Know Science Talk on Cancer: Dr. Simona Giunta, Ph.D.
Founder and President

Dr. Simona Giunta, Ph.D., Founder and President of Know Science, and Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Rockefeller University.

“Cancer: Unlocking the Mystery Behind this Serial Killer” 

Dr. Simona Giunta does cutting-edge research on cancer and the genetics of cancer at Rockefeller University.  Simona is a scientist with over 10 years of experience in the field of molecular oncology, currently working to unveil new mechanisms by which cells can become cancerous.  A science enthusiast and passionate advocate for science literacy, she serves as the Director of the Science Communication & Media Group at Rockefeller, writer and editor for the University blog, and is the founder and President of Know Science. During her Ph.D. in Cancer Research at the University of Cambridge, she founded the Women Society of St. John’s College, promoting gender equality in academia, and was Science Editor of The Cambridge Student newspaper. Away from science (and talking about science!), she is an avid traveler, bringing her passion for science to 5 continents and counting.

Learn more about Dr. Giunta’s work:

Laboratory of Chromosome and Cell Biology     Publications     ResearchGate     LinkedIn

Know Science Talk on Stress: Dr. Rosemarie Perry, Ph.D.

Dr. Rosemarie Perry, Ph.D., Vice President of Know Science, and Postdoctoral Research Scientist at New York University

“More Than a Feeling: How Stress Alters the Brain”

Dr. Rosemarie Perry is a developmental psychobiologist at New York University and Vice President of Know Science. Rosemarie holds a B.S. degree from the University of Delaware in Neuroscience and a Ph.D. from New York University School of Medicine in Physiology and Neuroscience.  As a Ph.D. student, she worked in the lab of Dr. Regina Sullivan, studying how exposure to pain and early-life stress (particularly from an abusive caregiver) impacts the developing brain and behavior throughout the lifespan. She is currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow in the NYU Neuroscience and Education Lab (run by Dr. Clancy Blair and Dr. Cybele Raver), where her research explores how poverty affects child development.

Learn more about Dr. Perry’s work:

Neuroscience and Education Lab     Publications     ResearchGate

News and Media


Know Science Talk on Human Performance: Dr. David Putrino, P.T., Ph.D.

Dr. David Putrino, P.T., Ph.D., Treasurer of Know Science, Director of Telemedicine and Virtual Rehabilitation at Burke Medical Research Institute, and Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College

“This is Your Brain on Technology: The Science of Human Performance”

Dr. David Putrino is a physical therapist with a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, and Treasurer of Know Science. He has worked clinically in both private practice and hospital environments before moving from Australia to the United States to study computational neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and MIT. He then accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University, designing prostheses for Brain Machine Interface devices. David is currently an Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and the Director of Telemedicine and Virtual Rehabilitation at Burke Medical Research Institute. In this position, he works at the intersection of science, healthcare, and technology by developing low-cost and accessible healthcare solutions for individuals in need of better healthcare accessibility. He also consults for Red Bull High Performance, using state-of-the-art technology to monitor and enhance athlete performance. Finally, he serves as the “Chief Mad Scientist” of Not Impossible Labs, a group that crowd-sources accessible technological solutions for high-impact humanitarian problems.

 Learn more about Dr. Putrinos work:

Putrino Lab Website     Putrino Lab Instagram      Putrino Lab Twitter      Putrino Lab Facebook     Publications      ResearchGate      LinkedIn

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Know Science Talk on GMOs: Kate Bredbenner

Kate Bredbenner, Know Science Speaker, Editor, and Writer, and Graduate Fellow at Rockefeller University

“GMOs: Engineering the Genetics of Our World”

Kate Bredbenner is a scientist at the Rockefeller University in the Laboratory of Cellular Biophysics where she studies HIV using DNA engineering and fluorescence microscopes. She is a scientific communicator and blog editor for Know Science and an avid supporter of science outreach. Kate currently runs the SimpleBiologist which focuses on explaining new biology publications in a fun way via whiteboard youtube videos. She is also involved with a variety of science outreach organizations, including the BioBus, the outreach lab at the Rockefeller University, BraiNY, and Know Science. Her goal is to make a career of talking to the public about science in a fun and informative way.

Learn more about Kate Bredbenner’s work:

Laboratory of Cellular Biophysics     LinkedIn     Twitter

Know Science Talk on Critical Thinking: Dr. Niki Athanasiadou, Ph.D.

Dr. Niki Athanasiadou, Ph.D., Know Science Speaker and Postdoctoral Research Scientist at New York University

“Intro to Science: Critical Thinking in Every Day Life”

Dr. Niki Athanasiadou, Ph.D., is a research scientist at New York University. Niki graduated from the School of Biology at Aristotle’s University of Thessaloniki (Greece), was awarded a Master of Research with distinction from the University of York (UK), and received her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Edinburgh (UK). Alongside other fellowships and awards, she received The Young Biochemist Award from the British Biochemical Society. Outside of the laboratory, Niki is a passionate advocate for science outreach. She has written articles for the public about genome sequencing, and was a guest in the podcast “Data Skeptic” discussing personalized medicine. A competent public speaker, Niki aims to bring an understanding of the scientific method and teach critical thinking skills through talks, classes, and workshops she organizes in collaboration with various non-profits.

Learn more about Dr. Athanasiadous work:

 The Gersham Laboratory @ The Center for Genomics and Systems Biology     Publications     ResearchGate LinkedIn     Twitter

News and Media

Know Science Talk on Obesity: Dr. Barry Levin, M.D.

Dr. Barry Levin, M.D., Know Science Speaker, and Professor Emeritus at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

“The Obesity Epidemic: Why Some of Us Are Fat and What We Can Do About It”

Dr. Barry Levin is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Neurology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. He has spent more than 30 years studying the basic mechanisms by which the brain monitors and regulates the physiological and metabolic status of the body in animal models of obesity and type 2 diabetes. He completed his undergraduate and medical school training at Emory University. As a resident in Internal Medicine at Cornell-affiliated hospitals, Barry did a research fellowship at Rockefeller University with Jules Hirsh, one of the founding fathers of obesity research. There, he assisted Dr. Hirsh in the assessment of various metabolic, physiological, and psychological aspects of extreme caloric restriction as a treatment for morbidly obese patients. Barry then went on to train in Neurology at Cornell-affiliated hospitals and at the NIH and pursue a career in academic neurology at Dartmouth and New Jersey Medical Schools. Barry is excited to share his extensive career research and wisdom with Know Science.

Learn more about Dr. Levin’s work:

Publications     ResearchGate

Know Science Talk on HIV: Dr. Natalia Freund, Ph.D.

Dr. Natalia Freund, Ph.D., Know Science Speaker, and Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Rockefeller University

“Hidden Inside the Cell: HIV and the Threat of Viruses”

Dr. Natalia Freund is an HIV scientist at the Rockefeller University who has been carrying out cutting-edge research on the immune response during HIV infection. Her main focus has been on antibodies that neutralize the virus and reduce levels of HIV in the body. Before coming to Rockefeller, Dr. Freund conducted her B.Sc. and Ph.D. studies at Tel Aviv University, where she investigated new vaccine strategies for combating HIV and other viruses, and volunteered in the Israeli AIDS task force. With over ten years of HIV research experience, she is passionate about her work and excited about delivering her knowledge to the public. Dr. Freund is also a devoted mother of three, a lover of art and literature, and an enthusiastic traveler.    

Learn more about Dr. Freund’s work:

 Nussenzweig Laboratory for Molecular Immunology     Publications  LinkedIn

Know Science Talk on the Microbiome: Dr. Deepshika Ramanan, Ph.D.

Dr. Deepshika Ramanan, Ph.D., Know Science Speaker and Graduate Fellow at Sackler Institute at NYU School of Medicine

“Microbiome: How Commensal Bacteria can be Our Friends”

Deepshika, or Shika, is a recent graduate student from the Sackler Institute at NYU School of Medicine.  She received her B.Sc. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Winona State University in 2008. During the summer of 2007, she was awarded a fellowship to perform undergraduate research at the Mayo Clinic in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Bram where she was introduced to immunology. To prepare for a career in science, she worked as a research technician in the laboratory of Dr. Edwin Chapman from 2008-2010, and then enrolled in the NYU School of Medicine Sackler Immunology and Inflammation Ph.D. program, where she works in the lab of Dr. Ken Cadwell. Shika recently received the prestigious Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award in recognition of outstanding scientific contribution during her graduate studies.

Learn more about Deepshika’s work:

The Cadwell Laboratory     Publications     ResearchGate

News and Media

Know Science Talk on Love: Dr. Bianca Jones Marlin, Ph.D.

Dr. Bianca Jones Marlin, Ph.D., Know Science Speaker and Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University

“Love: It’s All in Your Head”

Bianca Jones Marlin is a neuroscientist and postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University. She holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from New York University School of Medicine and dual bachelor degrees from St. John’s University in biology and adolescent education. Her research has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Scientific American, and Discover Magazine’s “100 Top Stories of 2015”. A native New Yorker, Bianca lives in Manhattan with her medical-scientist husband, Joe, and their cat, Santiago, named after the famed neuroanatomist Santiago Ramón y Cajal.

Learn more about Dr. Marlin’s work:

The Axel Lab, Columbia University     Publications     LinkedIn

News and Media

Know Science Talk on Mindfulness: Meriah DeJoseph, M.A.

Meriah DeJoseph, M.A., Know Science Speaker and Project Coordinator at New York University

“Regulating Your Brain: The Science of Mindfulness”

Meriah DeJoseph is a Project Coordinator for the Neuroscience and Education Lab (led by Drs Clancy Blair and Cybele Raver) at New York University. In this role, she oversees multiple NIH-funded studies examining the relationships between poverty and development. Prior to joining NYU, she worked as a research assistant in an EEG lab at Columbia University, investigating attention in kindergarten children from a Bronx school post-completion of a mindfulness program. She has spent several years as a child mindfulness teacher, teaching mindfulness to children in California and New York City public schools. Her past research experience includes various projects that explored the neuropsychological effects of early intervention programs for children experiencing poverty-related adversity. Meriah holds a B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology where she can continue her work on the protective effects of early-childhood mindfulness interventions.

Learn more about Meriah DeJoseph’s work:

Neuroscience and Education Lab     Publications     LinkedIn

Know Science Talk on Science & Art: Dr. Megan McGill, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Megan McGill, M.D., Ph.D., Know Science Speaker

“How the Manifestation of Medical Diagnoses have Shaped the Art World” 

Megan is joining McKinsey and Company this year as a consultant and was previously a Radiology resident at New York University Langone Medical Center.  She graduated magna cum laude from University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in neuroscience, chemistry, and music.  She received her M.D. from New York University School of Medicine with Alpha Omega Alpha honors and a Ph.D. in MR Physics / Neuroimaging, studying brain networks – and their disruptions – in people with Epilepsy.  Megan also completed a year of her medical training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  Prior to turning to a life of medicine and science, Megan spent much of her life studying piano.  Megan lives in New York City with her magical creature of a son, Jasper.

Learn more about Dr. McGill’s work:

 Publications      LinkedIn

News and Media

Know Science Talk on Cooperation: Dr. Aniek Ivens, Ph.D.


Dr Aniek Ivens, Ph.D., Speaker, and Post Doctoral Fellow at the Rockefeller University.

“Best Friends Forever: Understanding the Nature of Cooperation”

Dr. Aniek Ivens is an evolutionary ecologist currently working at The Rockefeller University in NYC. The overarching theme of her work is ‘cooperation’, be it between ants in a colony or between different organisms, such as between us and the bacteria in our gut. In her research, Aniek studies how such examples of cooperation evolved to be what they are today and how they have shaped life on Earth as we know it, including ourselves.

In her work she combines computer simulations with field studies of ants, the aphids they farm in their nest as well as these insects’ gut microbiome. Previously, she worked at the Universities of Wageningen, Groningen (The Netherlands) and Copenhagen (Denmark), where she not only studied these cattle-tending ants but also crop-growing ants.

When not in the field or lab, she also puts cooperation into practice as member of Improv team ‘The Hand-me-Downs’. You may catch her performing in one of their shows on stages throughout NYC or in her solo-improv show ‘Dr. Aniek Discovers’.

Learn more about Dr Aniek Ivens work:

Social Evolution and Behaviour    Publications

Know Science Talk on Vision: Dr Tiago Siebert Altavini , Ph.D.

Dr. Tiago Siebert Altavini, Ph.D., Know Science Speaker and Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Rockefeller University

“Is Perception really Reality?”

Tiago Siebert Altavini is a neuroscientist working in the Laboratory of Neurobiology in The Rockefeller University. He has been studying different aspects of the visual system since he was a biology undergrad student at the University of Brasilia. The interest in neuroscience of vision led him to a PhD at the University of Rio Grande do Norte where he worked with Dr. Kerstin Schmidt at the university’s Brain Institute. His PhD research was on the visual connections in the brain and their influence in patterns of spontaneous brain activity. Now working with Dr. Charles Gilbert he is investigating the top-down influence of feedback connections on object recognition. The aim of such research is to understand the mechanisms by which expectation influences visual perception.


Know Science Talk on Epigenetics: Andrew Abrams, M.Sci., M.B.A.

Andrew Abrams, M.Sci., M.B.A., Know Science Speaker

The Science of Epigenetics: a 21st Century Revolution?

Andrew holds B.A., M.A. and M.Sci. degrees in Natural Sciences and Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, and participated in Cambridge’s year-long exchange program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During this time, he conducted research into DNA repair in organisms that thrive in the incredibly harsh conditions of volcanic springs. He has since blended his scientific interests with more commercial ones, having worked as an Associate in J.P. Morgan’s healthcare investment banking practice in London, advising organizations spanning the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic and other healthcare sub-sectors. He also holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and is currently working at New Science Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in life sciences and information technology companies. Outside of scientific and professional interests, Andrew’s loves to travel, having visited 60 countries to date and counting!

Know Science Talk on Social Bacteria: Sandra Breum Andersen, Ph.D.

Dr. Sandra Breum Andersen, Ph.D., Know Science Speaker and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Rockefeller University

“Social Bacteria and why they matter to our health”
Sandra is a postdoctoral research fellow in the lab of Dr. Martin Blaser at the Langone Medical Center at NYU, funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, where she works with the intricate social lives of Helicobacter pylori stomach bacteria. Prior to arriving in NY in 2016, Sandra acquired a Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology in her native Denmark, working with behavior-manipulating fungi that turn ants into zombies. Reluctantly leaving behind fieldwork in tropical forests, Sandra turned to the social lives of bacteria causing lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. This research was done at the University of Oxford and the Technical University of Denmark and revealed how bacteria can cooperate and cheat in our bodies. 

 Picture: Jesper Ludvigsen
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