Health data science PhD student at University College London (UCL)
Having a foundation year in which to develop new skills and explore his research interests was one of the HDRUK-Turing Welcome PhD Programme's big attractions for Qiyu. We asked him about the programme and the origin of his interest in health data science.
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Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
Prior to the PhD study at UCL, I just finished my undergraduate study at the University of Nottingham, a BSc in statistics. During the undergraduate study, I had a strong passion for statistics and then developed interest in machine learning. I planned to apply for a master’s in data science related to healthcare but then find out about the HDR UK PhD programme.
How did you become interested in health data science?
During my undergraduate studies, I was exposed to multiple research projects in health. For example, I conducted a meta-analysis project to explore the relationship between alcohol consumption and atrial fibrillation with friends from medical university. It was the first time that I used exploratory data analysis skills such as predictions and visualisations. Moreover, I also participated in the summer research in machine learning for drug discovery. Under the guidance of my supervisor, I applied multiple deep learning algorithms to predict the protein’s structure for the antibody. I then realised that I could use AI and statistics to help clinicians and patients in healthcare settings. This made me want to seek more research opportunities in health data science.
What attracted you to the HDR UK programme?
Having the foundation year is very important. It offers many immersion activities and training in different field of health data science, ranging from treatment effect to drug discovery. I am attracted by the collaborative research environment built by the HDR UK community. For example, I am currently doing a rotation project about drug discovery with Jude Wells, a senior PhD student of the HDR UK PhD Programme. Most importantly, it is a cross-university programme, and I could study and cooperate with other students from different universities across UK with same goals.
What are you looking forward to about the PhD?
I would like to use the foundation year to explore different fields in health data science and find where my research interests lie. Moreover, I expect to contact potential supervisors and design research project of my interest. I hope that my research can directly help patients and tackle challenges healthcare with statistics and machine learning.
Do you have plans for the future?
When my PhD study is completed, I plan to continue my research in health data science in academia or research centre in industry.