PhD in Biomedical Science, with a deep appreciation for living systems at all scales, and an optimism about the lessons that humanity can take from Nature.
Enthusiastic advocate for the fundamental computational skills and practices required for reproducible research.
I am currently a member of the first RSE Group in Africa - RSE@SUN - and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the EucXylo Group at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, funded by the Hans Merensky Foundation. We are working to develop a greater understanding of the responsiveness of the cambium in eucalypts (the layer of stem cells that produces the xylem and phloem tissues), and how changes in cambium behaviour in response to environmental conditions feed back to adaptive functional properties of the fluid-conducting xylem.
My prior experience was in biomedical research, primarily mammalian tissue engineering, and I have been enjoying exploring the commonalities and contrasts in the transition to a different (plant-based) field.
I enjoy the research environment (the challenge and novelty it provides), and have been taking opportunities to migrate from my initial role as a 'wet bench scientist' towards more computational roles (having discovered a love for coding during my PhD).
I first learned the term 'Research Software Engineering' (RSE) at the UseR! conference in July 2021, and it felt like an epiphany: a call to action for efficient, correct, reproducible research. In this time of science skepticism and health and environmental crises, failures of reproducibility have consequences: wasting resources; fuelling public suspicions; and widening the gulf between what should and can be done to make the world a better place.
I aim to use the opportunity provided by the SSI Fellowship to: develop professional RSE skills; evangelise for the value that RSE techniques can bring to existing research (as well as research that has yet to be conceived); and connect members of the research community together - RSEs and researchers who would benefit from collaborating.
My SSI Fellowship project involves connecting African researchers with UK-based RSEs, to provide the former with targeted RSE consulting in service of writing higher-impact grant applications (leveraging the technological support that an RSE is able to provide in the context of a given research project, which in turn requires that budget for RSE support be included in grant applications).
I am fortunate to have an excellent mentor to assist me in my goal of promoting the value of RSE skills (and skilled people): Anelda van der Walt of Talarify.