I’ve worked at several large and small medical technology companies in the United States.
Currently, I’m a student at Oxford University
I’m a D.Phil student working to combine different types of data to answer exciting medical questions about tuberculosis and inflammatory bowel disease!
I’m in my first year of research as a D.Phil student at the University of Oxford. I’m trying to use various types of data to predict and model disease severity. The types of data I’m looking at are genomic data (think DNA and mutations) and electronic health record information (this is anonymized information that is recorded by doctors and nurses when you go to the hospital). I’m looking at two different medical conditions:
The first is for infectious disease, which includes infections like tuberculosis (TB) and staph. infections. These infections are caused by bacteria, and I’m looking at how the bacterial genome impacts things like whether your infection will go away when you take certain drugs (drug resistance) and how severe the infection is when you get it (bacterial virulence). Hopefully my work will someday be used to decide which drugs you should be prescribed and to identify when there are new, deadly bacteria on the rise before they infect too many people!
The second is for inflammatory bowel disease, which is a condition defined by severe over-inflammation in the intestinal tract – this results in very unpleasant things like severe pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. Some people respond really well to the drugs we have now, but others don’t. I’m trying to use patient genetics as well as the disease characteristics (things like where the inflammation occurs in the intestines and the age at which it starts) to identify sub-groups of patients. We can then eventually use this to decide which patients should get which drugs.
My Typical Day
My typical day might involve writing some coding on the computer, making pretty graphs, chatting to physicians, thinking about the problems I’m working on, and writing about what I’m doing.
Nearly every day for me involves some time working on the computer code that I write to run my experiments. Since my work is focused on improving medical care, I also meet several times a week with different physicians who I am collaborating with. Sometimes I’ll spend a lot of time working out the math that I need to make a certain model, and other days I’ll spend time writing up my results. Some days are especially exciting – I get to travel around the world to attend conferences related to my work!
What I'd do with the money
I’d like to use the money to help explain to young students what it means to be an engineer/scientist
When I was younger, I really didn’t understand what it meant to be an engineer or a scientist. I didn’t understand what research meant – when we did research at school, we just read and summarized a topic, and when we did experiments, we already knew what was supposed to happen. I didn’t really understand that research meant adding to the knowledge we have about the world.
This event is intended to help with just this problem. But there are many more students who aren’t able to participate! I’d like to set-up a mini-grant “competition” for some of these students in the local Oxford area to help show what science really means. This could take the form of an afternoon or two in a school or a more formal multi-school event. Everyone would think of some question about the world that they want to find out the answer to, and they would think about how to solve it, what resources they would need, and what sort of results they might get. Everyone would get feedback, and then we might actually perform one “winning” experiment.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Hard-working, earnest, smiley
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Hopefully helped to show doctors that there is so much we can do when we work together
What did you want to be after you left school?
I had no idea!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I was a pretty quiet kid :-)
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Writer or doctor
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Of Monsters and Men, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and more!
What's your favourite food?
Pineapple, chocolate croissants, and almonds
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Learned to fly! If only… Most recently, hiked around the Black Forest in Germany (I love hiking)
Tell us a joke.
What was Beethoven’s favorite fruit? BANANA-NAAAAA