Nicole Avakyan
Ph.D. in Chemistry
McGill University
Communications, Editing,
Blog Contributor
Nate Klett
Ph.D. in Neurosciences
Communications, Media,
Funding
Joo Yeoun Sophie Park
M.Sc. Experimental Medicine
McGill University
Funding, Organization,
Communications
Sean Zhang
M.Sc. Experimental Medicine
McGill University
Research Marketing,
Communications
Eva Sabrina Nkurunziza
BSc. Neuroscience
Concordia University
Social Media, Blog Contributor
Kathryn Vaillancourt
Ph.D. student in Neurosciences
Media, PodCasts,
Academic Research
Nicolas Simpson
Ph.D. student in Neuroscience
McGill University
Communications, Founding,
Blog Contributor
Lily Jiménez-Dabdoub
M.Sc. Music, Mind & Brain
Art Therapy Concordia University
Social Media, Events, 
Blog Contributor
Alberto Osa García
MD. Ph.D. student in Neuroimaging
Université de Montréal
Academic Research
Liam O'Leary
Ph.D. student in Neurosciences
McGill University
Communications,
Scientific Liaison
Marielle McCrum
Speech Pathologist
McGill University
Academic Research
Hanna Davies
BSc. Neuroscience
McGill University
Media, Academic Research
Fernanda Pérez-Gay Juárez
M.D. Ph.D. in Neuroscience
Communications, Blog Contributor

Since his medical training in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), Alberto felt fascinated by how the brain breaks down and how that can change perception, memory or language. Being himself a fan of linguistics, he wanted to merge both sides together in his research. He is currently doing his PhD at University of Montreal on neuroimaging of language disorders (such as aphasia) after stroke. He is supported by grants from the University of Montreal and La Fondation J.A de Sève. At the same time, he collaborates with Le Théâtre Aphasique, a non-lucrative organism that offers theatre workshops for people with aphasia. He is an advocate of how language(s) can help in the social (re)integration of different populations, as well as a boost for creative thinking and a means to achieve open-access knowledge for everybody. He joined Convergence to help in the fantastic project where art, science and research with social impact gather together to show how they can improve society. In his free time, Alberto likes to play music and sing in choirs, lose himself among the artistic events around Montreal or look for a new language to be explored. 

MD. Ph.D. student in Neuroimaging

Alberto Osa García

Université de Montréal

Academic Research.

I recently graduated from Concordia University with a BSc. in Neuroscience. I am currently working as a research technician at the Lady Davis Institute (Jewish General Hospital). I am waiting at least a year before I apply for my masters. In the meantime, I will be completing a diploma in Data Analysis. I will also be working on growing my Concordia-based statistics tutoring company called Rent-A-Geek. Being interested in sciences and math was my greatest secret for a long time. I kept it for myself for fear of getting picked on for being a nerd. I was more comfortable being the class clown. I grew out of that phase, but the fear has not totally disappeared. Now my fear is to become a productive scientist without a voice. The type of scientists that can only communicate with people in their specific field. I think that reaching others goes beyond being able to simplify scientific concepts. I am currently figuring out what it takes to have an audible voice as a scientist. Seeking the key to that problem drew me to Convergence. I believe that arts can contribute to bridging the gap between scientists and artists. It is a learning experience and it takes away part of my fear.

BSc. Neuroscience

Eva Sabrina Nkurunziza

Concordia University

Communications, Blog Contributor, Media.

Fernanda Pérez-Gay Juárez is a Medical Doctor and science broadcaster from Mexico city. She is currently completing her PhD in Neuroscience at McGill University, which revolves around the neural basis of categorization, perception and language. Passionate of dance, music, literature and other forms of art, Fernanda has engaged in science dissemination in English, French and Spanish since 2014. She has published more than 20 scientific journalism articles in Canadian and Mexican media and has been an invited speaker at various science spreading events, including the international science festival Pint of Science. She is also the founder and administrator of the blog and facebook page Juga Cerebralia, where she shares contents about Neuroscience, Mental Health and Cognitive Science on a biweekly basis.  In 2018, she was a finalist for the McGill’s Principal’s Prize for Public Engagement through the media. In her free time, she dances Samba with the Montreal based school of Brazilian Dances Levanta Poeira.

MD. Ph.D. Neuroscience

Fernanda Pérez Gay Juarez

McGill University

Communications, Blog Contributor

Hanna Davies is a active visual and film artist. Although abstract, Hanna’s work often contain traces of neuroscience theory. Since 2016, Hanna has been a researcher in the Kennedy lab at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Her research uses optogenetic techniques to activate pathways linked to neuronal plasticity. Currently, Hanna is pursuing an honors degree in Cognitive Science at McGill, with the hopes of attending a graduate program that integrates Neuroscience and Education. Recently, Hanna has developed an interest in using her understanding of how the human brain works to create richer learning experiences. Specifically, she is interested in exploring how the creative process can be used to cultivate valuable cognitive capacities such as critical thinking, innovation, and the integration of diverse fields of knowledge. As a researcher and videographer at Convergence, Hanna is able to utilize her knowledge in both neuroscience and art. Further, she now has the opportunity to observe and record the implications of converging the artistic process with scientific inquiry and the effects this convergence might have on learning.

BSc. Neuroscience

Hanna Davies

McGill University

Communications, Media, Academic Research.

I am a soon-to-be graduating master’s student from McGill, specializing in the field of cancer biology. My research is in gene regulation with a particular focus on a single gene and its effect on normal and cancerous blood cells during dysregulation. Five years of interdisciplinary studies made me realize that Life Sciences were never too distant from Arts. From fluorescently labelled hippocampus to the power of scientific research in shaping policy, Science and Arts are inseparable. My love for this interdisciplinary cross-talk brings me to this project, where art makes science more comprehensible and accessible to the public audience and where science makes art explore lands that are yet to be discovered.

M.Sc. Experimental Medicine

Joo Yeoun Sophie Park

McGill University

Funding, Events.

Kathryn Vaillancourt is finishing her PhD in Neuroscience at McGill University where she uses post-mortem human brain tissue to try and understand the molecular consequences of cocaine addiction.  After earning a BSc in Biology and Psychology in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, she followed her passion across the country and has called Montreal home since 2012.  Early in her grad school adventure, Kathryn drew on the diverse backgrounds and experiences around her and developed a budding interest in science communication.  She co-founded and co-hosted the On Your Mind Neuroscience Podcast that brought scientific commentary to the airwaves for 3 years, and continues to flex her storytelling muscles as a freelance science writer and editor.  As an alumna of the second Convergence Sci-Art course at Concordia, Kathryn is inspired by the common experiences, challenges and questions that are faced by artists and scientists.

Ph.D. student in Neuroscience

Kathryn Vaillancourt

McGill University

PodCasts, Academic Research.

Liam is a Neuroscience PhD Candidate at McGill University studying the neuroanatomy of depression. Liam has taken his science out of the lab, by being a high-school biology tutor in Sweden, an embryological witness in England, and a senior editor for Canada’s largest science graduate student journal, Health Science Inquiry (HSI). Liam is particularly interested in scientific illustration, and since completing Convergence 2018-2019, is slowly emerging as a bioartist. Liam is interested in how bioart can communicate the personal impact of science research for scientists and society.

Ph.D. student in Neuroscience

Liam O'Leary

McGill University

Communications, Blog Contributor, Scientific Liaison.

Lily is a future Art Therapist, Cognitive psychologist and artist born in Mexico City. As an emerging artist her work is focused on photography and  recently she is exploring painting and drawing. Lily obtained her Bachelor’s degree with Honours from UNAM as a Psychologist (2014) and holds a Master’s of Science in Music, Mind and Brain from Goldsmiths University of London (2015), where she was part of the interdisciplinary audio-motor research group. Lily completed her graduate studies as a fellow of the National Council for Science and Technology from Mexico (CONACyT). She has worked and volunteered in cultural management and curatorial projects. Her inclination to the arts has kept her close to the world of photography, actively participating in university competitions since 2010. She has been part of collective exhibition in Mexico City, London and Montreal. On the most recent collective exhibition Lily participated in, Convergence Arts, Neuroscience and Society, she produced Self-Flow with Liam O’Leary where they are looking to convey awareness on mental health, especially for depression. As a psychologist, Lily has developed research in the fields of neuroaesthetics and music cognition. She was a research assistant in the first Mexican project focused on an interdisciplinary understanding about neuroaesthetics of pre-Hispanic art, "The Brain and Art", which is coordinated by Dr. Francisco Fernández de Miguel and brings together the work of mathematicians, biologists, psychologists and visual artists, as well as the participation of the visiting public at the Museum of Tlatelolco (CCUT).

M.Sc. Music, Mind & Brain, MA student Art Therapy

Lily Jiménez-Dabdoub

Concordia University

Communications, Blog Contributor, Media, Events.

Marielle McCrum is a graduate of McGill’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. As a speech-language pathologist working in acute care settings, Marielle helps patients who have experienced changes in their communication following stroke, brain cancer, and head and neck cancer. She also provides voice therapy. Her lifelong interest in visual arts and theatre drew her to Convergence 2018/2019. Marielle witnesses the value of interdisciplinary work in health care on a daily basis, and believes that increasing collaboration between Art and Science will lead to creative problem-solving and improved public engagement.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Marielle McCrum

McGill University

Academic Research

As a young man, Nate became fascinated with the potential of neuroscience to explain the complexities of human emotion. Born near Philadelphia, Nate ventured out west to Portland, Oregon for his PhD, where he studied circadian rhythms in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the brain’s daily clock. During his years in Portland, he had the opportunity to collaborate with projects such as The Steam Radio Syndicate and Xhurch. Recently, Nate moved to Montreal to study the electrical properties of the neurons involved in regulating the body’s salt-water balance. When not glaring into the microscope, you can find him bicycling all over Montreal to catch the amazing arts and culture that the city has to offer.

Ph.D. in Neuroscience

Nate Klett

Oregon Health and Science University

Communications, Blog Contributor, Media, Editing, Funding, Academic Research.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Nick is currently a PhD student at McGill University. He initially completed an MSc in Neuroscience at Queen’s University, and his current studies are focused on how traumatic brain injury impacts our neuroendocrine and autonomic systems. Nick is fascinated with both fundamental Neuroscience research, as well as how we as humans perceive the world in such a personal way. Since attending his first Convergence event in 2017, Nick has become passionate about the importance of science communication in our society. The media is filled with inaccurately reported research findings that serve to misinform and create distrust between scientists and the public. Nick believes art can be transformative for bridging this gap and is such a powerful and revealing media to express scientific research. He is proud to be involved with Convergence and is looking forward to playing a role in advancing its initiatives to support science communication.

M.Sc. Ph.D. student in Neuroscience

Nicolas Simpson

McGill University

Communications, Blog Contributor, Funding.

Nicole Avakyan is an Uzbekistan native but has called Montreal home for most of her life. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in Chemistry at McGill University, where her research focuses on manipulating the assembly of DNA molecules for the development of advanced biological nanomaterials. Her work has been published in prominent journals such as Nature Chemistry and JACS. She is the recipient of multiple awards including the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Graduate Scholarship and has been recognized among the Étudiants-chercheurs étoiles by the Fonds de recherche du Québec. She has been engaged in science communication through mentoring and educational outreach activities for many years and most recently has also participated in the Pint of Science festival. Nicole has a lifelong interest in all things art and craft that she expresses through textile and paper-based projects. This artistic inclination serves as a creative outlet outside of the lab, but at the same time informs the way she thinks about science and research. Also, she enjoys choral singing, an activity with documented benefits for the mind, body, and soul.

Ph.D. in Chemistry

Nicole Avakyan

McGill University

Communications, Blog Contributor, Editing.

I graduated from McGill with a Bachelor's in Neuroscience and am currently a Master’s Candidate in Experimental Medicine with a specialization in Biomedical Ethics. From a young age, I've been immersed in both the arts and the sciences - whether it was being awed at exhibits in science museums, playing the piano for hours on end (partially forced by my parents), or even digging up bugs in my own backyard and trying to classify them. Now in my graduate studies, I'm once again at a crossroads between the two disciplines: how do ethical principles in philosophy and empirical medical research inform one another? The melding of arts, science, in addition to public outreach is an exciting and creative venture. In the past, I played piano in Montreal hospitals in the Cedars CanSupport program and was a stage manager for the McGill Students' Chinese Music Society. Currently, my hobbies include playing chess and playing on Montreal's public pianos.

M.Sc. Experimental Medicine

Sean Zang

McGill University

Communications, Blog Contributor.

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