Malak El-Quessny

Wonderfest Science Envoy 2019

In the UC Berkeley neuroscience lab of Prof. Marla Feller, Malak studies the circuit in the retina that enables neurons to respond to motion in certain directions. Neural signals then travel to the rest of the brain, where these “motion” features are pieced back together to allow seamless perception of what is seen. Malak will frequently relate her work on feature detection in the retina to her understanding of how different kinds of microscopes work AND to her hobby of black and white film photography, speaking to her belief that science is not limited to the lab — science is for everyone, everywhere. As a Muslim Egyptian woman in science, Malak is proud to represent so many people who may be underrepresented in science. She hopes that her science outreach efforts can help enhance people’s perception of the Middle East and Africa as bursting with culture and knowledge.