The University of Sydney
Can you give me a quick overview of the type of mathematics you are studying and its potential impacts for the broader community
I completed my Bachelor of Science degree majoring in mathematics and statistics at The University of Sydney in 2017. I furthered my statistics studies in my honours year. Currently, I am working on statistical analysis in single-cell RNA-seq data for my PhD project. I am working to identify rare cell types in tumours and what gene are differentially expressed in these cell types to potentially help people target the gene and cure the tumour.
You attended AMSI BioInfoSummer, what drew you to this event? What was the most valuable part of AMSI BioInfoSummer for you in terms of furthering your career in mathematical sciences?
I like the set-up of the lectures and workshop sessions. And I think the most valuable part of AMSI bioinfoSummer is it has various workshop sessions for maths students to experience the applications of mathematics in real life especially in bioinformatics.
Did this event lead to any new projects, collaborations? What were some outcomes in terms of your work?
I have talked to many people who are working in single-cell. It was a nice experience to learn more about single-cell from people of different areas.
You received a CHOOSEMATHS Grant to assist your attendance at AMSI BioInfoSummer. How important was this in terms of your ability to attend and fully participate in the sessions throughout the week? How did you hear about the grant?
The CHOOSEMATHS Grant fully covered my accommodation and flights, which enabled me to travel to another city (other side of Australia) without any financial concern.
How important are initiatives such as the CHOOSEMATHS Grants in terms of fostering the participation and achievement of women in mathematics, particularly in terms of access to networking opportunities and further training opportunities?
CHOOSEMATHS Grants and AMSI BioInfoSummer have certainly offered great opportunities for woman in mathematics to communicate and learn. The workshops are very helpful to improve the technique skills in bioinformatics. The networking session was well organised and it inspired me to talk to other woman participants.
In what ways has the experience impacted your maths studies? Has it influenced the direction of your research?
It was really a wonderful experience to start my research. After I attended the lectures and workshops in BioInfoSummer, I got some basic knowledge of bioinformatics, not only the elementary study but also the frontier research. And I am sure that my mathematics and statistics knowledge can help the biologists to have better understanding on their data.
The CHOOSEMATHS Grants are part of a broader program being delivered by AMSI Schools with support from the BHP Foundation to turn the tide on Australia’s maths deficit and strengthen maths education and participation of women across the discipline. What do you see as the big challenges facing maths in Australia, particularly for women?
In my view, the big challenges in Australia are the lack of the awareness of the importance of mathematical education for the young generation and the deficiency in the mathematics teaching power. Also, it is witnessed that there is great difficulty in stimulating the interest of female students in the study mathematics at the advanced level.
Did you always want to pursue a career in maths? Were you encouraged to study these subjects at school?
I have always been passionate about mathematics since primary school. I love to deal with numbers as well as solve the equations. I am so lucky that almost all my math teachers are so fascinating. They have inspired and supported me to enjoy the study of mathematics throughout my primary and secondary study.
Where do you see yourself in five or ten years time?
I will first finish my PHD in statistics in three years. I hope to become an academic or a statistician and use my statistics knowledge to help people to solve problems.
If a peer asked you if they should attend AMSI BioInfoSummer, how would you describe the conference to them?
It is an amazing conference that contains various lectures and workshops of bioinformatics. It will allow you to know more about the applications of mathematics and statistics in biology.