Peggy Mason, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Chicago. She received both her BA in Biology and her Phd in Neuroscience from Harvard. She actually wrote a single-author textbook that’s designed for medical students. Translation: She’s smarter than hell and we couldn’t be happier to have her at this years event.

In her research, she uses a variety of methods to find out the biological basis behind empathy and helping behavior. She wants to understand the basic biology that influences pro-social behavior. Her current work actually involves studying empathy in rats (not the Splinter/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kind). Our favorite thing is that she can distill all the super crazy sciency stuff down into something your average person can understand and relate to on her super fun blog The Brain is So Cool.

“In an effort to assess the value of empathic behavior, we tested rats who were devoted chocolate chip-eaters: It turned out that… a rat will leave chocolate chips for it’s cage-mate. This remarkable result told me that these rats are far more generous with their chocolate than my sister-in-law.” -Peggy

Our second favorite thing is that when she heard about the new venue’s teal glitter floors, she was all in. She’s our kind of scientist… Obsessed with rats, happy feelings, chocolate, and glitter. We’re thinking that there might be a correlation between happy feelings and glitter. We’re going to need some graphs, stat!

Website: Mason Lab