Carolyn Langen

As a software engineer and data scientist at The Hyve in Utrecht, I work on open source software and data solutions for the life sciences. Our core products focus on genomic data analysis, research data management, and collection of data from wearable devices, such as FitBit. In my short time at The Hyve I’ve been involved in a wide array of tasks, including researching new products, developing existing products, writing promotional and social media posts and data management. 

Besides working at The Hyve, I’m working on completing the last requirements to obtain my PhD in medical imaging. My thesis focuses on the analysis of brain connectivity data which is derived from MRI’s. I’ve used this data to learn about how the brain’s wiring relates to its function and to develop a new method which estimates how damaged tissue contributes to disconnectivity in the brain. I’ve shown the relationship between brain (dis)connectivity and cognition, genetics, schizophrenia and brain development. My topic had a heavy focus on graph theory and statistics. As I had minimal background knowledge in these subjects prior to my PhD, the analytical nature of both my Master’s and Bachelor’s programmes certainly helped me to quickly get up to speed.

When deciding which Master’s programme to study, I was looking for one that would enable me to live abroad and would challenge me on a technical level. I was offered a full Erasmus Mundus scholarship for the Computer Simulation for Science and Engineering (COSSE) programme. Since COSSE is an international dual-degree programme, I had the chance to live in two different countries during my studies: the Netherlands (TU Delft) and Sweden (KTH, Stockholm). Living abroad is an invaluable experience, which I’d encourage anyone with a desire for adventure to pursue.

Most COSSE students from my year, including myself, experienced that we did not have the mathematical prerequisites for the mandatory courses, which actually made the programme much more difficult than anticipated. While it is certainly possible to succeed in this position, my recommendation to prospective students is to take a close look at the course list and start to fill the gaps in your background knowledge well in advance.

Graduation year: 2012
Bachelor programme: Bioinformatics (University of Calgary, Canada)
Master programme: Computer Simulation for Science and Engineering (Applied Math)
Track/Specialisation: Bio-computing
Current position: Software engineer and data scientist
Company: The Hyve (Utrecht, Netherlands)
Previous companies: Telvent Canada, Erasmus MC