InsideOut meets ScienceOnTap



First things first. When and why did you join the Martinos Center? Tell us your story.
I moved to the Martinos Center very recently, only seven months ago, in November 2021. I had just finished my PhD, and since I've never lived outside of London, I thought it was a good opportunity to see another city. I had heard amazing things about the Martinos Center and about Boston in general, and it's the closest place in America to London, which helps in terms of being able to go and see family. So yeah, I just thought "why not!!" I was really excited about the project and I wanted to try something new. And here I am! I joined the Martinos Center in June 2019 after finishing my PhD because I was a big fan of Jon Polimeni's and Laura Lewis's work and I saw that they were hiring, so I applied for the position! And that was pretty much it. I reached out to them and I moved here. I had thought of going to Australia before that, but the Martinos Center won.
We know you are involved in Science on Tap here at the Martinos Center. What is it?
Science on Tap is an informal seminar series where the goal is really to highlight the amount of amazing research that's happening in the Martinos Center and give people the opportunity to share their research. Many of us are doing similar things, so it's just a good opportunity to bounce ideas off people and, why not, maybe find new collaborators! The benefit of it being informal makes it a nice way to hang out and you know, hopefully helps people wind down on a Friday afternoon. Science on Tap is a seminar series that happens every Friday where we have a speaker that we invite to entertain people and tell us about their science. We offer drinks and food to invite people to stay a bit longer and catch up on their work. The best part of Science on Tap is being unexpectedly surprised by very good presentations. Some people go beyond just presenting their science and give very good presentations. They can present about science in a fun way.
Why did you get involved in Science on Tap? What are you hoping to gain from it?
Mainly to get to meet people! I came to the Martinos Center without having met anyone. So for me it was purely selfish. I wanted to meet new people and know what was going on in the Martinos community. In terms of what I hope to gain from it, though, I guess I would like to encourage people to really prioritize their mental health, especially on a Friday afternoon. I want to say: It's good to get out the office. It's good to start your weekend on a positive note. Science doesn't have to be this thing that takes over your life and it's not fun anymore. You know, it can still be fun! Come to Science on Tap and maybe you will meet someone new or, you will have an interesting conversation or you will just end your week with a smile on your face!
I got involved when Maaike (the original organizer) asked me if I wanted to join because Patricia was leaving. I thought it would be fun and it would be a good opportunity to get to meet people from the Martinos community. And being an organizer kinda forces me to be there, you know. So I can't escape it!
So did it work? Did you meet new people?
Yes! I've I've met a ton of new people like, for example, Robert Barry, who's doing really interesting spinal cord fMRI research. I also met some really interesting people who were curious about arterial spin labeling. They had never used ASL before and were like, "Wow! This is a really cool technique that I'd never heard of!" So that was really cool to hear. Yes! so for example I did not know Robert Barry and I loved his Science on Tap presentation and he told me a lot about his work after the presentation. And now every time we see each other, you know, we chat. So, so far I can say I have at least one new friend at the Martinos! However, now that Science on Tap will be in person I hope to increase that number...
Do you have to talk about your research at Science on Tap? What if you are really just in the idea phase and don't have any data collected yet?
Yeah, that's totally welcome. Science on Tap is not just about science. It's about anything science-adjacent as well. So if you have an idea and you don't know if that kind of research has been done before, you can come and pitch it in five minutes and see if you can start a discussion! Speakers can let us know in advance what they're looking to do. We had someone who just wanted to come and practice presenting. We had people come to educate us on what's going on in the center. We had people presenting initiatives. So yeah, it's really about just what are you doing in the community. If it's science related, great. If it's science-adjacent, great. Either way, we just wanna have a space where people can share!That is also totally ok. The idea is just to tell people what you are working on, or what you are planning to work on. It is not supposed to be a polished presentation. Even if it is just an idea, as long as you are gonna share it, it is ok. We had, for example, John Kirsch telling us about his plans for the scanners. And that was a really fun one. We have had commercial Science on Tap, where people talked about industry. So really anything that is linked to the Martinos Center works. Anything that resonates with the Martinos scientific spirit!
What would u like to bring to Science on Tap? Will we see anything new in 2022?
So, my favorite part of ISMRM was the artifacts game show, where people had to guess the type artifact present in some MRI images they were shown. So I would really like to run an artifact game! Or do some sort of fun quizzes. In summer, when it's beautiful weather outside, I don't expect people to hang around until 4:00 PM on a Friday. But if they do, then at least we want to make it fun! So that's something I would personally like to bring to Science on Tap.Nikou and I are discussing about how to make it more interactive, and how we can make that happen without scaring people away you know, without having people not coming because they do not know what it is going to happen :) We are brainstorming, and if anyone out there has any ideas and would like to share it with us, please send us an email! I would also like to introduce something that carries on over multiple sessions, like a series of speakers talking about one specific topic for example. Hopefully we will come up with something fun!
What's something about you that people would be surprised to know?
Oh, that's a great question! So I am a kickboxer. I've been kickboxing for about 7 years and I'm also a boxer as well, so I've been boxing for about three years, and so I guess people are often quite surprised that I like fighting. But to clarify, it's not the violent aspect that I like. It's more just that I love learning a new technique and it's very empowering and it makes me feel strong. And yeah, I guess that usually surprises people. Actually I have a bit of a fear of speaking in public. Science on Tap is a way for me to force me to face my fears..I guess people would not expect that from someone organizing social events. And I have been doing this to myself for a long time now...since high school!
And now tell us the truth. Do do you InsideOut?
Well, so, uh, honestly...I love the idea of it and I want to support it in whatever way I can. However I'm not artistic by any stretch of the imagination. I love writing, I like writing narratives about, you know, science and things like that. But I really cannot draw. Art is like the one thing I failed in my life...!Ehm, no. I am on the website now for the first time. Oh it's pretty cool! Anand Kumar wrote the score for an independent film?! Wow! I promise I will do InsideOut much more...