Samantha Yammine

Samantha Yammine, Molecular Genetics

Supervisor’s full name and title: Dr. Derek van der Kooy, PhD - Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Institute of Medical Sciences, and Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto.

PhD thesis: "States and Fates of Primitive Neural Stem Cells and their Progeny in the Mammalian Brain," completed in 2019. The human brain has over 171 billion cells and hundreds of different types to thank for its extraordinary capacity. But how are these cells formed over a relatively short period of development, and then maintained throughout our lives? In this thesis, the role that heterogenous pools of neural stem cells play in building and maintaining the brain is explored at single cell resolution. Using mice as a model organism, the most rare and primitive stem cells in the neural lineage are traced during late embryonic development, and the molecular profiles of their progeny analyzed using single cell transcriptomics. By investigating these same primitive neural stem cells in the adult brain, it was found that they act as a reserve pool of stem cells in the adult and aging mouse brain, particularly following injury.

PhD research, scholarship and/or awards, publications; current position; future education plans and/or career goals, professional bio below:
Dr. Samantha Yammine, PhD is the Founder and Director of Science Sam Media. She is a Neuroscientist, Science Communicator, and Digital Media Producer & Consultant who earned her PhD from the University of Toronto researching how stem cells build the mammalian brain before birth and maintain it throughout adulthood. In addition to her doctoral research, Samantha co-authored a crowd-funded research study exploring the effects that #ScientistsWhoSelfie on Instagram can have on public perceptions of scientists.

Samantha is passionate about empowering people to explore science by making it more familiar, accessible, and inclusive. As
@science.sam on Instagram, she’s created space for continued, multi-way dialogue about science that transcends geographical borders and the traditional gate-keeping of academia. A leader in digitizing science on social media, she has developed an engaged community online that continues to grow.

She is a frequently requested Keynote Speaker who loves engaging folks with anything science, anywhere & everywhere – she's hosted a livestream with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station, presented her research on the streets at Toronto's busiest intersection, talked ringside with Muay Thai fighters about performance anxiety, and showed off model and real brains at 1am in a Yurt during an all-night art festival.

Samantha regularly appears as a guest science expert in the popular media including appearances on TVO Kids, Leafs Nation Network, Netflix, CBC GEM, and engaging audio with AsapSCIENCE and CBC Radio. She is a member of the Editorial Committee for the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers and the Program Committee for the Royal Canadian Institute for Science.

Science Sam Media produces, scripts, and hosts educational videos, and live events. In partnership with RCIScience, Science Sam Media founded the sensational #ScienceIsADRAG event, which sold out both shows in minutes and is now spreading across the world. Through Science Sam Media, Samantha also leads interactive workshops on science communication, personal branding, and social media to teach scientists and STEM professionals the skills they need to share their science authentically & creatively.

You can learn more about Samantha's work, read her advice for young students, or get in touch through her website:

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