Ben Dubin-Thaler created the BioBus in 2008 after completing his BA in Physics and Mathematics as well as his Ph.D. in Biology from Columbia University. “Dr. Ben,” as he is known to students aboard the BioBus, started the BioBus as an experiment to test his hypothesis that, given the opportunity to use research-microscopes to perform live experiments, anyone would be excited about science and want to do more. Dr. Dubin-Thaler and his team create a new kind of laboratory space that is empowering, accessible, un-intimidating, and that facilitates scientific engagement amongst populations historically underrepresented in science professions. Dr. Dubin-Thaler hopes to create a future in which people from all cultures and backgrounds have equal opportunities to practice and understand science.
Sarah Weisberg climbed on board the BioBus in 2010 after completing a Master’s of Science degree in Cell Biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. There, she was trained as an independent research scientist; her work has been presented at a number of scientific conferences and published in several journals. Prior to moving to Israel, Sarah graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College with a degree in Biology and Linguistics. Sarah has been a teacher and social justice advocate since her youth, working at food pantries and tutoring programs from elementary school and running an in-prison education program in college. Sarah believes wholly in the BioBus mission and works on all aspects of the program — from teaching and writing curricula to strategic planning and fundraising to learning how to drive and maintain a 1974 diesel bus (with no power steering).
Contact Sarah Weisberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
Latasha Wright received her Ph.D. from NYU Langone Medical Center in cell and molecular biology. She went on to continue her scientific training at Johns Hopkins University and Weill Cornell Medical Center. She has co-authored numerous publications and presented her work at international and national conferences. She is an experienced grant writer. She received her training in development at the Park Avenue Armory under the direction of the Manager of Institutional Giving. The BioBus enables her to share her love of science with a new generation of potential scientists. The BioBus creates a setting that fosters innovation and creativity. Students are encouraged to ask questions, formulate hypotheses, and design experiments. 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.
Danny Valdes has been on the BioBus team since late 2011. He is an experienced educator and is certified as a public school teacher in the states of Florida and New York. He has also taught in the private sector. Danny graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Philosophy in 2008. Like Dr. Ben, Danny was wary of getting ‘trapped’ in the world of academia and so moved to New York City in 2009 hoping to make a difference in the field of education. Danny is dedicated to spreading the BioBus’ mission of making education a fun and interactive experience accessible to all students. He handles logistics for the BioBus and is the main point of contact for schools and communities that are interested in having the bus visit.
David Yap joined the BioBus team December 2013. Born and raised in the Bay Area, California, he had a strong appreciation for the sciences instilled from his chemist father. After working part time as a lab assistant at the USDA while in high school, he attended McGill University in Montreal, studying Anthropology and Biology. Upon graduation, David spent a year teaching English in Japan and returned the United States, settling in Jersey City, NJ and freelancing as an editor of college biology textbooks. Later, he dove into the world of education reform and worked on staff at Teach For America. In 2011, David left to take part in the Occupy Wall Street protests and with a collective of artists he met at Zuccotti park, formed a worker-run screenprinting shop dedicated to creating art in public space and printing in support of social justice. David enjoys introducing students to science outside of textbooks and the classroom.
Sascha Russel has been having great adventures exploring the microsopic world and New York City schools on board the BioBus since September 2014. She loves how students discover how fun biology is when they get a chance to use real equipment and do authentic experiments on the Biobus, and how easy the biobus is for teachers. After earning a BA in Biology from Brown University, she earned an MA in Science education from NYU-Steinhart while developing hands on curriculum and teaching high school biology in NYC public schools in the Bronx and Manhattan. She went on to earn a PhD in Genetics in Gary Ruvkun’s lab at Harvard University where she studied and published papers on molting in the roundworm C. elegans. Sascha started the Model Organism Zoo for SITN, a student organization, which has continued to produce it each year for the Cambridge Science Festival, and she also worked with the Life Sciences outreach program at Harvard. Besides doing fun experiments and fixing up old things, she loves mushroom hunting and bugs.
Mollie Thurman boarded the BioBus team in September of 2014. She began her scientific career as a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health and went on to get her MA in conservation biology from Columbia University. She is currently part of a team of researchers working to assess the ecological health of New York City’s coastlines. Along the way, Mollie found that she loved to teach about the ecosystems and organisms that she was studying by volunteering with various environmental education organizations across the northeast. She spent a year as an educator at Maritime Gloucester in Massachusetts, where she was able to teach marine science on boats and in the classroom. She has also been involved in growing their citizen science program, which involves the community in monitoring invasive species and water quality. Since joining the BioBus, she has found the process of crafting lessons around student’s questions rather than working from a syllabus incredibly rewarding.
Tiffany King graduated from Spelman College in 2009 with a B.S. in Biology. After several undergraduate research experiences, including summers spent in labs at the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C., Tiffany went on to pursue a doctoral degree from Rutgers University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She completed her Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology under the guidance of Dr. Sunita Kramer in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Her graduate work focused on understanding cardiac cell migration, and early heart formation using Drosophila melanogaster embryos as a model. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at numerous scientific meetings. Tiffany has long been interested in education and science outreach, volunteering with organizations both during her undergraduate and graduate studies. While volunteering with the organization Citizen Schools, she enjoyed communicating scientific concepts to students through hands-on learning. The BioBus was the perfect place to continue presenting science in this manner, making it relatable and accessible to all students. Tiffany joined the BioBus team in early 2015, and the experience of igniting a passion of scientific exploration, and changing the idea of what a typical scientist is in the minds of young people has been rewarding.
Sasha Chait is excited to help BioBus expand and bring the thrill of discovery and scientific opportunity to students in NYC. Prior to joining the BioBus team in summer 2015, she worked in the Office of Development at NYU Langone Medical Center, focusing on biomedical research and healthcare. Sasha’s nonprofit experience also includes the Willis Center, a minority-based social and human service agency in Massachusetts, and WomensTrust, a microfinance, healthcare, and education organization in Ghana, West Africa. Sasha earned a BA from Clark University in International Development and Social Change with a concentration in social entrepreneurship and nonprofit management. She is involved in volunteering and politics surrounding social, economic, and health justice. Sasha can be reached at email@example.com, 347-766-4974.
Francesca Anselmi received her undergraduate education in Molecular Biology at the University of Padua in Italy. She then moved to Paris to pursue her graduate training at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research. There she learned how to build microscopes to investigate the mysteries of the brain. She received her PhD in Neuroscience and Optics at the University Paris Descartes, and then worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island.
Francesca loves sharing her enthusiasm about scientific discovery with people of all ages and backgrounds. She believes in a hands-on approach to science education as a means to inspire creativity. Her lab experience has taught her that everybody can have fun building microscopes, and use them to explore the invisible micro-universe around and within us.
At BioBus, Francesca continues having fun, while unraveling the wonders of science together with students and teachers. She hopes to help shape the next generation of scientists and citizens, aware and proud of the environment they live in, eager to observe reality first hand, challenge common knowledge and formulate their own original ideas to shape the world around them into a better place for everyone to share.