Lab Meeting on 19 September 2019

We didn’t have a lab meeting today because the timing of the meeting coincided with the Turing’s Data Science for Mental Health Interest Group.

The two talks were excellent. Neil Oxtoby presented an introduction to data-driven disease progression modelling, and Alexandra Young extended Neil’s presentation with a specific example of data-driven modelling and progression of subtypes of dementia.

This weekend - Saturday 21 September - is World Alzheimer’s Day and while we waited we watched Samuel L Jackson explain how you - and an orange 🍊 - can eliminate the stigma and dispel the myth that there’s nothing that can be done about dementia.

Thank you to the speakers for their important work.

On to our updates.

Celebrations and cool things to share

Kirstie was pretty happy that she managed to get a bunch of writing done for a difficult paper while her boyfriend ran his first 50 mile race! 😱 🏃 💨

She also hosted two Turing Way Collaboration Cafes this week because it turns out that Thursday 18 September isn’t an actual day in 2019!

Patricia has been acknowledged in a PhD thesis for her librarian work (doi: 10.5281/zenodo.3384144) which is really fantastic! Reproducible research for the win!

Louise has had a really good-busy feeling in abundance this week! She’s excited about RSEConUK, reproducible research lunches, a Spark workshop she’s organising on 1 November, a project wrap-up, Athena SWAN data coming in, and new projects starting soon 😄

Elizabeth had a great time at the Cognitive Computational Neuroscience conference in Berlin, both because of the science and for the meta-science of thinking about how we do interdisciplinary work! She’s thinking about the limits of interdisciplinarity, and the changing nature of the jobs we’re training people for in doctoral programmes and beyond. Kirstie has the book Range by David Epstein on her reading list to think more about exactly this topic! Reviews welcome 📚

Sarah did an outrageous amount of work at RSE Con UK this week! She had a presentation on all three days! She was particularly proud of the RSE Worldwide panel she spoke on (and got really postive feedback from!) Her slides on “Collaborating Across Borders” are available at, and you can follow along her Zero to BinderHub tutorial at

Really amazing work Sarah! Great job 🚀 🌟

Yo shared her experiences of anxiety before meeting her PhD supervisor. Fortunately, these meetings always go well and she has a fantastically supportive PI in Manchester. The take home message was that brains are weird, and believing in yourself is way easier said than done 💓

Yini attended the Cambridge Neuroscience Symposium on Artificial and Biological Cognition last week. She took a couple of pictures of Kirstie hosting the Early Career Investigator Data Blitz and particularly enjoyed Dr Lola Cañamer’s presentation on Emotion Modeling in Robots! Cañamer and her lab made some affective autonomous and social robots with the goal of understanding emotions in biological systems (humans and other animals) and how to build a better robot.

Kirstie on stage introducing data blitz Slide of talk about embodied affect in robots
Pictures from Cambridge Neuroscience Symposium #ABC2019. Taken by Yini He, 12 & 13 September 2019.

Georgia gave Patricia, Ang, Yini and Kirstie a demo of the Open Science Game she and her team created at the eLife Innovation Sprint. We loved it, and you can check out the project on GitHub at

Screen shot of tweet with pictures of team members playing card game
Playing a game to explore the incentives and challenges of open research practices!
Source: Kirstie's twitter feed

Questions we’re thinking about

Kirstie is getting excited for Mozilla’s annual festival: on 21 to 27 October. She didn’t put in any session applications this year but would love for folks in the group to share what they’re working on as part of the many many sessions on openness, digital inclusion, neurodiversity and web literacy 💖

You can also support Yo’s sessions on “Exhausted impostors and superstar masks” (with Jez Cope and Emmy Tsang, and inspired by a twitter thread) and on “Choosing an effective mentorship program” (with Malvika). Or you could attend the third session Yo designed on how to contribute to open source called “Make code not war” which will be facilitated by Mateusz Kuzak, Anna Krystalli and Raniere Silva so that Yo doesn’t totally melt down over the two days!

Patricia is feeling a little anxious about her final check out - the live coding “exam” - that is part of Carpentries instructor training. Louise and Yo assured Patricia that she would be fine. They both over prepared for their assessments and said the experience was much more manageable than they’d expected. All the members of the lab who have heard Patricia teach joined in to say how confident they are that she’ll do a wonderful job, and remind her that competent experts but not experts are often the best people to learn from because they have the best memory for how hard these concepts were to learn. 💜 Good luck Patricia!

Yini shared a recent paper titled “Unsupervised word embeddings capture latent knowledge from materials science literature” (💰, no OA version). She’s interested in knowing more about how AI can be used to generate new knowledge. Could AI replace researchers? Kirstie noted that making publications open access and licenced for re-use is key to achieving the promise of AI text mining, and that we have to be super careful of not forgetting how biased the literature is already. She also shared a fun recent paper on “The chaperone effect in scientific publishing” (associated blog post) as another example of text mining to highlight patterns in academic publications, and a paper she and Daphne Ezer wrote earlier this year that captured some of the same points: “Data science for the scientific life cycle”.


Phew that’s another busy week! Keep up the incredible work everyone!