New Computer Programmer 

Posted 15th September 2023 by Sara Pérez Vizán

I am delighted to be joining Target Malaria as a Computer Programmer at the University of Oxford

In my role, I develop computer programs to assist the modelling of malaria mosquito populations and how they might be affected by gene drive releases. This involves encoding mosquito life-processes, such as ageing, mating and dispersal, as well as genetic and environmental factors, in flexible models that can be tailored to specific scenarios. I aim to improve the computational efficiency of the models whilst also making them an open source and more accessible to the wider research community through documentation and user-friendly interfaces.  

I have always been passionate about scientific research and all its intersections, which led me to complete my MSci degree in Physics, graduating in 2022 from Royal Holloway University of London. I took my chance to explore all the degree could offer, ranging from maths and physics to engineering and programming. I also took a biophysics intercollegiate module at UCL in my final year, which refreshed my passion for biology, dating back to A Level. 

The degree introduced me to programming in the context of scientific modelling. I learnt how programming languages can be useful for data analysis, modelling, problem-solving, and illustrating physical concepts. For fun, I enjoy exploring these skills by developing computer games – including a computer version of “The Alphabet Game”! However, my interest in languages goes beyond programming, being fluent in both Spanish and English, and learning different language writing systems from around the world in my spare time. I’m from Madrid and I moved to the UK when I began my MSci degree in 2018. 

Before joining the University of Oxford, I briefly worked at ColdQuanta UK, a quantum technology company, where I wrote Python scripts for the analysis of experimental data in cutting edge scientific research. In my new role, I’m excited to explore programming further and bridge the gaps between different disciplines.  

Outside of science, my great love is music – I enjoy singing and learning different styles of Latin partner-dancing.