Natalia Pasternak Taschner, 46, is a prominent microbiologist, author and science communicator in her native country of Brazil. She is also the first president of the Instituto Questao de Ciencia (Question of Science Institute). She was director of the Brazilian arm of the science festival Pint of Science (2016-2019); founded the Cientistas Explicam (Scientists Explain) blog; and was co-founder of the science dissemination blog Cafe na Bancada.
Born into a Jewish family, Pasternak Taschner is the daughter of university professors Mauro Taschner and Suzana Pasternak. After having received her BS in biological sciences at the University of Sao Paulo, she went on to earn a doctorate in the same specialty from the Institute of Biosciences of the University of Sao Paulo.
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Spreading science with coffee
She launched the science blog Cafe na Bancada (Coffee on the Lab Bench) with her declared mission to “Spread science with coffee!” The website found new life as a blog that she began seven years ago on Facebook. As director of the Brazilian arm of Pint of Science for four years, until 2019, she spread the word about science throughout Brazil.
In 2018, as the first president of the Instituto Questao de Ciencia, IQC, she focused on the defense of scientific evidence used in public policies. She even invested her own money in its establishment, making her only the second philanthropist in her country to invest private money in science communication.
Two years ago, she organized the first specialization course in the public communication of science in Sao Paulo, which trains journalists and other communication professionals about the dissemination of science. For the past year, she has been a visiting scholar at Columbia University’s Center for Science and Society.