LIDA Cohort of Data Scientists (2022/2023)
I’m originally from the Suffolk countryside and ventured to Bristol to complete a master’s degree in Physics, where my research focused on measuring the mass of distant galaxy clusters. Following this, I worked as a data analytics consultant at KPMG, based in Birmingham, where I developed analytics solutions for a range of clients over a period of four years. LIDA’s ethos of data science for public good resonated with me and I’m looking forward to applying data science techniques to make a tangible, positive difference. I can’t wait to meet the wider LIDA community and the rest of my cohort – I look forward to contributing to the community and working alongside you soon! Away from data science, I’m often out running, working on my campervan or playing the guitar.
I was born and grew up on a danish island, birthplace of the famous children’s story writer H. C Andersen. In my early teens I moved to Belgium, where I finished my European Baccalaureate which got me accepted onto a Masters of Physics and Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.
I graduated from my masters in 2015, I then moved to the Department of Material Science in the faculty of Engineering at Sheffield, to study for my PhD. My PhD was in computational physics, focusing on thermodynamics and statistical physics. After receiving my doctorate in 2019, I started my postdoctoral position at University of Leeds, in department of applied mathematics, in the school of maths. Where my main focus has been in non-equilibrium calculations of action minimisation paths for finite times.
With my experience from my PhD studies and post doctoral work I realised that I have a passion for utilising data, but was missing having a more direct impact in society. So looking forward to using my computational and mathematical abilities to address societal problems in my position at LIDA.
When I am not sitting in front of my computer, I enjoy painting, with Indian ink or digitally. However, most of my spare time is spent at the yard with my 7 year old Welsh X gelding. Where we particularly enjoy dressage, jumping and exploring the British country side.
I come from an International Relations background with a BA in French & IR from the University of Leeds and an MA in Violence, Terrorism & Security from Queen’s University Belfast, where my dissertation worked with multiple datasets on global trends in cyber attacks and analysed whether these reach the threshold for “warfare”. I recently completed a research project here at Leeds collecting and coding data on mass atrocity crimes in Syria with the aim of distinguishing the dynamics of violence between state and non-state actors, geopolitical alliances and sectarian divides. Seeing how data can be used to predict and potentially prevent crises solidified my interest in taking data analytics further, so I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into working for the public good at LIDA. Outside of work you can find me balancing the intense nature of my research with baking, attempting to grow my own veg, and practicing yoga and weights.
I was born and raised in Widnes, Cheshire and spent my teenage years at a school in Crosby. I moved to Leeds in 2018 to study an undergraduate degree in Genetics at the University of Leeds, followed by a Masters degree in Precision Medicine: Genomics and Analytics. My dissertation focussed on identifying molecular pathways and genes involved in the resistance to immune checkpoint blockade therapies in mice models. During my studies I became aware of some of the many applications of big data in medicine and health. Although the medical applications of data science was what initially caught my attention, I am looking forward to discovering how it can be applied in other areas such as urban analytics and artificial intelligence. Outside of academia I am a keen SCUBA diver and have been heavily involved with the Leeds University Union Sub-Aqua Club for the past three years, something I plan on continuing when I return to Leeds. At home I love cooking and trying out new recipes and cuisines.
I am originally from Nigeria and undertook my undergraduate degree in Telecommunications Engineering at Queen Mary, University of London. I worked for several years in the IT industry and developed a desire to study Data Science, while working on a particular project. This involved enhancing existing Writing API Automarkers that enabled the submission of exam questions and candidates’ written responses. With this role, I gained some experience working with Data Scientists and this encouraged me to pursue an MSc in Data Science at the University of Dundee which I recently completed. It broadened my knowledge and my thesis involved the analysis of online forums using Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques, Sentiment Analysis and Topic Detection.
During my time at LIDA, I am looking forward to sharpening my practical skills, acquiring new ones and working with a team of experienced professionals and LIDA colleagues that I can learn from. Also, I hope to collaborate and network as well as gain valuable experience that will enable me to grow personally and professionally. In my spare time, I keep active, enjoy board games and recently became interested in learning French.
Franks (Jian) Feng
My degree has built up my strong interest in bringing positive social change to our society. I enjoy researching policy and social issues for a wide range of topics, such as sustainable business, healthcare, poverty, anti-racism, and improving our social structure after the pandemic. I have completed a work placement year as the first International student officer at Leeds University Union, working with the University and local council to improve intercultural awareness and embrace diversity. I also gained work experience from student media societies and a few news agencies to raise the voice of minority groups, including Reuters, Bloomberg News, and Yorkshire Evening Post. I learned how to find out the stories through data and realised the beauty of data which helps us improve social issues and help audiences understand the information in a creative way. It also helps us predict the potential social risks and encourages co-operation between business sectors and researchers.
In my free time, I love learning new languages such as French and Italian, creating short movies, and traveling to know more about the UK and other European countries’ cultures. It’s a great pleasure to join LIDA! I can’t wait to meet new colleagues and help build up networks with partners internationally.
I am a medical doctor from Nigeria with over six years of experience in clinical practice. As a physician, I have always been fascinated with the potential uses of technology to improve healthcare services.
My passion for AI-enabled healthcare led me to join Data Science Nigeria (DSN) in 2019, where I began to learn data science and AI fundamentals. The experience at DSN spurred my interest in pursuing an MSc programme in AI and Data Science at the University of Hull. The programme has opened my eyes to the excitement and wider benefits of AI and data science.
I am excited to join LIDA to utilise my passion for data science, knowledge and skills to engage in beneficial research for the public good. I am passionate about integrating machine learning techniques and AI technologies into my medical expertise to improve healthcare service delivery. I want to use this opportunity to build the capacity to advance my research interests. I look forward to collaborating with like-minded individuals.
Travelling, taking adventures, and jogging are a few of my favourite hobbies in my spare time, and I would love to improve my fitness by going back to the gym and jogging.
Tamara Garcia del Toro
With a degree in Biomedical Sciences from Brunel University London, I was first introduced to the use of data for public health during my placement at Born in Bradford, where I started to understand the wealth of data that is collected routinely and its potential if used in an educational and responsible manner. This experience shaped my career interests, as I chose to further specialise in bioinformatics and data analytics during my last year of undergraduate, then going on to obtain a Masters in Precision Medicine. I’m very excited to be joining LIDA this year, and to develop my data analytics skills from the exceptional scientists at the institute. In my spare time, I enjoy gardening and horticulture, and trying to grow exotic fruits and plants.
At 18, I spent a few years ‘down south’ to complete a BSc Geography degree at the University of Bristol. I was particularly interested in inequalities, writing my undergraduate dissertation on this topic of my home country, Wales. This course touched on statistics and numerical analysis, but I had a desire to broaden this skillset. This led me back up north to pursue an MSc in Urban Data Science and Analytics at the University of Leeds. This course has increased my desire to use data for public good, for example, in my dissertation I analysed the potential of circular economy strategies in boosting local communities, minimising harmful practices towards the environment, and reducing inequalities. I look forward to expanding these skills and working with people from a range of backgrounds at LIDA. In my spare time, my life revolves around running, where I compete in a range of distances, but I primarily choose to suffer through middle-distance events. This comes in handy, when chasing after my springer spaniel around the fields!
My relationship with Leeds began when my father came to pursue a PhD in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). As fate would have it, I returned over 15 years later, also pursuing an MSc in GIS. Throughout this period, I have lived in Ghana, where I received a BSc in Land Economy (2016) and a Professional degree as a Valuation and Estate Surveyor.
After three years working in land administration, I realised I wanted to apply myself to work that aligns with what I consider important. This, to me, however, revolves around the themes of public good, people, and solutions. Working at the Leeds Institute of Data Analytics (LIDA), I believe, places me on the path to applying my skills to address critical social concerns, which excites me.
Another thing that excites me is music! Music is the colour that fills up the spaces between work and everyday living. I cannot wait to get involved in the vibrant music scene in Leeds.
I am a Postgraduate Researcher from the Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science, in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds. My PhD is focused on investigating the (thermo-)dynamic environments associated with intense mesoscale convective systems and their representation in the Met Office Tropical Africa Model. I hold both BSc and MPhil degrees in Meteorology and Climate Science from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. I also hold a Postgraduate Diploma in Earth Systems Physics from the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy.
My interest in science and research has led me to join the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA), which offers me the opportunity to use my programming and data analysis skills to solve real-life problems across multiple disciplines. Research makes me feel fulfilled, as I contribute to solving the key problems of society.
Aside from research, I enjoy spending my spare time visiting places with beautiful scenery, taking pictures of things like mountains, lakes, flowers, as well as playing football, badminton or tennis with friends.
Rayan Makena Onyonka
Born and raised in Nairobi, my interest in technology and its potential began at a very young age as I learned from my siblings. I joined the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology to pursue a BSc in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, where my interest in data and analytics bloomed – culminating with my final year project being a set of scripts that used machine learning to analyze recorded speech. After graduating in 2021, I joined a telecommunications company where I specialized in Fiber Design and Planning.
I’m excited to be joining this LIDA cohort as this is a valuable opportunity to improve my research and data analysis skills, while being involved in projects that will positively impact the world, and learn from others with different experiences and knowledge. In my down time, you’ll find me drawing or reading a good book, that is, if I’m not getting lost in new places (I have a terrible sense of direction).