speakers for March for Science 2018- Montreal and STEMM diversity exhibit at RedPath Museum. She continues to work towards her goal of ensuring that all citizens, especially young people regardless of their backgrounds, are critically and creatively engaged with current socio-scientific issues.

Amy is a strong advocate for creating critical-transdisciplinary educational programs to promote understanding of nature/world through multiple lenses focusing on the relationships. Whether it be through the convergence between Western Modern Science and local Indigenous peoples’ knowledge or the convergence between the arts and sciences, she firmly believes that learners & practitioners across disciplines will benefit through communicating and collaborating with other disciplines and communities.

As a research officer at Convergence,  she hopes to communicate the importance and the benefits of looking at the relationships of diverse ideas, especially between the arts and science disciplines critically and creatively. 

Valérie Hénault
 
Valérie Hénault
Arts Historian, MA in Arts Managment
Project Manager

I have always believed that differences make people evolve. We grow intellectually through differences in opinions as well as culturally through different backgrounds. Personally, I find fulfillment in collaborating with a variety of people. Throughout my BFA in Art History and my MA in Arts Management, and throughout my involvement in a variety of groups and institutions, I have developed a special interest in the benefits of exchanging ideas with people from multiple disciplines and backgrounds. My work at the Museum of Jewish Montreal, an alternative museum focussed on connecting with the community through different means such as food and oral history, was my first insight into the great outcomes resulting from innovative collaborations. I strongly believe that better projects emerge from interdisciplinary initiatives, and Convergence is the very embodiment of this belief. As my interest in the many cultural sectors continues to grow, I strive to help this initiative break down barriers – between science, art, and the public.

Andree Lessard.JPG
 
Andrée Lessard
Ph.D. in Physiology
Scientific Liaison

The scientific pathway in academia is quite challenging: it requires continuous knowledge acquisition for theory and practice, it forces us to embrace novelty to fix new technological problems and to develop creativity for new experimental designs or to test hypotheses to explain complex mechanisms. In other words, it creates free minds. 

I see Convergence, perceptions of Neuroscience as the encounter of two disciplines that have a lot in common. Arts and Neuroscience, two fields of research that seem so far from each other at first sight, yet so close in their work ethic: research process, rigor, excellence, innovation, and communication.

Andree holds a doctorate in physiology from the Université de Montréal. She pursued her training in neuroscience at Cornell University as a postdoc and instructor and was recruited by the University of Maryland School of Medicine as an assistant professor. Dr. Lessard has published several first- and corresponding-authored original manuscripts investigating brain circuitry involved in stress and mental diseases. From 2016 to 2018, she worked as a program manager for the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. She is now manager of the network for Oral and Bone Health Research (RSBO network). 

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Address/Notre Adresse/Nuestra Dirección

265 Rue Laverendrye

Longueuil, J4G 2S1, QC, Canada.

info@convergenceinitiative.org

Tel: +1 438 838-8831

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