Science, Democratized

With the rise of powerful technologies came capabilities our ancestors couldn’t possibly conceive of: Life-saving medicines and remedies for ailments once thought incurable, passenger trips abroad in multi-ton flying tubes, spacefaring rovers on Mars, and, of course, the sum total of humanity’s knowledge on a tiny box that fits in your pocket.

Unfortunately, not everybody has access to the tools or education needed to continue down this trajectory of scientific discovery. Many tools have been siloed off, accessible to a select few at prestigious universities and research facilities. We aim to change that – At Cytopirate Labs, we believe that the more people who have access to these tools, the further we can progress as a species. Open access is our MO.

We’re a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Amherst, Massachusetts with one simple goal: To bring engagement in the scientific process out of exclusive universities and to all the members of our community. We believe that with the right tools, anybody can use the scientific method to engage the natural world all around us.

Meet the Team

Thomas Scudder – M.Sc. (Molecular Biophysics)

A Massachusetts native, Thomas attained his B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UMass Amherst, continuing on at the same institution to study Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. His research focus has been on bacterial protease adaptor hierarchies. Tom is currently moving on to pursue his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience at the University of Rochester. His interest in bringing science to the community is long-lived, and he is excited to work with the community of Western Massachusetts to make science available to all who are interested.

Richard Noble – B.A. (Microbiology)

A Western Massachusetts native Richard “Rick” studied at Hampshire College, where he majored in Microbiology. His final thesis work involved a community project focused on yeast culturing. With COVID limiting the scope of this project, he was motivated to work on more community science projects.

Rob C – B.Sc. (Mathematical Physics)

Born and raised in Rochester, NY, Robert earned his degree in Mathematical Physics from Binghamton University. He has has many years of experience teaching various STEM topics to people from all walks of life, and is excited to bring what he knows to Cytopirate Labs. Rob is also our tech guy, so if things on this website suddenly break, make sure you send him a very angry email, he loves that! When he’s not trying to fix the problems that he himself created, you can find Rob biking wherever there are bike trails, reading up on his latest niche interest, or yelling at his senators.

Kayla Tudryn – B.Sc. (Public Health)

A local to Western Massachusetts, Kayla studied Public Health at UMass Amherst with a concentration in Psychology and Brain Science. While there, she also studied clinical medicines and infectious diseases. Kayla is currently continuing her education at Western New England University to obtain a masters in Pharmaceutical Sciences, studying medicinal chemistry and drug development.

Alejo Zacarias – B.A. (Microbiology)

Alejo studied microbiology, molecular physiology, and genetics at Hampshire College and UMass Amherst. He is currently a molecular microbiologist at Oxford Biomedica Solutions, where he is involved in plasmid and AAV process development. His interest in democratizing science sprang from his time at Hampshire College, where social justice and intersectional research is encouraged. He hopes to make science more accessible to marginalized BIPOC by providing an open space for scientific inquiry, collaboration, and networking.