Mental health in academia – a Twitter chat on #TalkMentalHealthSTEM

To mark World Mental Health Day (10 October 2020), we are hosting a Twitter chat on mental health in academia with our sister site, BioTechniques. Follow the discussion, share your thoughts and ask your own questions by using the #TalkMentalHealthSTEM hashtag on Twitter. 

Some questions include: how can institutions, lab heads and lecturers promote mental wellbeing? What pressures do PhD students face? What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on mental health, and what can we take away from this? Join us for an open conversation surrounding mental health in academia.

Join our multidisciplinary panel as they discuss these questions and more on

Friday 9 October at 7:00 AM [PDT] | 10:00 AM [EDT] | 3:00 PM [BST]

Meet our #TalkMentalHealthSTEM panelists:

Nathasia Muwanigwa (@Tasia1409) | PhD candidate in neurobiology (University of Luxembourg)

Nathasia Mudiwa Muwanigwa is a neurobiology PhD researcher at the University of Luxembourg. Her research is based on using advanced 3D stem cell models to find new molecular pathways to treat Parkinson’s disease. She is the Co-founder of Visibility STEM Africa, a platform that provides the opportunity for Africans to tell their STEM stories and, in the process, change the narrative surrounding African contributions to the STEM fields. Through Visibility STEM Africa, she also aims to raise awareness about issues such as mental health within African communities.

Dani Beck (@_DaniBeck) | PhD candidate in neuroscience (University of Oslo, Norway)

Dani is a neuroscientist and PhD candidate in Oslo, Norway. He currently works at a center for mental disorders research and previous to this he worked in both forensic and clinical settings with patient groups. With his background being in psychology and his initial career ambitions being to be a therapist, Dani has always been passionate about mental health and wherever he has worked he has tried to find an avenue to invest in this.


Nii Addy (@DrNiiAddy) | Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Yale School of Medicine, CT, USA)

Addy received his BS in biology from Duke University (NC, USA) and his PhD in neuroscience from Yale University (CT, USA). Addy directs a federally funded research program investigating the neurobiological bases of substance use disorders, depression and anxiety. He serves on the journal editorial board of Neuropsychopharmacology, Biological PsychiatryNicotine & Tobacco Research, and Neuropharmacology.

Addy also contributes to graduate student and postdoctoral training, faculty mentoring, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs and initiatives through his work on campus and his work in professional scientific societies. In addition, Addy has built unique partnerships between scientists, clinicians, churches, faith leaders, entertainers, professional athletes, and community groups to address issues at the intersection of neuroscience, mental health, faith, culture and social justice. As the creator and host of town hall community events, he encourages and equips audiences to embrace the use of holistic, integrated tools to address mental health challenges.

Jack Gilbert (@gilbertjacka) | Professor in Pediatrics and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (University of California San Diego, CA, USA)

Jack A Gilbert earned his PhD from Unilever and Nottingham University (UK) in 2002 and received his postdoctoral training at Queens University (Ontario, Canada). From 2005–2010 he was a senior scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK); and from 2010–2018 he was a Professor of Surgery and Director of The Microbiome Center at the University of Chicago and a group leader at Argonne National Laboratory (both IL, USA).

In 2019 he moved to University of California San Diego (CA, USA), where he is a Professor in Pediatrics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Gilbert uses molecular analysis to test fundamental hypotheses in microbial ecology. He cofounded the Earth Microbiome Project and American Gut Project. He has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on microbial ecology. He is the founding Editor in Chief of mSystems journal.

Fay Lin (@xiaofei_lin) | PhD candidate in biochemistry (University of California Los Angeles, CA, USA)

Fay’s research uses math models to simulate immune response and investigate how our immune system is able to distinguish different health threats. In addition to being a researcher, she is also an active mental health advocate in academia.



Submit your questions to our panelists below: