Powerhouse Museum

Science Express: The Art of STEAM Storytelling

Talk Adults
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Meet nine leading researchers and communicators in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (‘STEAM’) and hear them share their communication secrets and successes through engaging talks and an ‘Express’ Q&A session. The Q&A will be followed by a chance to network with the speakers and audience members and to have some fun with our science-themed photo-booth.

The panel 
Alfonso Ballestas-Barrientos (USYD) Chemist working on clean energy generation
Angela Crean (USYD) Evolutionary ecologist and veterinary scientist
Isabelle Kingsley (UNSW) Science communicator, educator and researcher.
Jonathan Plett (UWS) Fungi and plants researcher
Muthu Vellayappan (Monash) Human heart research
Nural Cokcetin (UTS) Medicinal uses of honey
Richard Charlesworth (UNE) Diagnosing Coeliac disease
Toby Hendy (ANU) Physical and mathematical structures in nature and biology.
Vanessa Pirotta (Macquarie University) The health of whales checked using drones

If you are a Science enthusiast, researcher, PhD student, science communicator or someone who would like to get HOT TIPS on communication successes in STEAM industries, this will be the right event for you – so get your tickets now!

1. Alfonso Ballestas-Barrientos (USYD)- From Maracaibo, Venezuela, Alfonso Ballestas is a PhD student in chemistry at The University of Sydney. His research is focused on the creation of light active materials for clean energy generation. He is also a teaching fellow and he is adept at communicating science and making it available and enjoyable to everybody including children and young students.

2. Angela Crean (USYD)- An evolutionary ecologist based in the Sydney School of Veterinary Science at The University of Sydney. She has worked with animals ranging from sea squirts and flies to mice, testing how a male’s environment affects his sperm quality, and whether these changes in sperm can influence the growth and survival of his offspring. Dr Crean’s innovative research is award winning, including the Australian Institute of Policy and Science NSW Young Tall Poppy of the Year (2017) and L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Australian Fellowship (2016)

3. Isabelle Kingsley (UNSW)- Isabelle Kingsley is a professional science communicator, educator and researcher. She started her career as a high school science teacher but later switched gears and worked as a science communicator and educator at various cultural institutions in Canada and Australia. Isabelle has created and managed multiple large-scale science communication initiatives including National Science and Technology Week (Canada), The Mars Lab and more recently, the Sydney Science Festival. Currently, Isabelle is completing a PhD at the University of New South Wales, researching the impacts of science communication on public scientific literacy.

4. Jonathan Plett (UWS)- Dr Jonathan Plett is a Canadian scientist from Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment. He has travelled the world to listen in on, and understand, the conversations that pass between fungi and plants. His research aims to decode the language used in these interactions to better understand how some of these relationships can turn abusive while others lead to a long-term friendship. In recognition of his work, Jonathan was awarded the 2016 Young Tall Poppy science award.

5. Muthu Vellayappan (Monash)- An Indian by heritage, Muthu is currently a PhD student at Monash University and works on heart patches. Heart patches can be used to treat heart patients but the heart muscle cells don’t efficiently align on the patch, leading to poor healing. Muthu’s research attempts to fill this void by using 3D printing and post-processing techniques to produce an effective grooved cardiac patch material. Muthu was the audience choice winner at the science communication competition, FameLab Australia 2018.

6. Nural Cokcetin (UTS)- Dr Nural Cokcetin is a postdoctoral researcher at the ithree institute, University of Technology Sydney, specialising in the medicinal properties of honey. Nural’s current research focuses on understanding the antimicrobial activity of honey. She is passionate about communicating her research to as broad an audience as possible. In recognition of this, Nural won the international runner-up in the FameLab 2017 Science Communication program and delivered a TEDx talk in Sydney. Nural holds an outstanding track record for media engagement.

7. Richard Charlesworth (UNE)- Dr Richard Charlesworth is Lecturer in Biomedical Science at University of New England, Armidale. Richard’s focus is to improve the diagnosis of coeliac disease (CD). Currently the most conclusive form of testing for CD is based on examining tissue through a microscope, where subtle changes can be missed. The work involves the development of a novel test for CD, a gene array that can look at the expression of different genes simultaneously. Mathematical modelling of the data and predictive equations can diagnose CD with 96% accuracy. With his creative communication skills, Richard was the winner of the science communication program, FameLab NSW semi-final in 2018.

8. Toby Hendy (ANU)- Toby, PhD student at Australian National University, Canberra is currently using nanoindentation to examine the mechanical response of plant cells to applied pressure. This work has applications in how plants protect themselves from disease. She is interested in looking for physical and mathematical structures in nature and biology. Toby hosts a youtube channel with over 40k subscribers talking about various STEM concepts and was awarded the runner-up prize at the science communication program FameLab Australia 2018.

9. Vanessa Pirotta (Macquarie)- An Italian and Maltese by origin, Vanessa Pirotta, is a PhD candidate at Macquarie University. Vanessa has been working on Whale conservation and her innovative and ground-breaking research involves drone technology to collect whale snot as an indicator of whale health. Vanessa’s work has recently gained media attention in a plethora of broadcast and published media. In recognition of her passion for communicating her research, she won the second prize at the international science communication program FameLab 2018 at the Cheltenham Science Festival, UK.

Come along to listen to and interact with these amazing STEAM communicators and have some fun with the photobooth at the end of the session using props from the participants’ research!

There will be a cash bar open from 5.30pm–8.30pm.