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Alex Coleman

Alex Coleman

SSI fellow

University of Leeds


  • Reproducible research
  • Software security best practice in research software
  • Software engineering
  • Python, R and Rust

My work

I'm a research software engineer in the Research Computing team at the University of Leeds. Within that team, we provide software engineering support to research projects, as well as managing the University's HPC platforms and delivering computational training to researchers.

I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Liverpool in Molecular Biology and moved to Leeds to do a PhD studying how viruses hijack intracellular structures to gain access to the nucleus. Suffice to say I didn't write a lot of code during my PhD, but I did have a problem I knew code could solve. I wanted to automate some of the routine analyses I did on experimental data generated in the lab and move away from Excel. Using a whole host of online resources, I learnt R and Python and got the bug for writing code (hopefully without too many bugs!). Outside my PhD, I started coding on some pet projects which eventually led to deploy an R Shiny app.

After completing my PhD, I joined the Leeds Institute of Data Analytics Data Scientist Enrichment programme, where I had the opportunity to formalize my programming skills and learn more about software engineering and machine learning. During the 1-year programme, I became interested in reproducible research and software engineering best practice whilst working on two data science projects.

I started as a research software engineer in 2019 where i've worked on a number of projects, as well as delivering training on introduction to Python and R, git and HPC. I've also supported our community building work at Leeds, organizing the TechTalk series on reproducible research tools and the inaugural Research Computing Leeds Conference 2022.

In May 2023 I joined Active Travel England as lead developer supporting their work developing tools and platforms to support active travel infrastructure in England.

I'm looking to use my SSI fellowship to learn more software security best practices and how to apply them to research software, with the aim of developing training materials to help support researchers developing secure, sustainable software.

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