What am I doing?

I am currently taking a “break” from med-school to do my PhD in Neuroscience at Oxford. Within the last two years I have become more and more nerdy, although maybe some of my friends might say it started earlier. I’m pretty big on all things open: open science, open source and open data; although I see being open as a means to an end, rather than a hard principle.

Currently the focus of my PhD is looking at how we encode memories. My lab uses large-scale multi-unit recordings -jargon for we record lots of individual cells in the brain at once- and focuses on the hippocampus - a region that is primarily involved in encoding spatial context. What I want to find out is how the brain chooses which memories to keep, and how multiple aspects of memory are tied together.

Why Open?


I mean there are loads of reasons for moving forward from the out-dated let’s share years worth of worth on a few sheets of A4. But what hit me first was how we as scientists, who take pride in skepticism*, are expected to beleive someones results just because they’ve given us four numbers and a bar chart.

* FYI immediately distrust anyone who self-identify as a “skeptic” … they usually suck. Can’t think why ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


It’s what the internet was made for right? But I think the real attraction for me -and one of the greatest challenges for OSS development- is the communities that develop around these projects. Right now, lot’s of projects aren’t as diverse or inclusive as they should aim to be -any community without active management will soak up the biases of the society in which it is created*. But these challenges are slowly being met and hopefully this will help Open Source technologies become the levellers that they have the potential to be.

* which is why we need Codes of Conduct!