| Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

Cristian Zaelzer-Perez

Dr.at Research Institute of The MUHC / Concordia University Faculty of Fine Arts / The Convergence Initiative / Independent Practice
Cristian in the lab
Focus area: Biology

Dr. Cristian Zaelzer, Chilean-Canadian neuroscientist, graphic designer, educator, communicator & artist. Cristian is the Founder and President of the Convergence Initiative, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing (neuro)science education and knowledge through art, promoting the horizontal interaction between science and art disciplines. Their activities include education, research, public engagement and outreach. In 2017, he introduced an inter-university course at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Concordia University, including art & design students and McGill neuroscience students. Through Convergence, Zaelzer has hosted numerous student sciart exhibitions in Montreal, Toronto, and Vienna in collaboration with the International Mozilla Festival and BBD Cape in London. These collaborations have facilitated as well a sciart residence program in labs in Montreal, and an ongoing partnership with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where the permanent collection is used to discuss vision neuroscience with the public. Cristian mentors and advises people in sciart methods for Falling Walls Berlin, Concordia University and the Canadian Council for the Arts Awardees. Cristian has published research and commentaries on emotionality in science communication and new methods in science-art collaborations for education. In 2019, the Society for Neuroscience awarded Cristian the prestigious Science Educator Award. In 2020, the Canadian Association for Neuroscience awarded him the Advocacy & Outreach Award. Falling Walls Berlin selected his work for the Falling Walls Science Engage prize in Berlin. As a scientist, Cristian has published his work in journals like Cell Reports, PNAS, Science, and Nature. He received the CIHR Brain Star Award for his scientific achievements in 2016. As a gay and Latino immigrant, Cristian is recognized as a leader in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), LGBTQ2S+ involvement in STEM, and bridging different communities with science. As an art practitioner, his practice denies the concept of exclusion and specialization pushed by modern society by relating many types of knowledge and experiences. He explores Nature, the Scientific Method & Ethics using stained glass, infrared detection, acrylic painting, and beading, questioning the reconstruction of an analogic world from digital data, scientific tools that behave like senses, and the capitalist production of knowledge unaware of the human behind the scientist.