Random Walk 18: ComSciConCan #5 with Kathryn Vaillancourt


THIS WEEK: Kathryn Vaillancourt is a PhD candidate at McGill University studying how addiction can change the way traits are passed down, without having to alter the person’s genetic code. It’s a fascinating (and relatively new) area of research called “epigenetics”, and I wish I had read the wikipedia article before the interview, because it says that, “Due to epigenetics being in the early stages of development as a science and the sensationalism surrounding it in the public media, David Gorski and geneticist Adam Rutherford advised caution against proliferation of false and pseudoscientific conclusions by new age authors who make unfounded suggestions that a person’s genes and health can be manipulated by mind control.” We also talk about Kathryn’s path through academia, an awesome new arts+science podcast she’s creating, The Brain Bank that she works at, zines, and a bunch of other fun stuff!

CHECK OUT: Kathryn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoleculeMind (@MoleculeMind). Actually, instead of re-typing all of the really cool stuff Kathryn is up to, you should definitely go to her website: https://www.kathrynvaillancourt.com/science-communication . You’ll find stuff like a Women in Science Tarot deck she helped create, 97 Neuro-based podcast episodes, a bunch of writing, and lots more!

Kathryn is also working to build a podcast for The Convergence Initiative, a group that’s using art to help make neuroscience accessible to everyone. It is SO COOL. Go here: https://www.convergenceinitiative.org/about-us-int

AMPLIFY: This week instead of amplifying specific voices, I want to shout out this really great movement seemingly started by the (great) blog Astrobites: #BlackInAstro (https://astrobites.org/2020/06/25/blackinastro-black-women-in-astronomy-and-physics/). What started as a week to celebrate black astronomers and astrophysicists has spilled over into other fields. And to my great satisfaction, we are JUST IN TIME to follow @BlackinNeuro (https://twitter.com/BlackInNeuro)! Starting July 27, they will be featuring daily stories of black neuroscientists. In fact, it looks to be spearheaded by one of our favorites, the @FutureDrDukes ! So hurry up and get in there:

Also, check out the Society for Black Brain and Behavioral Scientists. This is a group with the goal of supporting black brain and neuro – based scientists. I personally benefit from the privilege of being surrounded by scientists and researchers that look like me. It’s hard for white people to really truly appreciate how important that actually is to ones development in a community since we’ve likely never not felt like we belong. One of SB^3S’s big goals is to foster a community and carve space in yet another white-dominated field. Check them out here: https://www.sb3s.org/goals-and-trajectory/

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe to our channel on YouTube , Anchor and our email list at www.scientificanada.ca .

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