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Meet the Writers

Recent contributors

headshot of maggie andersonMaggie Alexander

she/her | Maggie studies how climate change alters the biodiversity of prairie plants in the tallgrass prairies of the Midwest. She's particularly interested in how the warmer and drier summers of future decades might change the ability of prairies to maintain a high diversity of flowers that are essential for supporting native pollinators. Part of Maggie's research involves using a drone to track flowering patterns from the air. Her research has many implications for pollinator-focused prairie conservation in MN.

Alex Crum wearing a blue jacket with trees in the backgroundAlex Crum

she/her | Alex is a Plant & Microbial Biology graduate student in the Yang lab. Alex's research interests include the evolution of plant metabolites and how evolution has affected the way we use plants. If she's not in the lab, she's probably gardening, hiking, trying something new in the kitchen, or telling people about the last cool plant she saw.

 

jackie wears a lab coat Jackie Culotta

they/them | Jackie Culotta is an Integrated Biosciences Master's student at the University of Minnesota Duluth in Dr. Allen Mensinger's lab. Their thesis project involves exploring new ways to control bigheaded carp range expansion. By classically conditioning carp to associate broadband sound with carbon dioxide, Jackie is testing whether carp aversion to sound deterrents increases. Their work may make non-physical barriers at lock gates for more effective while also minimizing carbon dioxide use. When they are not working with fish, Jackie likes to bike, canoe, and cross-country ski.

Ashley Darst

she/her | Ashley is a junior pursuing a BS in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the College of Biological Sciences. She enjoys working in the Snell-Rood lab where she researches how roadside plant communities affect pollinator communities and sodium preference in cabbage white butterflies.

 

Briana Davis in the field holding a frogBriana Davis

she/her | Briana is a Conservation Sciences M.S. student studying shark populations and coral reef ecology in The Bahamas. Briana enjoys watching marine life documentaries, drawing and reading thriller novels. She is passionate about honing her storytelling skills, and values the use of narratives as a way to talk about science in any setting with all audiences.

 

Abby Guthman walks in the fieldAbby Guthmann

she/her | Abby is a PhD candidate with the UMN lion center in the lab of Dr. Craig Packer. She studies the ecological interactions of large vertebrate species in East Africa, with a specific focus on how people and their cattle fit into the Kenyan ecosystem. She has a special interest in the community aspects of science and loves discussing scientific ideas with enthusiastic community members.

 

Aidan Harrington

he/him | Hello! I am a first year PhD student in the Moeller Lab studying the evolutionary ecology of flowering plants. My work seeks to understand the the role of whole genome duplication in the development of unique adaptations in the flowering plant genus Clarkia. This process is common across many groups of plants, including economically important crops. However, we know very little about the significance of polyploidy in wild plant species. My research will help us better understand why whole genome duplication is so common and how it contributes to the tremendous biodiversity of plants.

Laura PottLaura Pott

she/they | Laura is a first-year PhD student in anthropology at the University of Minnesota working in Dr. Maria Nieves Colon's lab. They are interested in ancient DNA and studying how evolution has shaped human health. She recently took a course in science communication and is interested in finding opportunities to communicate science and talk about what it's like to be a scientist. In their free time, they enjoy cycling, making fermented fruit drinks, and cloud spotting.

Jack Rabe stands in YellowstoneJack Rabe

he/him | Jack is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Conservation Sciences Graduate Program working in Joseph Bump’s lab. His research focuses on the impacts of wolves, cougars, bears, and humans on elk population dynamics in Yellowstone. He is more broadly interested in how predators interact with each other and their prey to structure ecosystems. As a first-gen college student who spent years educating the public about Yellowstone’s wildlife, Jack has seen first-hand the importance of effective science communication. While he’s still terrified of public speaking, Jack’s grown to love communicating science, especially by talking with school groups. In his free time, Jack likes to cook, rock climb, fly fish, and explore with his fiancé and two dogs.

 

Past contributors

Jonas stands wearing a navy blue shirt with trees in the backgroundJonas Alvarez

Jonas is a PhD candidate in the BMBB program. He's worked in the Mashek lab since February 2019. Jonas studies how lipid metabolism and circadian rhythms communicate and how aging affects this communication. Jonas is interested in science communication and outreach. As a first generation PhD candidate, he hopes to make science more accessible to people from disenfranchised communities and help build a diverse and inclusive scientific community.

 

Pavana Khan

Pavana is a second year student in the MCDB&G graduate program. Her hometown is Dhaka, Bangladesh but having been in Minnesota for undergraduate studies and now for graduate research, Minnesota feels like a second home. She workw in Dr. Aaron Engelhart’s laboratory, developing novel isothermal pathogen detection methods. Many current disease detection techniques are limited by high-cost thermal cyclers, fluorescence detection platforms and skilled technicians. Her work aims to combine the specificity, sensitivity and versatility of current platforms with the low-resource requirements for isothermal detection systems suitable for point-of-care disease testing, resource-limited field applications, plant pathogen and agricultural diagnostics. Outside of research, she enjoys practising synchronized swimming and performing in theatre!

Rosa E. Lozano (Tina)

she/her | Tina is a research assistant pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Entomology. She is committed to advancing the understanding of insecticide resistance to support food security.

Twitter: @TinitaLozano

 

Diego wears a blue sweatshirt Diego Morales-Briones

Diego is a post-doc in the Yang lab in Plant and Microbial Biology. Please navigate to his personal website to learn more about his work.

 

 

 

Siddhant wears a denim shirt with hair tied back. Siddhant Pusdekar

Siddhant Pusdekar is a PhD Candidate in Ecology Evolution and Behavior Program at the College of Biological Sciences. His research interests are animal behavior and evolution. His science communication interests lie in telling stories of science as it interacts with the lives of people. 

 

 

Maria stands in a black shirt with her hair down against a wall of windowsMaria Paz Ramirez

she/her | Maria is a BMBB Ph.D. candidate in the labs of James Ervasti and Wendy Gordon. She studies molecular forces in the context of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a lethal muscle wasting disease that affects 1 in 3500 boys. Maria is interested in scientific communication for scientists as well as for the general public, to take down the walls around science. Her hope is that communication and representation will lead to a more diverse scientific community and overall a more inclusive society, where scientific research is available for everyone.

Kira wears a black shirt with her hair downKira Samspon

she/her | Kira graduated in spring 2021 from CBS with her BS in Neuroscience. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in the Mcloon lab, investigating potential biomarkers for Schizophrenia and Hurler disease. She is interested in the intersection of science, writing, and policy and plans to study global health policy in graduate school.

 

Hannah poses in the fieldHannah Stoll

she/her | Hannah is a PhD Student at the University of Minnesota studying Plant Breeding and Molecular Genetics. Her PhD project focuses on quantifying the breeding progress of Intermediate Wheatgrass, Kernza®, a new perennial grain crop. While she is passionate about feeding our world using sustainable agricultural practices and advanced breeding technologies, she considers communicating science to learners of all backgrounds and educating future scientists as her true calling. Outside of her professional work as a scientist and educator, Hannah loves to spend quality time with friends, discover new cozy coffee shops and restaurants, and bike around the Twin Cities with her husband.

 

Laura stands with a rain jacket with mountains in the backgroundLaura Toro-Gonzalez

she/her | Laura is an ecologist studying tropical dry forests in Costa Rica and Colombia. She work in the Powers Lab.

 

 

 

Rodrigo sits in a canoeRodrigo Zorrilla González

Rodrigo was born in Mexico City and grew up in Caracas, NYC and Singapore. Microbes are my tools and he use them to understand the world around us. When he's not working in the Travisano Lab, he's usually rock climbing, running, or cooking up the best salsa you’ve ever had – craft beer in hand.

 


Staff Support

Caitlin LoobyCaitlin Looby

she/her | Caitlin Looby teaches a science communication class, workshops and bootcamps at the University of Minnesota. She is also a freelance writer and editor who’s written for radio, university media, magazines and local, national and international news. Caitlin is also a former scientist and spent twelve years hiking up mountains in the tropics to study microbes, soil and climate change.

 

Claire WilsonClaire Wilson

she/her |Claire works as a Content Strategist on the CBS Communications, Marketing, and Advancement Team. She focuses on developing stories to highlight the work of CBS faculty, researchers and students. She worked alongside Abbey and Judee to kick off CBS BioLine. She run BioLine bootcamps, maintains the website and creates the newsletter.

 


Founders

Abbey RobinsonAbbey Robinson

she/her | Abbey is a MCDB&G Ph.D. student in Assistant Professor Kate Adamala's lab. She works on engineering and constructing communication systems for synthetic minimal cells. Abbey garnered an interest in science communication as an undergrad when she gave her first poster presentation and came to the stark realization that if she continued in science, she'd have to explain things. As someone who once hated English class, writing has become one of Abbey's favorite things about science and she hopes to help other students find a passion for writing as well. She is a co-founder.  

Judee SharonJudee Sharon 

she/her | Judee is a BMBB Ph.D. candidate in Assistant Professor Kate Adamala's lab. She builds new functionality into cell-free systems and synthetic cells to more effectively understand how communication occurs between living cells. After finishing her Ph.D., Judee is interested in entrepreneurship. She understands the importance of being able to communicate scientific ideas to a wide audience—whether the audience is made up of community members or venture capitalists. With BioLine, she hopes to introduce a platform that empowers CBS researchers to strengthen their communication muscle while exchanging ideas across disciplines. She is a co-founder.