Get to know us – Maria Marchante

Introduction of the OPEN team: This time Saskia interviewed our team member Maria Marchante.

Hello Maria, tell us a few things about yourself,
people are curious to see who is working with us!  

My name is Maria Marchante. I am from Spain, but I live in Germany (Berlin).  I am a Data Scientist with a scientific background in computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

And what are your special interests, Maria?
I am interested in data-driven research, especially in deep learning and predictive analytics.

How did you become a part of the OPEN team?
I met Katarina through Hacking Health (an NGO about digital health), who was looking for a Data Scientist to join the team.

And why are you committed to the OPEN project?
I personally believe in resilience when it comes to fighting for a good reason. No matter how small the contribution might be, I think the OPEN project is a powerful way to change mentalities and help a lot of people with diabetes T1 get a better life.

What is your role at OPEN?
My role at OPEN focuses on the improvement of the DIYAPS experience and the exploration of possible better outcomes regarding the management of T1D (included in the third work package of the project).

What do you like the most about being a part of the team?
I like the internationality of the team, that is great to build ideas from many perspectives, giving the project a broad functionality. I’m also very happy with the interdisciplinary expertise and flexible corporative structure that form this community.

Maria, what else would you like to tell people?
I would like to encourage PwD who don’t use pumps yet, especially the ones struggling with technology to try CGM therapy and “loop”!

Thank you for this interview, Maria, and your positive spirit, it is wonderful to have you in the team!

Get to know us – Dana Lewis

And today, our series on introducing the OPEN team continues with the person without whom DIYAPS and consequently “The OPEN project” would not exist.

Hi, I am Dana Lewis. After building my own (and the world’s first open source) DIY “artificial pancreas”, I helped found the open source artificial pancreas movement (known as “OpenAPS”), making safe and effective artificial pancreas technology available (sooner) for people with diabetes around the world.

I am a passionate advocate of patient-centered, -driven, and -designed research. I am an experienced community builder and facilitator and I have taken a leadership role in a number of research projects that bring together diverse perspectives (academic, industry, government, and patient communities, to name a few).

Currently, I am collaborating with PI, or co-PI on numerous grant-funded research projects on diabetes-related data science and artificial pancreas system projects. Most notably, I serve as Principal Investigator for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded grant project called “Opening Pathways” to learn more about patient-led innovation and scientific discovery, and scale it in additional patient communities.

I frequently write and publish on topics specific to DIY diabetes work and the broader implications of patient-driven and -designed research. I also authored the book, “Automated Insulin Delivery: How artificial pancreas “closed loop” systems can aid you in living with diabetes“, to help more people understand automated insulin delivery systems.

Rather than coming from a traditional engineering background, I bring together a mix of technical and communication skills and a unique perspective to focus on bringing together individuals regardless of their traditional “role” in healthcare, which is one of the reasons I am proud to be a part of the OPEN consortium. I am serving as the leader of “work package 3” for OPEN, which is the technical development project aimed at increasing the ease of DIYAPS users to donate their data to research, as well as facilitating numerous research studies on community-donated DIYAPS data.

Thank you, Dana, for telling us about your outstanding efforts for the sake of all people with diabetes. We are very proud to have you with us!

Get to know us – Part 1

You read the pages here on the OPEN website or you follow us on facebook and/or twitter, and by now you have a good idea of what we do. You subscribed to our newsletter and will be well informed about oncoming events, research results and any other news of the OPEN project.
But if you also want to get to know us better, here is what you are looking for.

We are starting a series on introducing the OPEN team members. We will begin with an interview that Saskia held with our team member Timothy Skinner.

Hello Timothy, thank you for being so kind to answer some of our questions!
First of all, please tell us who you are.
I am Timothy Skinner, currently a Professor in Health Psychology at the University of Copenhagen.

Timothy, where are you from?
I was born and grew up in South London / Kent, but moved around the UK until I was 40. I then moved to Australia, where I worked until Jan 2018, when I moved to my current position.

And what is your background?
My professional background is as a psychologist, which I started studying in 1991, before that I worked in residential social work, with young people.

What are your special interests?
Diabetes has been my main research interest since the last year of my undergraduate psychology program. For my undergraduate thesis, I interviewed teenagers with diabetes about the support they receive from friends. This led to my PhD, which also looked at teenagers and young adults, continuing to look at how relationships with families and friends helped and hindered how people deal with living with diabetes. This has been my main interest since then. I also have interests in sleep, meditation and Argentine tango.

How did you become a part of the OPEN team?
I was asked to join the team. I don’t think because of my research reputation, but I think because of my reputation as a dissenting voice against the status quo of current diabetes care and practice, but you need to ask the rest of the team about that.

Why are you committed to the OPEN project?
Because it is solely about getting the best outcome for people with diabetes.

And what is your role at OPEN?
My main role is leading the part of the project that is focused on trying to quantify the quality of life benefits of using user developed closed loop systems.

What do you like the most about being a part of the team?
The part I like most about this project is that it is lead by people with diabetes. It is great to be working on a project where I do not have work through the challenges of conflicting goals, values and philosophies in every interaction.

Thank you, Timothy, for sharing some details of your life and work. We are very happy to have you with us!