Daniel Moyo

PhD in Computer Science
Modelling languages of immune systems

Why did you choose to study in the department of Computer Science in York?

I had initially applied to the Department of Computer Science for an advertised PhD project in the area of Computational Biology, which was White Rose scholarship funded, but I was unsuccessful. However, the interviewing panel must have thought well of me and I was offered an EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant (DTG) through the department. The DTG award gave me a great degree of freedom to carve out my own research project from the wealth of expertise at York.

Did you come straight to postgraduate study from your first degree?

Yes. I was quite worried at first, having not had the same level of research experience that many of my peers in the department had acquired through their Masters courses. These fears were quickly alleviated however, as the Researcher Development Team (RDT) makes a concerted effort to help with your personal development as a researcher and runs various courses on professional development also.

Are you enjoying your time at York?

Having a keen interest in computational modelling, I chose a Computational Immunology oriented project, taking advantage of strong existing links between researchers at the Centre for Immunology and Infection and Computer Science. This has given me the opportunity to make my PhD a truly interdisciplinary one, performing wet-laboratory experiments to compliment my modelling and simulation research. This might not be for everyone, but you have the flexibility here at York to be able to develop your skills in fields outside of core Computer Science. 

The facilities here at York are of excellent quality. As a member of the York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis (YCCSA), I am based in the Ron Cooke Hub on the Heslington East campus, adjacent to the Computer Science building. Both buildings have great spaces, with places to work and collaborate.

It is important to have a good work life balance, so whether it be grabbing a coffee or a few drinks at the pub after work, it's good to take advantage of the social aspects of still being a student! York is a great city, with many great pubs and restaurants, or if you want a trip away further afield, it is also ideally located midway between Edinburgh and London, and a short train ride away from Leeds and Manchester for a night or weekend away from all your hard work!

Studying at York has given me an excellent grounding in interdisciplinary research, whilst also improving my broader research skills and more importantly, my self-motivation. PhD research can often be niche, but the transferrable skills I have acquired throughout my post-graduate studies I'm sure will prove useful for whatever career path I choose in the future.

Do you have any advice or tips for people thinking about postgraduate study in Computer Science at York?

My advice would be to think carefully about the type of research that interests you, and if there aren't any specific projects available in that area, don't be afraid to create your own proposal and approach researchers with the relevant experience to see if they can accommodate you as a student. With DTG funding available, you might just be able to get the right project for you.

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