Science in a Pub - by Laura Dal Toso
PubhD (from “Pub” + “PhD”) is a monthly event that started in Nottingham in 2014. At each event three PhD students or early stage researchers, from any academic discipline, are invited to explain their work to an audience in the informal environment of a Pub. The event is open to the general public and the idea is to present in a clear and simple way, so that everyone can understand what each project is about.
PubhD has now spread to many locations across Europe and I had the chance to attend a few events in London over the last year with a friend who is involved in the organization of PubhD. I was invited to take part in the event in London on the 1st of October, together with two other PhD students. One of them was working on cell “decision making” over the course of development and the other one studied bacteria that can purify water. Around 25 people attended the event, and they were mostly between 20 and 30 years old.
I presented the general goal of HYBRID and the specific aim of my project. I gave a brief overview of how PET imaging works and I explained why there is a great need to improve the quality of PET images. Then I described the methods that I am using to tackle this challenge, and how deep learning can be applied to extract relevant features from medical images. We discussed about the many recent applications of deep learning in medical imaging and about the tools and platforms that I use.
The audience was very involved and I received many questions, both about medical imaging in general and about the applications of my research in the clinical setting. We also discussed about practical aspects of my PhD, like how to handle radioactive material and radiation safety. I really enjoyed taking part in PubhD, it was a good way to connect to people who are working in different fields, and especially to people who do not have a scientific background. This experience helped me to look at my project from a different perspective and it made me think of better words to explain my work in a way that is accessible for everyone.
If you want to know more about PubhD, and maybe join an event in your city, check out the website http://pubhd.org/.