International Final 2012

The Famelab International Semi-finals and final take place at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival (12-17 June).  We'll update the list of finalists as they are chosen from competitions around the world. 

Semi - Final 1

Taking part are:

Boris Tzenov, Bulgaria

Boris Tzenov is a paleobotanist at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences who once found a fossil of a ginseng leaf in Bulgaria - big news because the plant can only be found in China now.  Besides sleuthing across millions of years and layers of fossil, Boris plays the guitar in an almost all-scientist rock band and was even nominated for the national Eurovision finals a couple of years ago!!

Dubravka Stražić , Croatia

Dubravka Stražić is 22 years old. She was born in Vukovar, but lives in Zagreb where she's studying chemistry at the Faculty of Science in Zagreb. Her fields of interest are biochemistry and analytical chemistry. In her free time she learns French and plays squash. She likes thriller and horror movies and has itchy feet


Timo Sieber, Germany

Timo Sieber obtained his Doctor of Science in 2008 at the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene at the University of Regensburg. He now works as a researcher in the department for molecular cancer therapy at the University Medical Center in Hamburg-Eppendorf. Timo’s research concentrates on viruses and on how they can help us treat cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

Riccaro Guidi, Italy

Riccaro Guidi is a medical scientist. He writes a scientific blog covering everything from the daily PhD student troubles to the Open Access movement in academia. Generally, Riccardo enrolls into anything that has to do with science especially if it's sufficiently out of the ordinary: from crowdfunding his research project to organising a medical conference with "experience designers". From time to time, he also tortures his flatmates (an architect and a medical students) with scientific tales. In his “spare time”, Riccardo is doing a PhD at Karolinksa Institutet (Stockholm - Sweden) where he works to answer the question: "why are some bacteria infections predisposed to cancer?"

Jurgita Kazlauskė, Lithuania

Jurgita Kazlauskė is a Doctor of Chemical Engineering, Master of Pharmacy and Lecturer at Kaunas Technological university.

Monika Koperska, Poland

Monika Koperska works at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, south Poland. Her research is in preservation chemistry, which aims conserve cultural artefacts, from artworks to books. Monika’s PhD focuses on stopping the spontaneous destruction of silk, and she uses Wawel banners from the 16th and 17th century as an example. Monika calls herself a "spectroscopist" - she deliberately “ages” objects in order to, later on, study them with help from a spectroscope and to use the knowledge gained to preserve objects that were ageing in a natural way.


Filipa Oliveira, Portugal

Filipa Oliveira holds a degree and an MA on Teaching Physics and is currently studying towards a PhD on Science Teaching (focus on Physics) at the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Coimbra. She works in the Education Department of the Science Museum at the University of Coimbra, developing, preparing and delivering educational activities in several areas and addressing several different audiences. Filipa has also participated and developed several activities around Portugal related to the teaching and promotion of science, in particular related to Physics.


Milivoje Krvavac, Serbia

Milivoje Krvavac is PhD student and teaching assistent at the Department of Biology and Ecology at the Faculty of Sciences in Novi Sad. His experiments are conducted in the tropical forests of Sri Lanka, where he explores endangered species of amphibians. He is also a successful photographer and documentary maker. Milivoje's hobbies include skuba-diving, shopping at the green market and long strolls along Novi Sad river banks.

Bechara Saab, Switzerland

Bechara Saab is a Post-doc researcher at the Brain Research Institute, UZH|ETH Zurich.  His research investigates molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the motivation to explore, and the links between curiosity and learning, and curiosity and mental illness.  Bechara also likes skiing, surfing and playing guitar.

Brendan Mullan, USA

Brendan Mullan is a nordic-skiing, science-writing, outreach-practicing PhD student in astronomy at Penn State. He studies how galaxies collide and form stars in their interstellar wreckage. Brendan likes his beer dark, but his conversation light. Where the categories of science communication, pop culture, and early-90's nostalgia intersect in life’s Venn diagram, Brendan is there.

Semi - Final 2

Taking part are:

Didac Carmona, Austria

Didac Carmona is a Biochemist. Born in Spain and researching in Austria, he is a truly European scientist. Didac is currently working in a research group on “Aging and Cell Death” at the Institute of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Graz. In explaining programmed cell death he has his suicidal cells shooting, stabbing and exploding themselves – for the greater good of the organism of course. His Styrian-mediterranean soul prefers tastets de bacallà to poppy seed cake, poetic sunshine to cold and football to skiing.

Jan Klusák, Czech Republic

Jan Klusák obtained his PhD in the field of material fatigue. He is currently working at the Institute of Physics of Materials of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Brno. He holds a research position investigating why, when and how fatigue and fracturing occurs in different materials. Other than his work he enjoys photography and table tennis.

Ioannis Karypides, Cyprus

Ioannis Karypides is 25 years old and a Medical Laboratory Sciences graduate. Since graduating from the Institute of Medical care in Greece he has been working in private laboratories and presenting at Biomedical Science conferences and events in Cyprus. He likes Djing, playing darbuka, fishing, and motorbikes. Ioannis really loves talking about science and is exited to say that FameLab has been a part of his life for the past six months. He is looking forward to hearing and sharing new ideas as well as expanding his knowledge on science communication.

Ramy Kotb, Egypt

Ramy Kotb is a 4th year student at the faculty of engineering in Alexandria University, studying electric power and automatic control. Ramy always had passion for physics and how it is at the core of every useful thing in our lives including electricity, this inspired him to be an electric engineer.  Ramy believes that FameLab is an opportunity to make a dream come true and show people a new way to look at science.


Dimitris Tsibidas is a physicist at the University of Athens and his main interest is in space missions. In addition, he is an actor, and has been involved in TV, theatre, film and has lent his voice to animated characters. He also works as an external editor for a computer and technology magazine. He has the curiosity of the explorer! He told us that the arts and the sciences in Famelab intersect. The art of broadcasting and animating encourages someone to learn and wonder – he is truly thrilled to represent Greece in the International Finals.

Colin Tsang, Hong Kong

Colin is currently studying for his Bachelor Degree of Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His interests are mainly in human physiology and ecology. He likes to watch National Geographic to understand more about the mysteries of nature. Being a photographer, he loves travelling around the world taking pictures of wildlife. He also loves sharing ideas and views related to science with friends.

Yael Grossman, Israel

Yael Grossman from Israel is an MSc student at Tel-Aviv University. She has been fascinated by computers since she was three, tinkering with her dad's IBM XT. While most people use computers to answer questions, Yael is trying to teach them how to ask. She plays the violin, holds a black belt in karate and is passionate about English literature, making this opportunity especially thrilling.

Alina Colan, Romania

Alina Colan is an undergraduate student in Material Science and Engineering at the University in Bucharest. She studies shape memory alloys which form “an exciting branch of materials science”. Alina charmed the judges, suggestively proving to the jury and the public that the area of shape memory alloys’ applications is growing especially in the field of medicine and how research in her field can help save lives.

Andrew Steele, UK 

 Dr Andrew Steele © Andy Paradise  143

Andrew Steele recently completed his PhD at Oxford University. At the regional final Andrew described how human activity is making clouds whiter and at the final, Andrew impressed the panel and captivated the audience with his pitch on quantum mechanics and how it can help us to understand the world around us, right down to the colour of carrots.