Data Science students were in Copenhagen in April

a text by Katharina Wendt, second semester student:

To gain insights into foreign research projects and health data management systems, to network and to learn about different career paths, 25 students set off for Copenhagen on 19 April 2023. They were participants of the Add-on Fellowships for Interdisciplinary Life Science of the Joachim Herz Foundation, which supported this excursion as well as the trip to Luxembourg last year, and the students of the two current years of the Master’s programme Biomedical Data Science at MHH.

The outward journey from Hanover by train went smoothly, only the arrival was delayed by 40 minutes due to a few small unplanned stops in Denmark. On the journey we played cards, chatted and laughed, so that the almost nine-hour journey flew by. After arriving at Copenhagen Central Station, we took the metro to our accommodation. As it was already evening, the only thing left to do was to explore the premises and the surroundings.

The second day began with breakfast, after which we set off for the University of Copenhagen at 8:30 am on the dot. We walked along the canal for about 30 minutes to the university, where Eleonora Nigro from the “Center for Health Data Science” (HeaDS) at the University of Copenhagen welcomed us.
This was followed by exciting lectures from the HeaDS: The first lecture provided information about the “sandbox” – i.e. a safe “play area” for working with data. For this purpose, so-called synthetic data are created based on real data sets with the help of artificial intelligence, which do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about personal data and thus guarantee data protection. In the second lecture, we got an insight into working with data from the point of view of training people in dealing with data. Other lectures informed us about the everyday life of a Data Scientist during the PhD and PostDoc period.

During the lunch break, we were able to fortify ourselves with delicious sandwiches before we went up to the 15th floor of the building and admired the view over Copenhagen. Afterwards, we were able to get to know other working areas of data scientists and ask questions during a “Panel Discussion”. The insight of the day was that you can find your way into data science starting from different fields of study and at different points in your scientific career.
A visit to the restaurant rounded off this exciting day: The rich buffet had everything from salad to vegetables and meat to soft ice cream and rhubarb crumble, so that everyone got their money’s worth.

On the third and last day, we set off on foot again: The way to the Diagnostic Centre of Rigshospitalet led us, among other things, through the park of Rosenborg Castle. Once we arrived at our destination, we were warmly welcomed and then given an insight into the Danish healthcare system. We learned, for example, that every Dane receives an individual “Central Person Register” (CPR) number, through which all health-related data is stored and recorded. This topic caused extensive discussions, as such comprehensive data storage would be unthinkable in Germany. Furthermore, we were introduced to various research projects and were given an overview of whole genome sequencing for the detection and classification of bacteria. The small breaks were sweetened with Danish pastries before we continued with an overview of Big Data analysis for genotype-phenotype correlations and exploratory data analysis. A communal lunch in the refectory concluded the excursion.

The excursion was a complete success not only because of the bright sunshine during the whole time, but especially because of the impressive insight into the everyday work of data scientists and their versatile application in bioscientific and clinical research.

The photo shows the happy participants of the Copenhagen excursion.