Lunch n’ Learn

Handling big data and data analytics are increasingly crucial in a postgraduate career with knowledge of programming languages such as bash, python and R as a standard requirement in data science. Creating scripts to perform data analyses in R allows you to perform standardised data analyses in an open-source environment as well as generating scripts that are reproducible, favouring transparent research. No matter which coding language you choose, these skills are highly transferable.


During this hour demo session, attendees will see how to use the R programming language and see how Rstudio can be utilised to perform bioinformatics analyses for experiments such as RNA sequencing and microbial 16S rRNA.


The session will start with the basics of R programming language, in a carpentry style course; including how to read data into R, assign variables and the basics of how to analyse data, moving into examples of analyses of an ad-hoc dataset.


Best practice of writing codes together with an introduction to preparing scripts and R notebooks will be covered, allowing participants to understand the benefits of programming languages as well as gaining an understating of the environment for future analyses.

This session is solely dedicated to career development, which will be valuable for all early career researchers. We have an exciting panel of researchers, each at different stages of their career, who will provide an insight into how they transitioned from their undergraduate degrees to their current role and will talk us through their experiences. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions related to professional development and ask questions relating to all aspects of career development.

We hope that this session generates an exciting conversation with the aim of inspiring younger ECRs to continue pursuing a career in research. Attendees will have the chance to formulate specific questions for our panel in advance or during the session.

Dr Aleyo Chabeda is a postdoctoral associate in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass), USA. Aleyo’s current research focus is vaccines and immunotherapeutics against Neisseria gonorrhoeae - the second most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection. Her main projects are investigating therapeutics that target bacterial virulence mechanisms as well as the development of nucleic acid vaccine candidates. Prior to joining UMass, Aleyo completed her PhD in Molecular & Cell Biology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, with a thesis on the development of second generation Human papillomavirus vaccines, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular therapies against cervical cancer.

Dr Sarah Chapple is a Lecturer in Physiology within the Vascular Biology & Inflammation Section, School of Cardiovascular Medicine & Sciences (SCMS), King’s College London. She obtained her PhD in Vascular Physiology in 2011 and was a Teaching Fellow in Physiology from 2015-2017 before obtaining her Lectureship. The primary focus of her work is the role of endogenous Nrf2 antioxidant defences in regulating vascular and metabolic health in gestational diabetic (GDM) pregnancy. Her research has utilised in vitro and more recently in vivo models of adverse pregnancy in mice. She has also established the first glucose telemetry suite within SCMS, fostering interdisciplinary research across King’s.

In addition to her research, she teaches Cardiovascular & Ageing Physiology across undergraduate, postgraduate and professional programmes, is the Admissions Tutor for Medical Physiology and Physiology iBSc programmes and newly appointed Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) lead within the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine. She is Review Editor for the Editorial Board of Molecular Mechanisms of Aging for Frontiers in Ageing, is the Treasurer for the London Vascular Biology Forum (LVBF) and has organised and chaired several U.K and international symposia as part of the Society for Free Radical Research Europe (SFRR-E) and Physiological Society.

Lydia Mapstone is a co-founder and CEO of London based start-up, BoobyBiome. Lydia is a microbiologist, conducting a PhD at UCL, with a MSc in Biotechnology from the University of Edinburgh and degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Bristol. United by their collective desire to combat health challenges using biotechnology, Lydia formed BoobyBiome with two co-founders following entrepreneurship competition BiotechYES18. The team went on to compete in further competitions; Imagine IF (2019), PULSE (2019) and Panacea Stars (2019), and were selected to be part of the Innovator’s Club 2020 portfolio. Lydia and her co-founders are currently based at the Institute of Child’s Health, UCL, and collaborating with an infant microbiome researcher to build their first product. During this time, Lydia won the 2019 UCL Grand Challenges award to organise a free conference bringing together UK microbiome researchers in infancy to specifically start building a microbiome community. She was honoured to chair the first session and proud to make progress in building a paediatric microbiome group. Lydia enjoys discussing what she’s learnt, mentoring 2020 iGEM and BIOTECH YES teams, and taking part in the 2020 Back to School campaign led by Women Ahead of Their Time.

Dr Suman Rice is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Reproductive Physiology at St George’s University of London (SGUL). She obtained a PhD in Neurophysiology from Kings College London and after a career break of seven years to raise a family, did an MSc in Reproductive Biology in order to switch fields for her return to academia. The focus of her research is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and dysfunctional ovarian follicle growth, with its resultant fertility issues. In addition, Dr Rice teaches female reproductive physiology across many undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programmes at SGUL. She is also the Co-ordinator of the Personal Tutor system with responsibility for training personal tutors and supporting them and their student with welfare and pastoral concerns.

Externally Dr Rice has just been appointed as chair-elect of the programme committee of the Society of Reproduction and Fertility (SRF) and is the first female BAME council officer for the SRF. She also shares responsibility for organising the conference programme of Fertility – the annual joint conference between the three premier fertility societies (SRF, British Fertility Society (BFS) and The Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS)) in the UK.

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