ARMI student Azelle Hawdon has a keen eye for detail. With her PhD project in the Zenker Group involving using cutting-edge live imaging technologies to understand the underlying mechanisms of embryo development, Azelle spends a lot of time looking down the microscope observing tiny movements in the microtubule cytoskeleton – structures that shape and help to organise the cell’s parts. As ARMI’s newest social media ambassador, she’s keen to apply that same keenness for detail and enthusiasm to science communications.
“Since embarking on my scientific research career to follow my passion for science, I have become increasingly aware of the pivotal role social media has for science communications,” commented Azelle. “The ARMI social media ambassador role provides a unique opportunity to contribute to the Institute and the broader scientific community.”
With a considerable social media presence herself, Azelle is aware of the enormous role that online networking platforms play in people’s lives. For scientists, places such as Twitter have facilitated the sharing of and discussions about new research, forming new collaborations and even sourcing reagents and experiment protocols. Despite this, while acknowledging that social media provides an innovative, versatile and accessible platform to communicate information to diverse audiences, Azelle believes they are underutilised as a resource for science communication.
“As scientists at the frontline of both discovery and clinical research, it is important that we share novel discoveries amongst other scientists and with the public. When messages are misinterpreted, the reputation of and trust in science is eroded,” mused Azelle.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the spotlight on biomedical research, science communication and public health messaging has never been stronger. Azelle sees the value of using social media as a tool to establish a more trustworthy perception of science and to bridge the gap between the lab bench and the public audience.
“As a social media ambassador, I would like to actively contribute to expanding scientific outreach by sharing information between the public, research community and ARMI. I hope this role will enable me to highlight the incredible regenerative medicine and stem cell science occurring in Melbourne and Australia.”