In AMSI scholarship recipient
AMSI scholarship recipient profile: Sasdekumar Loganthan

Sasdekumar Loganthan

The University Of Queensland, Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

I am currently undertaking my PhD in computational biology where I am applying statistical methods to determine potential ageing regulators. Previsouly, I worked as a research assistant for 6 years where I developed various drug discovery assay. The development and deployment of this assay resulted in large amounts of data. However, due to the amount of data, not all the data was interrogated to the fullest. This resulted in me wanting to undertake a PhD in computational biology.

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

Ageing is a condition that affects all of us, but the effects are not consistent between individuals. By understanding the exact reasons for this discrepancy, we might be able to develop interventions to slow down the effects of ageing. My PhD is looking into this by applying statistical models to determine this ageing regulators.

How did you get into bioinformatics?

While working previously as a research assistant, I noticed that the amount of data that was being generated was growing exponentially. Because of this a lot of valuable information was not being analysed to the fullest. To overcome this, I decided to get into the bioinformatics field.

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

The main advice would be to have started earlier. I was very concerned that I needed to build a strong foundation so that I excel in my PhD. However, I should not have spent so much time building up my foundation. It would have been better to have a baseline foundation and then start learning project specific skills.

What was your motivation for attending AMSI BioInfoSummer?

I previously attended BioInfoSummer and found the experience extremely beneficial. Being in close proximity with like minded people greatly increased my skill.  Hence, I wanted to attend BioInfoSummer again.

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

It was extremely important to me as it allowed me to set aside time to fully engage in the sessions.

What was your main take away from AMSI BioInfoSummer?

The final lecture by Dr Djork-Arné Clevert on Deep drug discovery, was really amazing! As I previously have worked in drug discovery this lecture was refreshing and it highlighted current methods that have overcome the limitation that I faced as a research assistant.

If a peer asked you if they should attend AMSI BioInfoSummer, how would you describe the conference to them?

An excellent conference covering a diverse topic and an excellent opportunity to hear from and to interact with experts in the field.

BioInfoSummer was held as a virtual event for the first time in 2020. What was the biggest positive from your point of view of holding it in this format and/or the biggest challenge?

The biggest positive was the comfort that came with working from home and the biggest challenge was that it was harder to interact with the speakers and participants.

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

I would like to apply the skill and techniques that I have gained from my PhD to better understand ageing and to develop interventions to slow down the ageing process. In ten years, I would like to be in charge of my own group.

2020 has been a very unusual and challenging year. What is one thing you have learnt about yourself this year? Or a new skill you have developed?

The main thing that I have learned about myself is I am much more adaptable than I have previously thought.