About

Yes, it is a weak pun on “the mind boggles”… And also a reference/homage to the Weebles (weebles wobble but they won’t fall down): the mind wobbles, but it won’t fall down.

You can also find me in Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, via my ORCID, and on Twitter.

Short Version: My name is Allyson Lister and I began working part time as a knowledge engineer for FAIRsharing.org in February 2015.

I completed my PhD in early 2012 while a full time staff researcher at Newcastle University, and continued working there part time until 2014. You can read my PhD thesis on this blog, as I’ve converted the Latex to a WordPress-friendly format.

Between 2012 and 2014 I also worked part time on the Software Ontology as an ontologist with the University of Manchester. Until March 2011, I was a Research Associate with CISBAN, also at Newcastle University. Before that, I spent 6 1/2 years at the EBI working on UniProt. Prior to the EBI, I received my undergraduate degree in Biology (with a second major in Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations) at Rice University, and received a MSc in Bioinformatics from the University of York.

Long Version:

Here’s some information about the sort of thing I post about here:

  • science outreach: I do enjoy passing on my enjoyment of and interest in the sciences. Some of my older posts talk about the work I did doing with the Teacher Scientist Network, and currently I’m a STEM Ambassador. Outreach is just fantastic, especially when explaining science to kids, and it’s something I like to talk about in this site, when the opportunity arises.
  • standards: Research data standards are awesome, and important, and my work at FAIRsharing is heavily centered around making standards more visible – more FAIR. I’ve been involved with a few efforts (including FuGE, OBI, SBML, SBO, and MIGS) to varying degrees. I’m a bit of a standards fiend, and try to remind myself that not everyone finds them as interesting (though everyone should at least find them relevant!).
  • data integration: One of the biggest challenges facing bioinformatics and the research sciences in general. So many formats, so little time! Reconciling these using brute force, standardisation, semantics, and sneakiness are what it’s all about.
  • ontologies: I like ontologies for many reasons, not the least their potential for reconciling the many different ways of defining and naming things in our lives. We need a common ground from which to perform successful integration and analysis, and I think a well-written ontology (or set of them) is a beautiful thing. They are a major tool in my research bag of tricks. Not only that, but I have also helped develop a community-driven ontology for describing life-science experiments (OBI). I have consulted on or helped develop a number of other ontologies in the bioinformatics community such as the Software Ontology.
  • workshops: my method of remembering what goes on in workshops and conferences is to take notes, and I can be a pretty fast typist. I enjoy blogging on each lecture at such an event as they happen, and you’ll notice a lot of workshop and conference posts on this site. They are mainly written while the speaker is speaking, with a minimum (if any) of later editing. However, if any speaker reads my notes and would like to suggest areas where I made a mistake, I am more than happy to make those sorts of changes. One of my favourite ways of blogging.

Please note that this blog, unless otherwise stated, reflects only my opinions. In any case, any errors in these pages are all my own!

The Mind Wobbles by Allyson Lister is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).

In the past, I have also contributed to Ontogenesis and the ISCB blog.

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