This week, we’re presenting two stories from scientists about the people and places that inspired them.
Part 1: Just before she leaves for her dream opportunity to teach marine science on the Red Sea, Latasha Wright gets a call that puts her plans in jeopardy.
Part 2: Growing up, Sheena Cruickshank's teenage older brother inspires her love of science, but then one summer he returns from university with a lump on his arm.
Latasha Wright received her Ph.D. from NYU Langone Medical Center in Cell and Molecular Biology. After her studies, she went on to continue her scientific training at Johns Hopkins University and Weill Cornell Medical Center. She has coauthored numerous publications and presented her work at international and national conferences. In 2011, she joined the crew of the BioBus, a mobile science lab dedicated to bringing handson science and inspiration to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. The BioBus creates a setting that fosters innovation and creativity. Students are encouraged to ask questions, formulate hypotheses, and design experiments. Through the BioBus, Latasha was able to share her love of science with a new generation of potential scientists. Everyday that she spends teaching students about science in this transformative environment helps her remember that science is fun. She loves sharing the journey of discovery with students of all ages. In 2014, the BioBus team launched an immersive, unintimidating laboratory space called the BioBase, a community laboratory model. At the BioBase students are encouraged to explore their scientific potential through in-depth programming and hands-on experimentation. Latasha has lead the efforts in establishing this community laboratory model, and hopes to build on its success in other communities. The efforts of the BioBus’ team to promote science education to all communities in New York City has been recognized by numerous news outlets, including the WNYC science radio program Hypothesis. Additionally, Latasha has been featured as NY1’s New Yorker of the Week.
Sheena Cruickshank graduated in Biochemistry and Immunology from the University of Strathclyde and did a PhD in Immunology with Cancer Research UK at the University of Leeds. She is now an immunology Professor in the University of Manchester and also is their University Academic Lead for Public Engagement. Her research aims to understand how the immune response distinguishes harm from benefit e.g. parasitic infections versus the friendly bacteria that live in and on our bodies. She has a focus on using her research to help develop tools to improve patient diagnosis and management. Sheena is passionate about communicating her research with the public and her public engagement work is very closely linked to her research. She co-developed resources to help educate about parasite infections and their impact with a set of resources called “the Worm Wagon” and focuses on enabling access to science for non-native English speakers. She also co-developed a UK nationwide citizen science project to understand allergies and the impacts of pollution (@BritainBreathing). She was a AAAS Leshner Fellow and has received awards and commendations for her outreach from organisations such as the Royal Society of Biology, BBSRC and NCCPE and has presented her work in the media including the radio and television.
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