A social scientist by background, Dr Lamiece Hassan has found that learning health data science skills has been transformative for her research.

Dr Lamiece Hassan

Some years ago she was investigating changes in mental health among inmates – something that involved a time-consuming process of making appointments through the prison service to meet, interview and follow-up people individually.

Being given access to datasets meant large amounts of information were instantly available. This, she recognised, was the way forward.

A three-year HDR UK Innovation Fellowship, which began in 2018, has allowed Lamiece to develop data science skills.

One focus has been on natural language processing which is allowing her to analyse unstructured social media data to gain insights about public views on health and care.

This can be invaluable as a way of finding out what people think, say and feel in the real world – potentially bringing very different insights to those gained from formal datasets, surveys or interviews.

In one case she was able to use public forums, including Twitter, to find out more about what e-cigarette users were thinking and saying about the risks of vaping at the time when news stories about potential lung damage were coming in from the USA.

Lamiece also has a deep interest in issues that have far-reaching consequences for health data science, and for healthcare overall, and has been researching public attitudes to the sharing of genomic data and the commercial use of health data.

Her training in psychology and psychiatry mean she is using health data science in new ways and bringing different ideas and understandings to the field.

In future Lamiece hopes to be able to use her expertise as a data scientist in mental health research.

Lamiece’s career path:

  • BSc (Hons) Psychology, University of Sunderland
  • MPhil Psychology, University of Sunderland
  • PhD Psychiatry, University of Manchester
  • 2016 -18 Public Engagement and Involvement Manager, Division of Informatics, Imaging and Data Science, The University of Manchester
  • 2018-21 HDR UK Research Fellow, Division of Informatics. Imaging and Data Science, University of Manchester.