Chemistry World and the Inclusion and Diversity team at the Royal Society of Chemistry are proud to offer a monthly webinar series to support the chemical sciences community in response to and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Throughout the Building a better chemistry culture series, we will illuminate the science behind the issues being experienced and provide support tailored to the needs of chemical scientists including sharing coping strategies and reducing stigma around mental health and wellbeing.

The third webinar in the Building a better chemistry culture series focuses on isolation and loneliness, looking beyond Covid-19 lockdowns to explore the context for why someone in the chemical sciences may feel isolated and how building meaningful connections can help create a sense of belonging.

Using slides and opening up about their own experiences, our speakers Desiree Dickerson (expert in mental health in academia), Mita Dasog (professor and leader in the chemical sciences) and Aaron Berko (lecturer in chemistry) discuss:

  • The psychology behind isolation and its impact on mental health
  • Experiences in the chemical sciences that lead to feeling isolated
  • Finding and creating communities to counteract isolation

BSL interpretation was provided for the live webinar – included in the recording above – by Rachael Dance, Cambridgeshire Deaf Association.

Portrait of Desiree Dickerson

Speaker: Desiree Dickerson 

Desiree Dickerson PhD is a clinical psychologist who specialises in the mental health and well-being of our research community. As a former postdoc in the neurosciences, Desiree works globally with universities, lab groups, and academics in the pursuit of a healthier approach to research.

Find more about Desiree at

Mita Dasog, Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada

Speaker: Mita Dasog

Mita Dasog (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. She is passionate about removing mental health stigma and improving inclusivity in academia. (Twitter: @dasoglab)

Aaron Berko portrait

Speaker: Aaron Berko 

Aaron Berko is a Lecturer in Forensic Science and Chemistry at the School of Physical Sciences at the University of Kent. He is passionate about helping students find and establish communities to improve their sense of belonging in their studies and future careers.


Rachael Dance, BSL interpreter and advocate

Interpreter: Rachael Dance

Rachael Dance is training to be a fully qualified British Sign Language Interpreter and graduated from Wolverhampton University with BA Hons in Interpreting English and BSL. Rachael is joining us to promote the accessibility of the webinars for Deaf people. Rachael also works as an Advocate for Deaf people for Cambridgeshire Deaf Association.


Ben Valsler

Moderator: Benjamin Valsler, digital editor, Chemistry World magazine

Ben is the digital editor of Chemistry World magazine, producing video and podcasts to accompany the magazine and website. Prior to joining the Royal Society of Chemistry, he was the producer of the award-winning Naked Scientists, making local and national radio programmes for the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Primedia in South Africa.

Royal Society of Chemistry logo

The Inclusion and Diversity team drives and coordinates the strategy across all Royal Society of Chemistry activities to support a more inclusive and diverse chemical sciences community. Through research, advocacy and recognising success, we are working to make ‘chemistry for everyone’ a reality. Find out more about our work here.