Meet Dr Chris Rookyard, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the NCITA Repository Unit

Tell us about your role in NCITA?
I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the NCITA Repository Unit based at the Department of Cancer Imaging, King’s College London. My role involves web development for the XNAT Federation which provides access to all NCITA XNAT nodes at the host institutions. The main thing I do is develop software to allow users to share and query data on the NCITA XNAT nodes.

What is a typical week like for you as a Postdoctoral Research Associate?
I am currently working on developing plugins for the XNAT repository as well as a convenient tool that can search data on the NCITA XNAT federation. I also maintain the in-house radiomics software for medical images at KCL and am contributing to the Imaging Biomarker Standardisation Initiative (IBSI), which is an independent international collaboration which works towards standardising the extraction of image biomarkers from acquired imaging for the purpose of high-throughput radiomics. This involves developing and sharing algorithms with IBSI to improve the reproducibility of image analysis algorithms. I also help people using the XNAT platforms across NCITA with any user issues. I attend weekly meetings with the NCITA repository unit team and fortnightly meetings with repository unit manager Dr Simon Doran.

What do you like most about your role?
I really enjoy solving problems and learning new things to develop the repository tools. My role involves learning a range of programming languages including Java, Java Script, Python and MATLAB. There is a lot of switching between these programming languages involved when developing the software codes and algorithms so I am learning new things all the time.

How did you get to where you are today?
I studied biology for my undergraduate degree followed by a MSc in Microscopy and Biomedical Imaging. I then completed my PhD in Computational Biology at the University of East Anglia, and this was followed by postdoctoral position at Guys’ Campus at KCL where I was working on how the brain shapes itself and develops in zebrafish using microscopy time lapse experiments and image analysis. I particularly enjoyed the image analysis and algorithm development work for image quantification and was delighted to join the NCITA repository unit in November 2019.

Hobbies/interesting fact
I am a guitarist and particularly enjoy classical guitar, especially playing the music of Heitor Villa-Lobos!

Read more about our NCITA infrastructure and project staff here.