In AMSI scholarship recipient
AMSI grant recipient profile: Namuhan


The University of Queensland

My background is Biological Science & Molecular Biology. I started to work on Bioinformatics for my PhD commencing this July. My ongoing research project is about single cell RNA sequencing analysis on human breast milk, to identify the cellular alterations on gene expression and cell proportions across the different lactation stages.

Can you give me a quick overview of the type of mathematics you are studying and its potential applications or outcomes

I am analysing the gene expression and the cell proportion of different cell types in human breast milk, which could help us understand the change of breast milk at a cellular level during the lactation. Potential application could be determining if the current milk stage time points classification based on nutrition provided in milk enough or reasonable and if the other factors (e.g., parity, maternal age, and infant health records) would influence the cells in milk.

How did you get into the mathematical sciences/bioinformatics?

The COVID pandemic is the direct reason I got into bioinformatics as wet lab experiments were hard to conduct during lockdown in China and the closure of Australian border. My supervisor, Jessica Mar, directing my Master’s project and my PhD, is the one inspiring me to this field.

What advice would you give to your younger self or others wanting to studying the mathematical sciences?

I wish I could tell younger myself that coding is not that hard as you imagined.  The advice I would like to give others wanting to study maths is the more statistics you learn/command the better.

What was your motivation for attending AMSI BioInfoSummer?

My motivation for attending AMSI BioInfoSummer is to know people at the same level as me and to broaden my knowledge in bioinformatics. I attended AMSI BioInfoSummer 2021 when I just finished my Master and haven’t gotten into bioinformatics. BioInfoSummer is worthy of your time and it’s great for PhD students who just started their study.

You received an AMSI BioInfoSummer travel grant to attend AMSI BioInfoSummer. How important was this in terms of your ability to attend and fully participate in the sessions throughout the week?

I live and study in Brisbane. The travel grant covered most of my return flight tickets and full accommodation in Melbourne, allowing me to attend and participate in person and meet fellow conference attendees in person.

What was your main take away from AMSI BioInfoSummer?

The main take away from AMSI BioInfoSummer is that bioinformatics is a promising area, and I made the right decision of doing this. I am working on single-cell RNA sequencing analysis so the talk and the workshop about single cell on the first day were really helpful for me to let me know what is being studied and developed on single cell and what are the possible analysis/works that I can conduct in the future. The talks and workshops are really great!

Where do you want the mathematical sciences to take you? Where do you see yourself in five or ten years’ time?

I want the mathematical sciences to lead to me being an excellent bioinformatician and to me creating methods of my own. Working in academia with passionate and creative academic fellows is always my dream so I really hope I can stay in academia in ten years if it’s possible.