Yessica is scientist and artist. Her research interests are on the evolutionary foundations of human dance, the neurobiology of aesthetic experiences and the use of network analysis to understand complex social behaviours. Her artistic practice is in contemporary dance and ballet, which contributes to her work in research and SciArt communications.
Yessica Herrera graduated summa cum laude as Pharmaceutical Scientist. In 2016, she completed her master’s degree in Neuroethology at the Universidad Veracruzana, in Mexico, in which she investigated the influence of psychological stress upon bodily expressions. She is currently studying a PhD in Social Complexity Sciences in Santiago, Chile. Additionally, she studied ballet and contemporary dance with professional dancers such as Emmanuelle Lecomte, Sara Nieto, Orlando López, Félix Urbina, Lutz Förster and teachers from the Universidad Veracruzana, the Higher Institute of Performing Arts Nandehui and the Joffrey Academy of Dance. She is also a certified Yoga Instructor and has trained many people from different cultures as part of her seva.
In her early career, she worked as Research Assistant at the Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou in the area of Human Genetics, where she investigated the pharmacology of drugs to treat breast cancer and lysosomal diseases. Some years later, she collaborated in research teams at Durham University, the University of Oxford and the Dublin City University, investigating the visual perception of contemporary dance performances, the implied intentionality levels in performing arts, and improvisational techniques for the training of scientists in communication and leadership skills, respectively.
Yessica Herrera worked for the Universidad Veracruzana as TV Production Manager, creating an extensive collection of dance video recordings and producing innovative ways to engage broad audiences with science and art. Her work was awarded by the Mexican National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions in the categories of Best TV show (2013) and Science Communication (2012 & 2013).
Yessica’s works drive positive social change. Her last audiovisual projects at the Universidad Veracruzana aimed to reflect the problem of Climate Change as a complex system (Celsius, 2017) and to create awareness on the conservation of Mexican biodiversity (Ateles, 2018). The former work was promoted by the International Association of Broadcast Meteorology, in Ireland; the latter was supported by the Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources. Both productions were released for national broadcasting in Canal Once, the largest cultural TV channel in Mexico. She has always promoted gender equality in her collaborative teams and has created initiatives to support breast cancer survivors and to empower women in science and sports.
Recently, she was awarded by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy with full scholarship to attend the La Serena School for Data Science, in which she expressed the need to use cutting edge data science methodologies to investigate social complex systems in creative domains. She is currently doing her PhD thesis investigating collaborative behaviors, leadership and gender disparities in performing arts.