Alex Rutherford is a freelance data scientist and entrepreneur with a PhD in Physics from theUniversity College London. He has subsequently undertaken post-doctoral work in complexity science and computational social science using computational techniques to understand why ethnic violence breaks out, how large groups of people can work together remotely and how constitutional reform takes place. His work has been published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences and has been covered in the New York Times and Nature among others.
Alex worked as a data scientist for the United Nations in New York for several years applying computational techniques such as natural language processing and network analysis to aid and inform the development and humanitarian work of UN agencies and NGOs. This has included field work in Mexico, Jordan and Brazil, collaborations with numerous blue chip companies, presence at high level UN events and a handshake from Ban Ki Moon. Alex has lived and studied in Coventry, London, Damascus, Boston, Dubai, New York and Silicon Valley and speaks passable Spanish and Arabic.
More recently, Alex is the founder of Data Apparel, an organisation selling custom, ethical clothing that uses the power of data and visualisation to promote empathy and debate among global citizens. He is an active Twitter user and blogger. More information and contact details can be found at alexrutherford.org.
The problem that I eventually settled on [for my PhD] fit a few different criteria that were important for me: 1) something involving computers; 2) something that had some real world applicability; 3) be in a big city with the opportunity to stay grounded.
– Dr Alex Rutherford, data scientist and founder at DataApparel
Today, Maria and Yorick will tell us how “normal” it is to encounter mental health challenges during a PhD, which sounds rightfully alarming. There are numerous preventive and coping measures that can ease the situation. Some of these lie in your own hands, some are – and should be – offered to you by the research institution.
Prateek Mahalwar is originally from India and completed his PhD under the supervision of Nobel laureate Prof. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany. During this time, he studied the cellular mechanism of pigment pattern formation in zebrafish. Beside his PhD research, he was involved in several initiatives with Max Planck Society (MPG) stakeholders as the spokesperson and deputy spokesperson of the Max Planck PhDnet in 2015 and 2014 respectively. He has represented the MPG at several internal and external initiatives like Opencon (a global open science initiative), Early Career Researchers (ECR) advisory board member at eLife, science policy meetings with Science Europe and Open Access Ambassadors program at MPG. Prateek also has an entrepreneurial mind and co-founded two start-ups in parallel to his PhD studies. Currently, he is working as Strategy Manager – Life Sciences at Ernst & Young in Frankfurt, where his tasks include advising biotechnology, pharma and MedTech companies on investment, product commercialisation and digitisation topics.
Michael Gralla returns for a Tips & Tricks on Career Building, to shed light on what else is important to work on despite your scientific skills. In episode 26 you can hear what motivates him and why he is currently pausing his PhD for is own human capital company.
Professor Alfred Orina Isaac is a Pharmaceutical Scientist with a specific interest in Neuroscience. His research is focused on neurotoxicology and neuroprotection mechanisms in the brain. Currently, he is studying the neurotoxicity of Khat in a mouse model; and also the neuroprotection capability of naturally found compounds against neurotoxic drugs e.g. Melarsoprol. His long term goal is to start the first institute for brain research in Kenya.
A year ago, [Tina] talked to Michele. At that time, he was a PhD student looking for a job in industry. […] “I have a feeling that you have a lot of energy; would you like to share what you have learned with other people so that you will make life easier for them? Because, you see, I have a dream and a vision to start a podcast.” And Michele said, “Why not? I would love to! I don’t know how to do it, but I can probably learn.”
Learn how this story continued to where we are now.