STEAM powered curation: thanks and farewell, Helena Ledmyr

Our curator for the past week was Dr Helena Ledmyr (she doesn’t get called by her title very often because Sweden so we thought we should throw that in) of the INCF and Molecular Frontiers, two different non-profit science organisations – the former concerned with developing and coordinating infrastructure and resources for neuroinformatics (‘big data’ for neuroscience), the latter with promoting understanding and valuing of molecular sciences to the public.

Helena started her career with a PhD in the genetics of cardiovascular disease, and it was there she began her curation, with a discussion of heart disease, the increased prevalence of heart attacks associated with intense sporting events (pity about that Sochi hockey result then), and Takotsubo syndrome, a peculiar heart condition brought on by stress which mimicks acute coronary disease but doesn’t result in occlusion of coronary arteries, so can be reversible. The genetics of Takotsubo syndrome are beginning to be unpacked by a group working at the University of Otago in Christchurch, with a cohort of patients recruited after the February 2011 earthquake.

Helena also explained neuroinformatics and the role of the INCF, which can be done in three minutes with the aid of this instructional video:

Across the rest of her week Helena went on to dig into the convergence of science and art (and how STEM should be STEAM), the perils of #chemphobia, how the P in PhD should stand for project management (yes I know she didn’t actually say that because it doesn’t actually make sense), alternative academic careers – if academic careers aren’t now the alternative to most careers undertaken by PhD grads! – citizen science and the work of Molecular Frontiers, and how to use the Oxford comma in order to avoid crocheting yourself.

Meanwhile during the week, the ScienceOnline Together conference was happening in Raleigh, North Carolina (and on the magical inter-google on #scio14). This saw a record broken for the most number of RealScientists curator alumni in the one photograph, dressed appropriately for the conditions:

Thanks Helena for a brilliant week on the account. Keep following her @Helena_LB, and for Molecular Frontiers at @molfrontiers. Don’t forget the Molecular Frontiers Inquiry Prize for the best scientific question submitted from an under-18-year-old: You can follow the INCF via @INCForg. For those in the field, the INCF’s flagship conference NeuroInformatics2014 is on in August in the Netherlands; abstract submission is now open.

Next week: geophysicist Professor Abby Kavner, aka @mineralphys.


James is a recovering scientist and escaped postdoc who works in research management at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He's now retired from active @RealScientists duty, after serving from the project's beginnings in 2013 through to mid 2015. When not managing research, surviving #PlanetParenthood or pretending not to be an expat Australian in the Deep South of NZ, he tweets @theotherdrsmith.

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