Samantha is an enthusiastic Science Communicator completing her PhD at the University of Toronto. Her doctoral research focuses on brain development and stem cell biology, under the supervision of renown scientist Dr. Derek van der Kooy.

The science done in labs like hers and around the world generates new knowledge for the benefit of all people. And it strongly depends on public support. Samantha believes social media offers fantastic opportunities to get more people excited about learning science and giving it the support it needs. For this reason, she is very passionate about creating new and broadly accessible lines of communication between the public and scientists using social media like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Samantha is a science educator with teaching experience ranging from high school math and science, MCAT prep courses, and introductory neuroscience and genetics courses at the University of Toronto. She is a highly requested speaker, and has appeared on TV as a guest science expert on shows for Leafs Nation Network and TVO Kids. Samantha is also a regular science expert on various CBC Radio shows including Metro Morning and Ontario Morning. She enjoys hosting and producing content for digital audiences, such as the #BeWhatYouSee campaign she completed in collaboration with GE Canada.

Samantha is passionate about education, personal health and nutrition, social justice, food, and (of course) science. When she is not in the lab or online she loves to experiment in the kitchen, infinitely inspired by the creative cuisines in excellent restaurants all over Toronto. She's been playing soccer since before she knew how to pipette, but nowadays she enjoys training in muay Thai martial arts.

Samantha loves making new friends so please don't ever be shy to say hello!

Video summary highlighting a day spent taking science from the lab to the streets for North America's first ever Soapbox Science event! Soapbox Science is an annual event from the UK that aims to engage the public with science, and showcase the less-represented faces of scientists to encourage more diversity in STEM fields. Samantha was 1 of 12 Canadian Soapbox Scientists chosen to post up in a lab coat at one of Toronto's busiest intersection, Yonge & Dundas square.


Academic Summary

Samantha has been experimenting and asking "why" and "how" her whole life, though her formal science training officially started at the University of Toronto. She earned her Honours Bachelor of Science degree by completing the Neuroscience Specialist and Cell & Molecular Biology Major within the Life Sciences program.

Following her undergraduate degree, Samantha joined the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, where she now holds status as a PhD candidate. Alongside her studies, she has been employed as a Pedagogical Research Assistant for a foundational neuroscience course at the university, and is also a Teaching Assistant for introductory neuroscience and introductory genetics courses.

Samantha has had the opportunity to work in a variety of exciting laboratory environments throughout her training, including a human psychology lab at OISE where she studied learning disabilities and ADHD in adolescents, and a lab at the Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases studying aberrant protein interactions that lead to amyloid beta accumulation in Alzheimer's disease. She currently researches how brain stem cells build the brain during embryonic development, and how the same populations of stem cells persist into the adult brain where they can maintain the diversity of cell types needed for brain function.

You can learn more about Samantha's current research here.