On the 1st of June, 2018, we will organise an open to the public “Cafe Scientifique” event at the American International School in Cyprus (AISC; https://www.aisc.ac.cy/) in Nicosia between 5 to 7 pm. During this event, we will have an open dialogue with high school students (Grades 9+) in order to present and discuss the latest theories and practices in the field of Microbiology/Protistology and Eukaryotic Evolution. Four brilliant and successful researchers have already agreed to speak during this event, including Dr. Joel Dacks (University of Alberta, Canada), Dr. Eleni Gentekaki (Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand), Dr. Anna Karnkowska (University of Warsaw, Poland) and Dr. Juan Saldarriaga (University of British Columbia, Canada). The participants will have the opportunity to discuss with the speakers on various aspects of their research, but also academic prospects and life in science. A brief biography of the speakers is found below. If you would like to attend/participate at this event, please register at the following link:



Short biographies:

Dr. Joel Dacks

Hi, my name is Joel Dacks and I am from Edmonton, Canada. I have always been interested in both history and in biology. In fact, I wasn’t sure which I wanted to study at University. Then I learned about scientists who study the origin and evolution of life and my choice was made! My studies took me all over North America, including a summer internship at NASA and finally a PhD from Dalhousie University (Canada). Then I got to work in England at the Natural History Museum in London and at the University of Cambridge. About 10 years ago, I moved back to the city where I was born and started my own research group in the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Alberta. As well as my lab there, I am a Scientific Associate of the Natural History Museum and the President of the International Society for Evolutionary Protistology (ISEP) for 2018. My lab uses DNA sequencing and computational analyses to understand the vast diversity of cellular organization and the mechanisms of how they came to be.

Website: https://www.ualberta.ca/cellbiology/FacultyMembers/JoelDacks.aspx


Dr. Eleni Gentekaki

My name is Eleni Gentekaki and I am originally from Crete, Greece. Growing up, my parents followed the Greek custom and send me to the village with my grandparents during school holidays. My village is located on the White Mountains (Λευκα Ορη) and is a kid’s paradise. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it is also a biodiversity paradise. I spend most of my time outdoors collecting water and soil and sorting anything that moved. I remember being fascinated by all the variety. My cousins, not so much… Despite my love for biology, I actually started my career as a nurse. It was years later that I got the opportunity to study biology at the University of Guelph, Canada. After I got my degree, I moved on to Dalhousie University in Halifax for a post doc. There, I learned that computer tools and biodiversity are not mutually exclusive entities. Armed with this knowledge, I went on and grabbed the chance to do a post doc in Thailand, a biodiversity hotspot. Soon after, I moved to Chiang Rai at the Mae Fah Luang University in the north of Thailand as a lecturer. My interest is now focused on the diversity of organisms living inside the intestines of humans and other animals

Website: http://web2.mfu.ac.th/school/science2014/index.php?id=257

Twitter: @CiliateGal


Dr. Anna Karnkowska

My name is Anna Karnkowska, and I am a biologist. At heart, I have been a biologist ever since I can remember. I was born in Warsaw, Poland but I spend my childhood in Africa. As a kid I loved nature, and I was very curious. At school, I realized I would like to know more about life and all its forms, especially those we can’t see with a naked eye. As a consequence, I have chosen to study biology at the University of Warsaw and completed Ph.D. in 2011. Then I moved to Prague in Czech Republic for a postdoc at Charles University and next I travelled across the ocean to Vancouver for a postdoc at the University of British Columbia. I not only moved geographically but I also changed my scientific interests. From studying systematics and morphological characters I moved to the evolutionary microbiology and from microscopy to bioinformatics and genomics. Now I’m back in Warsaw at my alma mater and starting a new adventure as an independent researcher focused on the evolution of microorganisms and the evolution of eukaryotic cell and its organelles.

Website: http://www.biol.uw.edu.pl/zfme/zaklad/ania_karnkowska.html

Twitter: @ania_karnkowska


Dr. Juan Saldarriaga

My name is Juan Saldarriaga and I am adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada. For many years I have worked on the biology of dinoflagellates, especially issues regarding plastids, histones (or lack thereof), and especially the evolutionary history of dinoflagellates as a whole. I have also had smaller projects on other protists, especially parabasalians and apicomplexans, and currently teach the Protistology courses at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. I am currently writing a textbook on the biology of protists.

Website: https://botany.ubc.ca/people/juan-saldarriaga



The event is organised by Dr. Anastasios Tsaousis from the University of Kent (UK) with members of the American International School in Cyprus, who are currently sponsoring the event.