Dr. Maral Tajerian is a Neurophysiologist with a particular interest in Brain Plasticity. Following undergraduate biology and psychology training, Dr. Tajerian received a Master’s degree from the Department of Biology and a Ph.D. from the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University, Canada. She then completed a postdoctoral tenure at the School of Medicine at Stanford University, where she received the prestigious Ruth L. Kirschtein fellowship in pain research. She is currently appointed as an Assistant Professor at the Biology department at Queens College, City University of New York. In addition to Laboratory research, Dr. Tajerian is passionate about teaching and mentoring graduate and undergraduate trainees. She advocates science outreach and is the co-founder of Thwacke science-media consultancy.

Dr. Sebastian Alvarado, CEO & Co-Founder of Thwacke Consulting and Assistant Professor at Queens College, worked in the private biotech sector for three years before pursuing graduate research. He completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University and proceeded as an A.P. Giannini Fellow at Stanford University in Neurobiology. He is interested in how plastic molecular substrates can shape a genome to dynamic environmental changes. He studies these phenomena explicitly in how behavioral responses can be shaped with the season and within social hierarchies in diverse animal model systems. Outside of his research program, Sebastian consults for the entertainment sector with Thwacke and writes books about science fiction.