Who could know that the year which we have spent indoors would take me into an exciting journey to one of the prettiest places in Europe? After some remote working, now I am finally in Maastricht and have already started playing with atrial electrogram data!
This is not my first trip for educational purposes, though. In 2013, I moved to Leuven, another lovely city just one hour-away from Maastricht, to initiate my graduate studies in Biomedical Engineering. In those days, I was a freshly graduated electrical engineer with a deep passion about signal processing. I was surrounded by classmates plotting their routes in very distinct domains, generally not related to biomedical sciences. Yet, I was already captivated by the things I have encountered during an elective course about modelling of biological systems. Generation, detection or estimation of human-made signals were cool. Yet, understanding a huge biological network by observing it from a peep hole of time series was cooler.
Armed with such a deep interest in general data processing techniques on biological data, my time in Leuven was fruitful as I had the chance to work with various data modalities. My master’s thesis was on detection of EEG signatures of a special visual attention-related task. I have also taken part in a major project on application of tensor decomposition on ECG data to reveal the relation of T-wave Alternans and Sudden Cardiac Death. Apart from pushing my limits in mathematical techniques, these projects have also brought me a nice set of knowledge in electrophysiology.
Upon obtaining my masters degree, I have moved to Turkey and initiated my professional life there. Back in those days, the popularity of machine learning was approaching its peak. Mesmerized by the advances in this domain, its applicability to virtually any domain and its close linkage to signal processing field, I found myself right into it. I enrolled to a second masters program in Electrical Engineering with a special focus on Machine Learning. Concurrently, I had been working as a project member in a government-funded project in which I was tasked with processing gene expression time series data for revealing the effects of distinct anti-cancer drugs’ effects on certain cancer cell lines. This project was my first encounter with recurrence analyses. Of course, I could not know that these plots would be one of the chief points of my Ph.D. in the future! As an output of this project, our team successfully implemented a personalized anti-cancer drug recommendation tool. Through the end of this project, I had a permanent data science position offer from one of Turkey’s leading companies. Before leaving it with the joy of travelling to Maastricht, I have worked there for three years and encountered many real life data science problems.
In mid-August, my adventure in PersonalizeAF started remotely. Since our first meetings with the team, I have been amazed by the range of the expertise that the researchers in CARIM (School for Cardiovascular Diseases of Maastricht University) in AF signal processing and tools they have produced. My first months was busy experimenting with these tools and doing some literature review. My first tasks are related to invasive atrial activation wave mapping which visualizes the temporal behaviours of electrical waves in atria. As these maps guide ablation process, any improvement on the methodology would have a great contribution. I am very lucky that my team has a huge experience in these maps!
But, let’s cut it here for now. I will be back with a new blog with more technicality, soon!
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