I’m Chia, a Malaysian girl and graduate researcher (fancy word for PhD student) based in Geneva. I’m currently working in the field of cell biology, where I mostly do microscopy imaging of dividing cells and spend a good amount of time analyzing those images and movies.
Science was my first love, and art my second. In my teenage years, I also tried a bit of programming and found that I really enjoyed that too. My PhD project allows me to bring together my interests in visualization, data, programming and understanding how the universe works (in the form of a cell).
Prior to my PhD, I studied bio-engineering and got to work in a couple of labs focusing on biomaterials; my projects ranged from developing biodegradable drug delivery systems to printing stem cell microarrays on hydrogels. The hands-on making required for these projects were good fun, and something I miss in biology. (These days, I only make graphs and the occasional Matlab app).
In the last few years, I’ve been studying art and design through books and blogs. I am especially drawn to scientific illustrations and data visualization. In a bid to make better graphs, I learnt R and am a big fan of ggplot2. Processing or D3.js would be nice skills to have one day!
The problem with my constant surfing is that I keep finding new fantastic tools, great infographics and wonderful talks and videos. I share many of them on facebook, but not all my friends enjoy such topics and it is also rather difficult for me to find back one of my posted links. I figured a wordpress website would make a good archiver, and if it can be used as a resource for others, all the better! I also have a few other websites (that still need a lot of work): www.litebiology.com, which focuses on biology concepts for high school and university students, and artbooksreviewed.wordpress.com, where I review some of the art-related books I bought and tools that I use.
Living in Switzerland, I’ve also been able to indulge in another love: nature. I am surrounded by beautiful mountains and try to take every opportunity to visit and explore them by foot, bike, or in the winter months, snowboard. After my PhD, I will be leaving Switzerland to travel in different parts of the world. You can follow my adventures with T at: adventure-tracks.com