Meet the FameLab 2020 Finalists

Meet the 11 Finalists of FameLab 2020:

Vignesh Balaji Vijayan
Vignesh is a curious master's student studying controls systems. Before starting his master's he was a part of a start-up where they built smart electric scooters from scratch and launched it into market. This was a part of his interest to always take big challenging things to impact the society in a positive way. He likes to understand and untangle the working of things in simpler ways. He enjoys teaching and discussions about wide variety of things from tangible to intangible things. Vignesh always feels that every situation is an opportunity to learn and teaching is an effective way of understanding things.

Liza Cornet
Liza Cornet is a research faculty member at the Institute of Education and Child Studies, Leiden University. Her research project focuses on criminal behaviour and specifically on reducing criminal behaviour by means of a virtual reality intervention program. She has a background in neuropsychology and a Ph.D. in ‘neurocriminology’.

Fabiola Diana
Fabiola was born and raised in Turin, Italy. She took her MSc summa cum laude in Neuroscience at Turin University. Since adolescence, she has cultivated a deep philosophical and scientific interest in the affective sphere of the human brain: from non-verbal communication to physiological synchrony, from the evolution of social behaviour to human-robot interaction, it seems that the brain never ceased to amaze her. She loves books, the sea, rock music, and her grandmother’s cooking. She hates seagulls terribly, and they surely hate her back.

Valeria Guglielmi
Valeria was born in the Netherlands to an Italian father and a Venezuelan-American mother. Hence, clear communication was a matter of survival. She is driven by understanding things and making them comprehensible for others, preferably in a fun way. Valeria is a medical doctor and currently works as a PhD student at the Department of Neurology of Amsterdam UMC. Deeply fascinated by the brain, she studies causes of stroke. Aside from science, she enjoys hiking, dancing and feeding people.

Christian van der Krift
Christian van der Krift is a PhD researcher at the TU/e. His research concerns perceptual distance between client and contractor in projects. Next to his PhD research he advises companies with regard to their project management, particularly how they can improve the collaboration in their projects.

Maria Alejandra Murcia Valderrama
Maria Alejandra is PhD student developing sustainable plastics at the University of Amsterdam together with the company Avantium. After graduating as Chemical Engineer in Colombia, she moved to Europe. There, she obtained a double master degree in Materials Science and Engineering from France and Spain with specialization in polymers and composites. Growing up in a country with great biodiversity, she has spent most of her life in close contact with nature. This is why she wants to make better materials that will shape the future and respect the environment. Next to producing sticky plastics in the laboratory, she spends a lot of her free time experimenting in her “baking lab” at home.

Esther Okafor
Esther is an ambitious and highly motivated person. She was born and raised in Nigeria. After completing her bachelor’s program in Microbiology in 2014, she started working in the food industry. It was during this time that she picked the interest in safety of food. Esther is currently doing a Master’s in Food Safety at Wageningen University and Research. Her hobbies are travelling, singing and cooking.

Stijn Schreven
Biologist specialized in community ecology, now studying edible insects and their interaction with bacteria. Broad interest in science and science communication; passion for theatre, singing and arts.

Eriola-Sophia Shanko
Sophia is a passionate person driven by positive impact. She has a BSc in electrical engineering, an MSc in Microelectromechanical systems and she is currently doing a PhD at TU/e, Mechanical engineering under the supervision of Prof. Jaap den Toonder in high precision diagnostics. She is the founder of a startup in the medtech industry and she is an ambassador of AMR Insights; a role in which she aims to raise awareness on the public global health issue of antimicrobial resistance.

Rifka Vlijm
Rifka Vlijm got intrigued by the functioning of DNA during her biophysics PhD at the TUDelft. To fully understand her data on single molecules, she wanted to see DNA ‘in real life’. As DNA is very small, any normal light microscope would not work. Therefore, she went as Postdoc to the group of Nobel Laureate Stefan Hell, to learn about STED super resolution microscopy. Now, as an assistant professor at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, she wants to use STED to unravel the brilliant mechanisms behind the function of DNA and cell division. She likes to use her research passion to make people of all ages enthusiastic about the beauty and relevance of fundamental science.

Liubov Yakovlieva
Liubov is from Kyiv, Ukraine and is currently a 4th year PhD student at the University of Groningen. Her research lies in the chemical biology of bacterial sugar structures. Her main focus is to investigate the nuances of bacterial systems that produce these complex molecules and obtain handles for manipulation and inhibition. She hopes this will uncover novel antibiotic targets and help combat drug resistance. She is passionate about participating in the outreach and believes in the benefits of communicating science to society. Her hobbies include illustration, calligraphy and reading a lot of sci-fi.