Dhouha Grissa - post-doc researcher in Bioinformatics and computational biology at Jensen Group
My current research focus consists of exploring and analysing past medical history of patients with Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD). More precisely, I use data from Danish health registries and explore knowledge discovery approaches using high-dimensional statistical and machine learning techniques in order to answer challenging biological questions, as which upstream diagnoses help understanding the development of ALD.
I work as a post-doc researcher in Bioinformatics and computational biology at Jensen Group at University of Copenhagen.
Why is the relevance of your research?
I think that I contribute to better clinical decision making by developing new knowledge in both fields of computer science and biology. Conducting research on ALD has a vital role that aims to make human life easier, to find answers to things that are unknown, fillings gaps in knowledge and improving future healthcare. The GALAXY project is actually a good opportunity for me to perform an in-depth original study about ALD, as a new topic to explore. I am constantly challenged when working on the GALAXY project and it forces me to make use of all my expertise and skills. I believe the more knowledge you get about a topic, the better research results. So, in order to get good output, I need to do maximum research.
Post-doc researcher in Bioinformatics and computational biology at Jensen Group
I think that my father’s words were very powerful, and they still motivate me to try to show that I am capable of making good decisions and confronting any problems by myself.
My first inspiration came from my father, who was a teacher in natural science in Tunisia. He has this kind of power to drive simple conversations for example about animals, diseases, etc. to a different level by giving further scientific explanations to us. The passion for research in general that my father passed on to me plays a big role deep inside me.
When I got my baccalaureate diploma, I was still undecided about which career in science I wanted to pursue. However, I got the best advice from my cousin who encouraged me to do engineering in computer science. I got my diploma in TeleInformatics, which is a combination of both telecommunication and computer science. I really liked the courses related to data analysis and decided to do a master and PhD in France in the field of knowledge discovery. At this point of time, I was quite satisfied with my career path but there was still something missing which was the application field to my research work. Because I have always been inspired by medical science, I decided to do a post-doc where I could apply my knowledge in data mining on biological and medical data. So, I did my first post-doc in bioinformatics at INRA in France and worked on metabolomics data of patients with type2 diabetes. I really appreciated the application field and wanted to continue in the same direction. Then, I applied for my second post-doc in bioinformatics outside France in order to get a new experience and moved to Copenhagen to start working on ALD this time.
The day to remember of Dhouha
I think one of the memorable days was when I was preparing to go to university for the first time. My parents gave me all my personal papers and told me ‘you are now independent of us. You grew up very quickly and we think that now you are big enough to make your own decisions and choices’. At that time, I still felt too young for such things and was afraid of making wrong choices or not being able to handle serious situations by myself. However, I think that my father’s words were very powerful, and they still motivate me to try to show that I am capable of making good decisions and confronting any problems by myself. These words developed in me a conscious mind and a strong personality.
Which career path are you seeking for?
In the near future, I would like to become an Associate Professor in knowledge discovery with application in the bioinformatics field. Additionally, my teaching experience both in Tunisia and France showed me how enjoyable teaching is. I really appreciate interacting with students and sharing my knowledge with them. In parallel, I would like to continue conducting research driven by new scientific goals. I think the combination of conducting research and teaching will make me feel young in spirit.