What is your role at the BSU?
I am a MRC Postdoctoral Fellow and work with Sofia Villar. My work is mostly methodological, focusing on optimal decision-making in clinical trials and health economics.
What did you do before joining the Unit?
Before joining the Unit, I was a PhD student in Statistics at the University of Glasgow. My research focused on estimation methods for experimental designs of studies involving complex, real-world phenomena.
During my PhD, I also took up a 6-month position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Glasgow involving MSc project supervision and contribution to the development of teaching material for the online MSc Data Analytics programme.
Prior to this, I worked for a year as a Risk Analyst at the Royal Bank of Scotland after completing an MSc in Statistics at the University of Glasgow and a BSc in Mathematics at the University of Athens.
What are you working on at the moment?
I work on developing designs for clinical trials that optimise the trial outcome (e.g. statistical power, efficiency, patient outcome) within a response-adaptive framework.
I am also interested in structural uncertainty and in methodology for incorporating this uncertainty in decision-making in clinical trials and health economics.
What does a typical day in your role involve and what keeps you motivated?
Typical tasks I do during the day include reading papers, writing code and having meetings to discuss the progress of different projects I am involved in. Occasionally, I also help with the teaching responsibilities in the department. I prefer to have some variety rather than focusing on the same task for the entire day. However, this is not always a realistic target as some tasks and projects come with higher urgency.
I find discussions with other people very motivating because not only do they offer new perspectives and ideas but also allow me to better process and elaborate my thoughts. I think it is really important for researchers to have a network of people that allows them to do so.”
What is your work schedule?
I have found that establishing a routine and sticking to it works better for me, so I tend to maintain the same working pattern throughout the week. Inevitably, my schedule and productivity levels differ from day to day, so I try to respect that, whenever possible, and have some flexibility. If I have the option, I prefer to start the day with less demanding tasks such as reading papers or admin work and move on to more intense tasks such as coding or having meetings afterwards.
What does your workspace look like?
I tend to leave anything that I can possibly need during the day on my desk which typically results in a very cluttered workspace. My laptop and a notepad are essential, so they are always on my desk as well as a desk lamp since proper lighting is quite important to me when I work.
What is your favourite and least favourite parts of your job?
My favourite part is the environment both within the BSU but also the research community in general.
I really value the openness of people to discuss and explore new ideas but also their willingness to give help, whenever they can, despite their busy schedules.”
My least favourite part is that, usually, things don’t work out as planned which can be quite stressful and disincentivising.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Given that my job involves sitting on a chair for a long period of the day, I prefer doing something active outside of work. My day starts and finishes with walking my dog which is really calming and also a great incentive to spend more time outdoors (even when the weather makes me wish the opposite). I also like doing some more intense type of exercise and yoga. Apart from that, I tend to meet friends for drinks/food or a hike during the weekend.
What advice would you give to anyone considering your role?
For me, one of the most appealing aspects of working in an academic environment are the many opportunities for interesting projects to get involved with. So, my advice would be to always keep an eye on what’s out there and be open to exploring new directions.