Niki Pavlopoulou headshot

Insight Alumni: Niki Pavlopoulou, Data Scientist, Gilead Sciences

Submitted on Tuesday, 06/06/2023

Niki Pavlopoulou received her BSc in Computer Engineering and Informatics from the University of Patras, Greece, in 2013, where her thesis focused on the construction of a human protein-protein interaction network and detection of protein complexes using hybrid methods of Computational Intelligence. In 2014, she graduated from the University of Manchester, UK, with the MSc degree in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, where she focused on building computational pipelines for extreme genome engineering and antifungal drug discovery. Afterwards, she worked as a data scientist in Big Data for Exonar Ltd and the University of Reading, UK, by working in text classification, conceptual search engines and topic extraction in distributed systems. In 2017, she joined the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at the University of Galway, Ireland, as a PhD researcher. Her thesis involved entity summarisation for entity-centric Publish/Subscribe systems for the domains of Internet of Medical Things and Smart Cities. At the same time, she worked as a research assistant for the Horizon 2020 Big Data Value ecosystem project and performed some teaching for the MSc in Data Analytics. Currently, she is working as a data scientist at Gilead Sciences, where she is focusing on research and productization related to clinical trials for Oncology studies.

‘Since my PhD at the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics, I am working as a data scientist at Gilead Sciences, which is one of the top biopharmaceutical companies in the world and has been placed as the number one place to work for in Ireland for 2023, according to LinkedIn. Gilead emphasises drug research, discovery, development and commercialisation for life-threatening diseases related to immunology, virology and oncology. I ambased in the Dublin central site, where I am working towards applying the full lifecycle of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning models related to clinical trials in oncology by leading research projects and working with cross-functional teams including epidemiologists, clinicians/doctors, clinical operations, and stakeholders.’

‘The Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics is one of the top Centres of Excellence in Data Science in Ireland. I was lucky to have the opportunity to receive a PhD scholarship at Insight and I am grateful to my supervisor Prof. Edward Curry. Insight gives you the opportunity to form your own PhD thesis and direct it according to your own interests or current academic/industrial needs or trends. This is a skillset that is highly sought in any career path, especially in research roles, since it shows determination, discipline, and ability to formulate and complete loosely-scoped or difficult tasks. Insight pushes for excellence; therefore, the publication in top journals/conferences is an important factor that proves the work you have done and disseminates it to a wider community. In this way, you gain visibility and form connections with a broader academic and industrial network.

‘During my PhD, I also had the opportunity to be involved in a Horizon 2020 European project and be responsible for deliverables, publications, presentations, organisation and chairing of events with multiple European academic and industrial partners. This generally goes beyond the usual PhD research path at Insight, so it was a great addition to my existing portfolio. It also helped me understand what were the current projects and focuses in industry so that I was able to make a more informed decision on where my future career should lie.

‘At Insight, you also have the opportunity to be involved in teaching and volunteering, where I assisted in multiple conferences, as well as being a student representative for a year. These activities help you attend several events and meetings where you build a wider network and you boost a communications, listening, and organisational skillset that is needed in any future career. The Galway site, specifically, is located in a wonderful area by the lake, where many a walk can clear one’s head and improve productivity. Therefore, I would encourage everyone to avail of all the opportunities Insight has to offer, especially, if it is out of one’s comfort zone!’