• In a nutshell, I'm a researcher at heart.

    Farah in cartoon form. Text: A genomics researcher is a scientist who tries to understand how changes in DNA can affect our health. They are DNA detectives!

    My research involves using DNA sequencing to better understand neurological disorders.

    In 2020, I completed my Master of Science in the Yuen lab, at the University of Toronto's Department of Molecular Genetics. Here, I used DNA sequencing to better understand how changes in our genetic code, such as typos (single nucleotide variants), repeated phrases (tandem repeat expansions), and altered chapters (copy number variants), could lead to different disorders.


    I've won various awards, including a NSERC Science Communication Skills (Pilot) Grant and a U of T COVID-19 Student Engagement Award. I've also received distinctions, including a University of Toronto Student Leadership Award, and was selected as part of the Genetics Society of America’s Presidential Membership Initiative.

     

    Here are my academic publications.

    Farah speaking into a microphone.

    Outside the lab, I enjoy telling stories about science and scientists.

    I've spoken about different aspects of my journey in science at 50+ talks and panels, including in-person venues such as the Royal Canadian Institute for Science and the Ontario Science Centre, as well as virtual talks for Scientists In School and Exploring By The Seat Of Your Pants.

     

    I've also held editorial roles, and written about science for various publications in the US and Canada, including Forbes and Massive Science, reaching over 100,000 individuals.

    But I noticed common issues pop up again and again, including that:

    • Today’s scientists aren’t entirely representative of the diversity seen in the world;
    • Scientists belonging to historically excluded communities face a number of systemic barriers when pursuing a career in science; 
    • Science seems to plays a limited role in informing decision-making. 

    To address this, I've led science outreach, policy and communication initiatives to help build an engaging and inclusive science culture.

    Farah speaks in front of a projected slide. Slide text: The Five Pillars of Wikipedia: an encyclopedia, free content that anyone can use, edit or distribute, respect and civility, neutral point of view, no firm rules - be bold!

    I roll up my sleeves every now and then to help address issues in science, starting with Wikipedia, to...

    To address Wikipedia’s well-documented gender biases, I've led eight Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons at science centres across Ontario, where I've trained over 150+ individuals to add 151,000 words to over 900 Wikipedia pages, which have been viewed over 20.7 million times.

    Photo of entire Toronto Science Policy Network team of volunteers at the 2018 Canadian Science Policy Conference.

    ...science policy...

    In 2018, I co-founded the Toronto Science Policy Network (TSPN), a student-run science policy group at the University of Toronto, with Sivani Baskaran, Ellen Gute, Vasa Lukich and Molly Sung. Our vision was to build a platform where trainees, researchers and members of the local community could learn about and engage in science policy.

     

    To date, TSPN has engaged over 300 attendees via workshops, public panels and talks.

     

    During 2019-20, I served as the TSPN president. In this year, I oversaw the team as we continued to host events, and led two national efforts:

    Farah speaking into a hand-held microphone.

    ...and science communication.

    There are various issues when it comes to science communication, including hidden knowledge and limited training opportunities. To address this, I wrote and self-published a Beginner’s Guide to Science Communication Opportunities in Canada, which has been read over 7,000 times.

     

    I co-organized the inaugural ComSciConGTA (Fall 2020) and the second ComSciConCAN (July 2020) series. ComSciConCAN is a workshop series organized by graduate students, for graduate students, focused on leadership and training in science communication.

     

    In addition, I co-developed and taught the Science Communication Toolbox for Researchers program with Dr. Tristan MacLean and Dr. Alana Wilcox.