Early-career advisory group

The working scientists who serve as eLife editors, our early-career advisors, governing board, and our executive staff all work in concert to realise eLife’s mission to accelerate discovery.

Early-career advisory group

  1. Hedyeh Ebrahimi

    Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran

    Hedyeh was once advised by a Nobel laureate in Medicine to meet her country’s scientific needs and use all of the available resources for growth. She does so with passion and after graduating with MD-MPH in early 2019, she wishes to use her knowledge, especially in statistics and health policy, beyond basic research – in cancer treatment and prevention. She also hopes to help talented individuals who have the passion to participate in global efforts to enact change, but may face barriers such as borders.

    Expertise
    Human Biology and Medicine
    Cancer Biology
    Research focus
    cancer epidemiology and prevention
  2. Dina Alsharkawy

    Suez Canal University, Egypt

    In addition to her work researching the conservation of medicinal plant species, teaching plant ecology and biodiversity and acting as an editor for the Catrina Journal, Dina is passionate about promoting women in science, and has spoken on the subject in the #ECRWednesday webinar in July 2018.

    In her nomination Dina said: "I have faith that communication can create a wide network in the scientific environment, which will lead to multidisciplinary international work. It's my dream that science must be without borders and should be enjoyed. To make it so, we need to get in touch and know more about each other's work, through communications and direct interactions."

    Expertise
    Plant Biology
    Research focus
    plant biology
  3. Devang Mehta

    Devang Mehta

    University of Alberta, Canada

    Interested in better recognition for all contributors to scientific research articles, Devang commented on the subject in a medium post last year. He’s also passionate about raising the profile of preprints.

    Devang said in his nomination: "The greater use of preprints in biology overall will enable granting agencies to consider them as published work in their evaluations, relieving a lot of the pressure ECRs feel today."

    Expertise
    Plant Biology
    Chromosomes and Gene Expression
    Research focus
    plant biology
  4. Shyam Saladi

    California Institute of Technology, United States

    Shyam is excited about the potential of computational tools to increase the efficiency and accessibility of scientific literature. He sees an opportunity in using technology to level the playing field a bit more between early-career and senior researchers when it comes to publishing.

    You can follow Shyam on twitter @ShyamSaladi or contact him at shyam.saladi.org

    Expertise
    Computational and Systems Biology
    Biochemistry and Chemical Biology
    Research focus
    computational biology
  5. Lotte de Winde

    MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology at University College London, United Kingdom

    Lotte has been an eLife Ambassador since January this year. She’s actively involved in a number of projects related to science funding, including a publicly available list of travel grant opportunities for early-career scientists and the development of a best practice showcase document highlighting the policies that effectively support diversity in science.

    Expertise
    Immunology and Inflammation
    Research focus
    immunology
  6. Tracey Weissgerber

    Mayo Clinic, United States
    QUEST – Quality | Ethics | Open Science | Translation, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Berlin Institute of Health, Germany

    Tracey’s meta-research aims to improve the quality of data visualization, statistical analysis and statistical reporting in the basic biomedical sciences. This year in her role as an eLife Ambassador, she established a meta-research team, where members work together to propose, complete and publish a meta-research study. She hopes to help the ECAG to systematically examine the challenges facing early-career scientists, develop creative evidence-based solutions and disseminate the findings to the wider scientific community.

    Expertise
    Human Biology and Medicine
    Research focus
    developmental biology
  7. Margarita Calvo

    Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Chile

    I studied medicine in Chile in the early 2000s and then moved to the UK for an MSc. My thesis was my first experience in a “wet lab” and I loved it. I did a PhD in neuroscience at King’s College London under the supervision of Prof David Bennett. Following 3 years postdoc in London I moved back to my home country Chile. Here I set my own lab and continue working in investigating mechanisms of chronic pain. It has been a challenge to move countries, especially going to a place where research is less developed. However, it has been fun and I have particularly enjoyed creating networks of scientists in Latin America. I think helping each other is the best way we can move forward as a region.

    Expertise
    Immunology and Inflammation
    Neuroscience
    Research focus
    pain
  8. Vinodh Ilangovan

    Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany

    I am a research fellow at department of Genes and Behavior, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen, Germany. I study biological clocks and sleep using an integrative approach by combining molecular genetics, neural circuits, animal behavior and evolutionary biology. I am also a Max Planck Open Access Ambassador and strongly advocate for the practice of responsible behaviors in scientific research. At eLife Early Career Advisory Group, I like to experiment with novel forms of science communication and explore the use of meaningful metrics to evaluate research integrity throughout research cycle as well as reproducible nature of different research output.

    You can follow Vinodh on twitter @InquisitiveVi

    Expertise
    Evolutionary Biology
    Research focus
    circadian rhythms/sleep
    animal models of human disease and behavioural sciences
    neural circuits
    evolution
  9. Melissa Kapulu

    Melissa Kapulu

    KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya and Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, UK, Kenya

    In the pursuit to be heard and to relate ones achievements, there is need for one to write, show and tell. Thus unique, open-source and innovative platforms are essential for more importantly information sharing. My scientific journey thus far has seen me do research on understanding immune responses to oral vaccination and infectious insult, pre-clinical development of malaria transmission-blocking vaccines and currently understanding the epidemiology of malaria transmission from man to mosquitoes. All of this work, in some form has ended up in a write, show and tell. The need as an early career scientist to be engaged in the design and implementation of one’s scientific journey is of utmost and paramount importance. To be able to share not just the dynamic output of one’s laboratory adventures but also to share the other aspects of that journey, experience with funding, grant writing and management, work-life balance amongst others. This path so far has seen me grow not only scientifically but also personally and allow myself to be challenged beyond my borders.

    Getting involved to be a voice and be heard is what being part of the eLife early careers advisory group is all about. Ensuring that the “struggles” and “pressures” to write, show and tell are made known and to share what these are is my motivation to be part of such a dynamic group.

    You can follow Melissa on twitter @melissakapulu or contact her via email melissakapulu /at/ gmail.com

    Expertise
    Epidemiology and Global Health
    Immunology and Inflammation
    Research focus
    malaria
  10. Brianne Kent

    University of British Columbia, Canada

    I am particularly interested in whether changes in sleep patterns and bodyweight can be used as reliable biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, and whether chronobiology can provide a useful framework for developing inexpensive and noninvasive methods for slowing disease progression. I aspire to have an academic career committed to scientific discovery, translation of biomedical research, public communication, and policy advising

    I have been actively involved in raising awareness of the need for open access, post-publication peer review, and the life sciences to embrace electronic archives. Previously at the University of Cambridge, I have worked with the Graduate Student and Postdoc forum (GRASP) to organize events that encourage critical debate about the publishing culture in the life sciences and started a student group called ‘Standing up for science’ to inspire young researchers to get involved in the open science movement and change the way science is disseminated. To help motivate change beyond Cambridge, I have written critiques of the publishing system in the University World News, Huffington Post, University Affairs, and BlueSci – Cambridge Science Magazine.

    I hope that the early-career advisory group will help eLife develop an improved publishing platform. Most scientists are in agreement that the system is flawed but there is an encouraging momentum of positive change and I am grateful that journals like eLife are listening to and valuing the needs of researchers.

    You can follow Brianne on twitter @brianne_kent

    Expertise
    Neuroscience
    Research focus
    alzheimer's disease
    circadian rhythms/sleep
  11. Babak Momeni

    Boston College, United States

    I started my career as an electrical engineer (BSc EE ‘99 and MSc EE ’01, Sharif University of Technology). I ventured then into integrated optics and photonics (MS Physics ’07 and PhD EE ’07, Georgia Institute of Technology) and worked on developing synthetic optical materials to build on-chip spectrometers. Intrigued by the potentials and challenges of biology, in 2009 I joined the Shou lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where my research focused on microbial communities. I have been a group leader at Boston College since 2015. Throughout my career, the motivation has been the same simple curiosity to figure out how things work and then to use that knowledge to build new things.

    Navigating through training and research in technology and science, I have come to appreciate the importance of efficient communication of knowledge. While communication among experts is clearly necessary, the impact of reaching out to others outside that group of experts should not be underestimated. This outreach will enable interdisciplinary collaborations with experts in other fields and will additionally engage the general public – both essential for sustainable progress of science.

    I believe a platform of knowledge exchange that offers everyone, expert or not, easy access and an opportunity to learn, assess, and contribute is an important step. Such a platform requires an unbiased and constructive environment for presenting scientific findings; more effective measures for cataloging and structuring the information; exploring new ways to reach out to a broader audience; and encouraging and investing in efforts that facilitate science accessibility.

    You can follow Babak on twitter @bmomeni

    Expertise
    Ecology
    Research focus
    community ecology
  12. Jeanne Salje

    Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Thailand

    The world in which we do scientific research is rapidly changing. Social media, open-access publishing and the rise of free online university-level courses are making scientific communication more rapid, more global and, importantly, more egalitarian than ever before.

    In response, we the scientific community need to adapt the way we communicate with each other and with the general public in order to take advantage of these new opportunities.

    As a research scientist studying fundamental questions about the biology of bacterial human pathogens, based in tropical South East Asia, I am able to interact closely with frontline clinical research on the epidemiology and public health aspects of infectious tropical diseases, while staying connected with developments in basic bacterial cell biology from other parts of the world. This would have been much more difficult just a few years ago.

    I am excited about the opportunities and technologies that now exist to bring experts from different fields together to tackle important cross-cutting scientific problems, and I am enthusiastic about being involved in facilitating some of these changes as part of the eLife team.

    You can follow Jeanne on twitter @jsalje or contact her at jeanne.salje /at/ ndm.ox.ac.uk

    Expertise
    Microbiology and Infectious Disease
    Research focus
    bacterial cell biology
  13. Benjamin Schwessinger

    Australian National University, Australia

    My work experience on four different continents over the last 10 years provides me with unique insights of how science is performed globally. We often assume an universally valid approach to the scientific inquiry and a just evaluation of scientific 'excellence'. Yet there are significant systemic biases and structural roadblocks that prevent the scientific enterprise to perform at its maximal capacity. As community we need to level the playing field, diversify, and make science accessible for everyone. We will only be able to achieve long lasting changes by continuous inclusive community efforts. Changes are coming and they are real. Open access, preprints, science communication, unions (e.g. UAW5810), community efforts (e.g. future of research), protocol sharing websites (e.g. github, protocols.io), new publishing platforms (e.g. eLife, PeerJ, F1000), and political involvement of scientific societies, all contribute to this change towards a more forward looking and open minded community.

    I focus my research on plant-microbe interactions, biochemical signal transduction mechanisms, genomics and host-microbe co-evolution. My general research interest is driven by the desire to understand communication at a molecular level within an organism, between individual species, and within a given ecosystem. Over the years with the advancement of sequencing technologies I have become intrigued of how these interspecies communications evolve and in turn influence evolution. I am currently working on how the genomic architecture of dikaryotic fungi, meaning two haploid nuclei within a single cell, facilitates the tremendous success of this group of plant pathogens in agricultural ecosystems.

    I am excited to be an active part of the eLife community and the early career advisory group. This is an unique opportunity to collaborate on a global level and push for a better scientific future for everyone. There is much to gain for everyone by being more open and collaborative. I hope the insight I gained during my times as postdoc union organizer at the University of California and member of the future of research movement will be beneficial for the wider eLife community. I am driven by conviction and happy to share my experience with using preprints, twitter and other online tools to communicate ones research output within the scientific community and with society.

    Currently, I complement my involvement with ECGA with efforts to improve equity issues at the departmental level as equity committee member. Because reproducible science is close to my heart due to hard earned personal experience, I am an ambassador of the exciting open access protocol sharing website protocols.io.

    You can follow Benjamin on twitter @schwessinger and his blog at https://blushgreengrassatafridayafternoon.wordpress.com/

    Expertise
    Plant Biology
    Research focus
    plant microbe interactions and signaling
    biochemical signal transduction networks
    genomics
    host-microbe interactions
    evolution
  14. Emmanuelle Vire

    University College London - MRC Prion Unit - UCL Institute for Neurology, United Kingdom

    I have been a junior team leader at UCL since 2015. I have always been intrigued by the fact that genes can be expressed or not, switched on or off depending on the biological requirements, and how this works in diseases.

    I completed my PhD at Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. My work focused on the understanding of molecular connections between DNA methylation and histone modifications and their interplay in cancer. I decided to stay in the chromatin field and joined the lab of Prof. Tony Kouzarides as a post-doc in 2008. In Cambridge worked on non-coding RNAs in breast cancer and gained extensive expertise in gene expression analysis and changes between normal and pathological situations.

    My post-doc was not only been a wonderful scientific journey; it has also helped me to better understand the challenges that early-careers scientists are facing on a daily basis. Expatriation, funding, publications, career options and work-life balance are important factors that can affect young researcher’s paths.

    I decided to join the eLife early careers advisory group to contribute to the future of the scientific community, while ensuring the respect of fairness, transparency and quality of scientific communication.

    Contact: e.vire /at/ prion.ucl.ac.uk

    Expertise
    Cancer Biology
    Research focus
    epigenetics
    cancer
    noncoding RNA