Our ongoing ‘Open Science Stars’ series has highlighted some of the vast variety of views, experiences, and facets of open science, and a cadre of great people working to drive real and positive change. This week, we spoke with Fiona Nielsen, who has founded two companies dedicated to the sharing of genomics data! Here’s her amazing story.
Hi Fiona! Thanks for joining us at the ScienceOpen blog. Could you start off by letting us know a bit about your background?
Pleased to join your blog series. 🙂
I am a bioinformatics researcher with a background in computer science. My first degree was a short computer science degree, which I then expanded by studying bioinformatics at the University of Southern Denmark, where I gradually moved more and more into genetics and DNA sequence analysis. After my masters I moved to Nijmegen, the Netherlands where I studied for a PhD in bioinformatics at the NCMLS. During my time as a PhD student, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and I lost my motivation to work on scientific topics far removed from patient impact. I moved to Cambridge, UK to work for Illumina, and after two years I decided to leave my 9-5 job to start my own project: I founded first the charity DNAdigest and later the company Repositive to enable better data sharing within genomics research.
When did you first become interested in Open Access and Open Science? What was your initial reaction when you heard about it?
I do not recall when I first came across the terms of Open Access and Open Science, but I do recall that I repeatedly came across anecdotes from colleagues that could not access data or results from published papers, and how I looked up to the progressive researchers who would “go all the way” and make all data and results available immediately, even before publication of a paper.