Meet the Scientists

InterSci’s ChatSci conversation series is lucky enough to host a diverse group of scientists with fascinating stories! Meet the scientists for this series and be sure not to miss them.

22 April – Dining Room, Teviot Row House

Brenda Murage

Brenda Murage

I’m a second year PhD student in the Skehel lab at the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences on George Square. We mainly focus on how a specific mutation in a membrane protein leads to a rare form of motor neurone disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 8, or ALS8. The disease occurs later in life, and leads to a gradual loss of motor function, and eventually death. My project aims to characterize a model with this mutation to see how it affects motor ability over time, and if changes occur in the structure and function of systems involved in movement.


Ieva Cepaite

Ieva Cepaite.png

Ieva is an Undergraduate studying Computational Physics at the University of Edinburgh, in her 5th and last year of sleepless study-fuelled nights. About two or three years ago, she discovered a fascination for the field of Quantum Information, which then sent her on a path of research, awe and total immersion in the idea of Quantum Computers. She has spent the time since working on her degree but also investigating and collaborating with Quantum Technology research in places like Paris and Singapore, working on everything from Quantum Cryptography, to Cold Atoms research and Quantum Machine Learning. Outside of that she loves hillwalking in the Highlands, music, dancing, wine and whisky.

6th May – Dining Room, Teviot Row House

Arthur Brazinskas


“I’m a 1st year informatics (ILCC) Phd student specialising in Bayesian machine learning in the context of natural language processing (NLP). I’ve graduated in artificial intelligence from the university of Amsterdam, and prior to joining the ILCC group I have worked as a machine learning scientist for a number of companies (Amazon, Zalando, Elsevier).

My thesis is about making intelligent and large scale algorithms for text summarisation. Summarisation is a very hard problem because in order to perform well, an algorithm has to overcome a number of challenges associated with human language. For example, it has to ‘understand’ that not all information is equally important and thus needs to be present in a summary, or that some words in different contexts have different meanings (polysemy).

During my talk I will present the way natural language processing (and summarisation specifically) is approached from the machine learning perspective, and how we frame the associated tasks as mathematical optimisation problems. I will also talk about mod

elling and neural networks (deep learning) application to NLP, and depending on the audience about variational inference from intractable graphical models (Bayesian machine learning).”

Conor Smith

2.PNG“My research involves the factor structure of personality and individual differences in nonhuman primates. I look at personality traits in great apes, mostly chimpanzees, and how they have developed both statistically and evolutionarily. Personality in nonhuman apes differs in many ways from human personality but the same analytic tools are used to derive the structures of both. These shared methods allow us to make comparative assessments of the factor structure and infer when, how, and why these personality traits may have evolved in different species. Specifically, my work looks at intermediate stages of personality structure and how these and the broader factors vary with age.”

20th May – Dining Room, Teviot Row House

Nikolay Bogoychev

image1“I am a postdoc at University of Edinburgh working on high performance computing and machine translation. I like languages, logographic writing systems, game theory and GPUs. I (try to) make things run faster and enjoy (premature) optimization. In my work I try to combine my passion for languages with my optimization skills, but even if I can’t I still can enjoy both separately, right?”

Diana Sá da Bandeira

Picture 1.JPG“I’m nearly done with my PhD in Regenerative Medicine, where I’ve been studying the role of the microenvironment in the production of the first blood stem cells during embryonic development. I’m looking in particular at the importance of the communication between two cell types (pericytes and endothelial cells) through the PDGFRβ signalling pathway. Understanding all the cues required to make blood stem cells during development will lead way to produce them in a dish for clinical use. Other than research, I’m interested in science communication, public engagement and education (and some occasional parties).”


3rd June – Argyle and Cellar Bar, 15-17 Argyle Place.

This ChatSci’s discussion topic is Climate Change. Please note this week has moved venues – we are back to the Argyle and Cellar Bar! We look forward to seeing you at the usual time of 6:30pm.


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