Meet Derek—Analyzing trends for better patient outcomes.
Q: What is your role in health research?
A: I am a statistical analyst with OVCARE, B.C.’s Ovarian Cancer Research team.
Q: What is your research area of interest, and what led you to that interest?
A: My research interests lie primarily in how statistical and machine learning can help improve patient outcomes and survivorship. I was always interested in numbers and statistics, and for my graduate studies I focussed my attention on biological applications.
Q: What’s the best part about your research job?
A: I enjoy creating project deliverables, whether they are results for a manuscript or an interactive product that collaborators and other researchers can use in their clinical work. I also enjoy having the flexibility to find best practices that continuously improve my efficiency in different aspects of work.
Q: What does your average day at work look like?
A: A typical day usually involves juggling multiple project tasks, and generating reports with tables, figures, and statistical interpretations. Sometimes, the data I receive also requires managing and processing before it is ready to analyze. The statistical reports aim to summarize project objectives and portions may be used in future publications.
Q: What is one of the biggest accomplishments of your research career?
A: I developed an application that clinicians could use to predict subtypes of high-grade serious ovarian cancer using NanoString nCounter expression counts. It was rewarding to hear that our multi-institutional collaborators across the world found the app user-friendly and were able to advise clinical decisions in their own patient samples.
Q: How do you unwind at the end of the day?
A: Running, hiking and basketball are my favourite outdoor activities. I also like to unwind from the daily grind by playing board games and watching escapist films.
Q: What would you do if you weren’t a researcher?
A: I can see myself as a university instructor or lecturer. I really enjoyed my time as a teaching assistant explaining concepts to others.
Q: Who motivates you?
A: My peers motivate me as they engage their passions and achieve their goals. I’m constantly learning how to improve my own work ethic and discover beneficial habits I can incorporate into my own life.
Q: What was your first job?
A: My first job was as at a car rental agency washing and cleaning cars. It really helped me improve my driving skills at a young age!
Q: What’s your favourite movie?
A: I’d have to say that my favourite movie(s) are the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s simply a consummate experience that elicits all kinds of emotions.
Q: What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
A: Don’t let fear of how other people perceive you stop you from trying new things or committing to something. Opportunities come and go, take advantage of all of them.