Meet the team

Kytos Team

Kytos team is formed by specialists in different fields. Here scientists, gamers, designers, sociologists and computer engineers meet to create games based in up-to-date scientific concepts in the field of biology. We search for the best balance between scientific content and fun.

President

Mariana Garrido

Mariana is a Master Biochemist (meaning she has a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry) and is working towards her PhD in Biological Sciences.


Mariana is passionate about virology and making science more equitable, diverse and open to all. In her free time, you will most likely find her at a concert… Other than that, she devours everything related to true crime, loves to kickbox and play volleyball, enjoys cuddles with her kitty, solving puzzles and playing board games. If you ever meet her, don’t ask her about her favourite band – she has 2 and will talk about them for hours.

Vice President

Kuba Orłowski

Kuba worked as a system administrator and a programmer for a couple of years before realizing that working in science is much more fun (and still involves a significant amount of tinkering with computers). Having made the transition, he got his PhD in control theory in 2019, working on design of adaptive controllers for brain stimulation and now has recurring dreams of electric sheep. 

In his free time he likes playing board games and pretending to be competitive as well as reading about psychology, space exploration and how modern movies fit in the Great Conversation. Approached in the wild, he’ll most likely enthusiastically tell you about the latest thing he’s been obsessed with (because it’s cool but also so flawed!) or about that one time he was hitch-hiking through Europe. Hates boredom.

 

Human Resources director

Susannah Shissler

Susannah has been drawn to immunology since her first brush with it during a summer internship on plant biology in 2012. She went on to study the roles of NKT cells in cancer immunotherapy during her PhD which she completed in Fall 2019. Currently, her postdoctoral research aims to understand factors that influence maintenance of the thymus (a key organ for immune cell production).

Outside of lab, Susannah has many hobbies. She enjoys being active including indoor and outdoor climbing, yoga, picnics, hiking, and backpacking. Susannah also enjoys reading (on the beach or the rooftop deck in the summer or under a blankie on the couch in the winter), playing board games, and snuggling with her kitties. She is especially excited to join the Kytos team to combine her passions for science, education outreach, and board games.

Advisory board director

Gabriel Matos Rodrigues

Gabriel completed his Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology in 2020. Currently he is a researcher in the field of genetics and cancer biology.

In his spare time he plays basketball, climb, and watch chez videos before going to sleep. Gabriel loves to eat, especially homemade meals and loves dancing and partying with friends. “I see education as a source of freedom and the pathway to build a more democratic and equal society.”

GAME DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Lucas Branco

Lucas is smile and laughter walking!

He loves meeting new people and listening to them talk about their passions, talk about games, music and human personality. He struggles a lot finding balance between an expansive and objective conversation. His degree in Digital Media Design, paired with his curiosity for a range of different topics, allowed him to pursue ways to translate knowledge into fun and vice versa.

In his free time, you’ll usually find Lucas in his “cave” listening to weird agitated music, playing air drums and games or — when the pandemic allows — at a bar or party with his friends.

Visual Arts Coordinator

Luma Branco

Luma has an artistic mind. Some of her favored ways of expression and communications are drawings, schemes and topics. She’s a compulsive learner with intense feelings, but very practical and always prefer people to be sincere, even if it hurts.

With a versatile nature, she works with many different things, like illustration, architecture and ceramic. Her interests include biology, human behavior, education, art and transforming things into reality.

She loves meeting interesting people, pets and new places, but will need some time alone to recharge. When low on energy, chocolate, cheese (especially melted), spicy food, coffee or red wine are sure to cheer her up.

If you bump into her while traveling, she’ll probably be wandering around the city with no planned direction observing people and buildings, in a park stalking crows, doing her photosynthesis or eating her second breakfast.

Carolina Benevides

Ernest G. Bizimana

To know Ernest is to know his love for play in all its forms. He deeply feels that through play, there is a lot to learn about life, science, history, oneself, culture and way more. But above all, he loves play because it’s fun. As simple as that.

Currently pursuing a multidisciplinary bachelor degree at Université Laval, he combines his love for music and dance and his interest in entrepreneurship and management in the hopes of being able to apply his learnings in the non-profit ecosystem of Quebec. He feels that unity and play are a must for a healthy community.

Felix Marois

 Eternal student, Felix is a knowledge lover. He loves to understand how things work and especially how they interrelate to one another.

Having started with a bachelor degree in biology, he then added some anthropology to his path so that he could do a master centered around human evolution. As a kid he used to hunt mammoths in his backyard and now he does research about them.

He loves to play all kinds of games : historical games, fighting games, board games, strategy games, etc.

If you see him walk around with his headphones on, there is one out of ten times that he is listening to music. The other nine times, it’s either a audio documentary or some podcast. His friends refer to him as the “walking encyclopedia”. He might not have an answer to everything, but he can at least suggest a theory worth exploring.

Ivan Drahun

Ivan is a Ph.D. candidate studying medical entomology, specifically the complex interactions between mosquito-borne viruses in species native to Canada. After completing his Master of Science degree, focused on behavioural ecology and pest management, he chose to continue in studies and pursue a career in academia.

He enjoys spending time with family and friends; graphic design and visual art; music that can transcend the confines of time and space (or has a killer beat); falling asleep during thunderstorms; learning new skills; and helping those around him. On his days off you find him enjoying life to the fullest… or staying up late to binge a television show.

José Américo

Jota grew up into a Computer Engineer that ventured into Biology and now studies the physiology of growing older. He finished a PhD thesis in cellular biology in 2020 and is now diving deeper into the ocean that lies at the intersection of biology and informatics.
He likes to tinker with stuff and has a list of side projects that will be completed at some point in the future. He also enjoys exploring the world and has to hold himself to not make people impatient with too many questions about their perspective of the world. The more he explores, the more he understands how precious human culture and knowledge are. On top of that, he also believes that we need to find solutions as a society to pass this background to those yet to be born by leveraging the curiosity intrinsic to human nature.

Keaton Boyle

Keaton is a technologist with interests at the intersection of technology, law, policy, politics, and theory. He’s worked inside of big tech as a software engineer and on cases against big tech at the US FTC. He just wants to understand how the world works, but it turns out that it’s really complicated!

When he’s not coding or learning, you can find Keaton running (Half marathon, check! Full marathon, soon!), noodling on guitar or bass, attempting to fix things, watching the latest miniseries, and hanging with friends and family.

Laís Bhering Martins

Lais is an enthusiastic researcher in the field of Nutritional Psychiatry. She completed her Ph.D. in Food Science in 2019 and then started a postdoc in Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. She has experience teaching physiology to undergraduate students. Her passion for education comes from her mother, an art teacher for children from low-income neighborhoods in Brazil. Lais believes education is a life changer and the most powerful tool to build an equal society.
 
In her free time, she likes to cook for friends while having a good conversation and a glass of wine. She loves being surrounded by people and is very curious about others’ perspectives on life. She loves to do any type of sports to keep herself in movement. However, her favorite is dancing, especially a Brazilian partner dance called forró. 

Raphael Rodrigues

Raphael is a Bachelor in Social Science (USP), has a degree in Marketing, System Analysis and a MBA in Digital Media and Intelligence. He has more than 12 years in leadership positions in marketing and technology. Nowadays he manages Digital Marketing and Product Growth on alt.bank, a fintech startup from London and located in Brazil, with a strong social purpose.

Samantha Giroux

Samantha is currently completing her master’s degree in criminology. She is passionate about critical criminology with respect to social critique and advocacy for the “invisibilized” of society, particularly when it comes to women, families, and South America. This passion is not only reflected in her work, but also in her social implications and in her daily life. She loves getting to know new people, new cultures and learning from each and everyone who crosses her path. Besides that, she loves basketball, music (mainly Afrobeat and Brazilian funk) and hanging out with friends.

She believes that listening and giving voice to each individual is key to making a difference on a personal and social level. For her, the democratization of education and knowledge is a way to fight against social inequalities and to participate more directly in social change.