Alumni case study: David Wong

Alumni case study: David Wong
Life Sciences Interface
Job title
Lecturer in Health Informatics
University of Leeds

In what way was your DPhil important to your employer?

My DPhil project, in vital sign analysis and the implementation of clinical systems, is directly related to my current role as a lecturer in Health Informatics. In particular, the project’s combination of computer-based analysis and hands-on involvement with clinical projects demonstrated that I have first hand experience with the realities of IT in healthcare.

In what ways have the skills and knowledge from your DPhil been useful in your current role?

In addition to data analysis skills, my DPhil gave me experience in working with engineers, hospital IT departments, doctors, nurses, statisticians, and human factors experts. The ability to communicate with people in such a diverse range of roles has been critical for both understanding the key features in successful informatics projects and teaching health informatics principles. The DTC training year was instrumental in developing my communication skills. First, the mix of backgrounds, both in academic discipline and personality, within my DTC cohort meant that there was a wide variety of styles to learn from. Secondly, the strong emphasis on presentations within the course quickly meant that speaking and presenting results became a normal part of work.

What do you think has been of most value to you in undertaking a DPhil at Oxford?

The close relationship between different academic disciplines at Oxford is unique, and was especially useful for my inter-disciplinary DPhil. These close relationships are fostered through Oxford’s college system, but have also been enhanced by the DTC’s commitment to recruiting students from different disciplines and providing teaching from experts in multiple fields.

How do you think you benefited from being part of a cohort?

I’ve already mentioned how the DTC’s selection of students from a wide range of backgrounds was helpful for learning, and how the DTC’s teaching style was also helpful in my personal development. In addition to all that, I now have a wide network of colleagues to ask for advice. Most recently, I have been collaborating on a paper (in review) with Nicolas Wu, from a previous DTC cohort.

What would you say to someone who was considering doing a DPhil at the DTC?

I highly recommend the DTC. The quality and range of teaching is excellent – course tutors are leading experts in their field, and it is a unique opportunity to be taught by them in a relatively intimate setting. The wealth of experience in administration means that the course ran very smoothly during my time, and I have no doubt that it still does!

Do you have any fond memories about the DTC to share?

Plenty – opportunities to socialise outside of work were abundant. Of course, the DTC does a great job of putting together a Christmas gathering, but I also remember our cohort trudging out to the park for a snowball fight when it became apparent that our lecturer was snowed-in!

Within the course itself, our module on ‘wet’ lab techniques was a unique opportunity to try something totally different for me, and to feel like a ‘real’ scientist, for at least a fortnight!