Malvika Sharan


Open Leader and Community Builder in a mission to make computation, Open Science and data science practices accessible, adoptable and beneficial for a wider community.


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Skills & Competencies


Scientific Research

Interdisciplinary bioinformatics researcher at esteemed organisations in Germany with published open access resources. A background in computational biology with experience developing and supporting Open Source Python Projects.

Established scientific collaborations with multiple stakeholders leading to the development and release of research software, learning resources, reports, online articles and >15 scientific publications (Google Scholar page). I organised and taught in more than 35 courses/workshops on a wide range of topics that help scientists develop their skills to make their research open, reproducible and accessible for a wider audience.


Open Science & Open Source

Implemented strategies at an organisational and global scale for open source development, project sustainability, contributors engagement and community building. I supported the Bio-IT community project at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). I currently manage The Turing Way project on data science best practices at The Alan Turing Institute, London, UK.

Contributed to the EU level efforts to develop and implement computational skills and capacity building through high-profile collaborations, 1:1 consulting and technical support at EMBL and ELIXIR Germany. I delivered training and outreach programs, and co-authored Open Source Software Recommendations for the ELIXIR training platform (2016-2020).

I strongly advocate Open Science by developing Open Source software and learning resources, publishing and reviewing Open Access articles and contributing to various Open Science conferences as an organiser, reviewer, chair and/or committee member (e.g. SciPy, CarpentryCon, FOSTER, OpenCon, and ISMB).


Community Building & Project Leadership

Exhibited community leadership and management skills in various capacities. I manage and support the diverse contributors of The Turing Way to develop resources and adopt open practices in their work by providing guidance, documentation and consultation. As a co-lead of Open Life Science, I drive the scoping, management and decision-making in the project.

I actively promote best practices for Open Source, Open Access, Open Data, FAIR principles and participatory research (2015-). I deliver lectures, conference talks, panel discussions, workshops, online resources, consulting and community events on related topics on a regular basis.


Policy Development

Participated in Open Access and Open Source policy development at organisation levels through the EMBL Staff Association (2017-2019), The Carpentries Code of Conduct Committee (2018-), Open Bioinformatics Foundation board (2019-) and The Alan Turing Institute Equality, Diversity & Inclusion working group (2020-).


Funding & Budget Management

Obtained training in project and budget management. Drafted successful grant proposals and handled funding for five large-scale scientific events and two open source community projects (total ~£175,000). I wrote project reports, technical documentation, scientific papers, learning resources, community guides and blog posts, most of which are published online under open licenses.


Professional Experience

Community manager, Research Associate - The Alan Turing Institute

September 2019-Present

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The Turing Way is an open-source book project on reproducible, ethical, collaborative and inclusive data science. It is a project developed under Tools, Practices and Systems research programme of Turing's AI for science and government integrated research programme.
As a community manager, I involve and support its diverse community of researchers, educators, policymakers and other stakeholders in sharing best practices, while they adopt open practices in their work.
With its moonshot goal to make "reproducibility too easy not to do", we develop and promote resources on guidance, recommendations, case studies and personal stories across five guides: Reproducible Research, Project Design, Collaboration, Communication and Ethical Research. I record all the community practices and resources in the community handbook. I involve in strategy development, project planning and management of this project.
In 2020, The Turing Way community grew three times in size with over 250 direct contributors of the GitHub repository. Together, they have developed 30 chapters with 134 subchapters and community resources. I manage its communication channels (Slack, Twitter, Monthly newsletter), organise community events ( coworking calls, Collaboration Cafes, Book Dash events, Training Activities), deliver conference talks, provide 1:1 consulting and mentorship and maintain internal project reports.

Co-Founder - Open Life Science

June 2019-Present

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Open Life Science (OLS) is a non-profit organisation that provides an international platform for open science leaders and learners to exchange their knowledge. Through 16-week long personal mentorship and cohort-based training, our participants gain skills essential to create, lead, and sustain their projects openly. This project is co-led by me, Yo Yehudi and Berenice Batut by involving Open Science practitioners from all the around the world as mentors and experts (our community).
Through two cohorts in 2020, we have trained and enabled mentoring of nearly 50 projects led by 80 members from 6 continents. We received funding from Code for Science and Society, EOSC-life Training Grant and The Turing Online Training Grant to run the 2021 cohorts in partnership with these organisations.
As a co-lead of Open Life Science, I lead the planning, management and decision-making processes. This year we will be involving our members in developing policies, sustainability plans and guiding the direction of this project towards those who are yet to benefit from Open Science practices. You can read our annual report here.

Bio-IT Community and Outreach Coordinator - European Molecular Biology Laboratory

July 2016-January 2020

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EMBL Bio-IT fosters a community of bioinformaticians and computational researchers to build, support, and promote best practices and collaboration at an organisation level. I led outreach and community engagement plans to facilitate skill exchange and interaction among the researchers from different groups. It also included managing many in-person meetings, consulting activities, coordination with multiple stakeholders and outreach events.
In my role, I engaged in leadership and project management related tasks at various capacities. I was regularly involved in designing events, developing course materials, handling logistics for outreach activities, delivering training courses, writing grant proposals, handling budgets, representing projects at international events, hosting informal/public-engagement events and project reporting. I organised an taught in more than 34 training courses on a variety of computational skills. Most of these courses were aimed at supporting researchers new to coding and automation to adopt reproducible and open practices in their work.
We involved expert practitioners in sharing their skills with others by inviting them to speak at informal seminars, maintain community resource (such as GitLab and Chat System), teach or help in a course and participate in the Bio-IT TaskForce meetings. To highlight and incentivise these community members, I designed and launched the community blog forum and Bio-IT Outreach and Training Fellowship.

Deputy Training Coordinator - German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure (de.NBI) | ELIXIR Germany

July 2016-January 2020

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My position at EMBL was funded by the German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure - de.NBI, which constitutes ELIXIR's node in Germany. A part of my job was to coordinate the dissemination of bioinformatics training and outreach resources to the ELIXIR member states and develop training strategies as a Deputy Training Coordinator for ELIXIR Germany.
I contributed to the EU level efforts for development and implementation of computational skills and capacity building through high-profile collaborations, 1:1 consulting and technical support at EMBL and ELIXIR Germany. I delivered training and outreach programs and co-authored 4 Open Source Software recommendations for the ELIXIR training platform (2016-2020).
I co-designed and delivered 16 out of 40 Bio-IT courses in collaboration with de.NBI and offered them openly and freely to researchers in ELIXIR network.

PhD Researcher - University of Würzburg

May 2012-June 2016

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Institute of Molecular Infection Biology, Graduate School of Life Science, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.
Main Projects:
(i) Identification and characterisation of RNA-protein interactions in bacterial systems and host-pathogen interactions.
(ii) Highthrough sequencing data analysis to identify roles of human micro RNAs, long non-coding RNAs and bacterial genes in various transcriptomics data for bacterial infections.
(iii) Screening of RNA-binding bacterial effector proteins in host-pathogen interactions.

Bioinformatics Researcher - Max Planck Institute

October 2010-February 2012

Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging (Bioinformatics Group), Cologne, Germany.
Project: Development and benchmarking of Python tool, morfeus, for orthology detection.

Internship - Bayer AG

June 2010-August 2010

Bayer AG Research Centre, Bioinformatics Department, Wuppertal, Germany.
Project: Curation of gene expression information for drug targets.

Internship - University of Bonn

February 2010-May 2010

Bonn-Aachen International Center for Technology, Department of Life Science Informatics, Bonn, Germany.
Project: Managing and advancing internal Platform for Alumni network.


Educational Background

PhD Bioinformatics - University of Würzburg

May 2012-June 2016

Institute of Molecular Infection Biology, Graduate School of Life Science, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.
Thesis title: Bio-computational identification and characterisation of RNA-binding proteins in bacteria.



Masters in Life Science Informatics - University of Bonn

October 2009-February 2012

Bonn-Aachen International Center for Technology, Department of Life Science Informatics, Bonn, Germany.
Thesis conducted at Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging (Bioinformatics Group), Cologne, Germany.
Thesis title: “morFeus: a computational tool to detect remotely conserved orthologs using symmetrical best hits and orthology network scoring”.
Co-supervisors: Prof. Martin Hoffman-Apitius (The Fraunhofer Institute –SCAI, Sankt Augustin), Prof. Heiko Schoof (Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Köln) and Dr. Bianca H. Habermann (Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Köln)


Bachelors of Science in Biotechnology - University of Bangalore

July 2005-June 2008

Peoples’ Education Society Institute for Applied Sciences, Bangalore University. Bangalore, India.


Community Activities & Involvements


Fellow - Software Sustainability Institute

2019-Present

The Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) cultivates better, more sustainable, research software to enable world-class research. With my SSI fellowship, I focus on exploring and promoting effective open source practices that are suitable for low-income and low-tech research environment. It allows me to work on the intersection of community building, open source and inclusive approaches that enhance the representation of marginalised groups in STEM. Read more here.

Board Member - Open Bioinformatics Foundation

2019-Present

Open Bioinformatics Foundation is a non-profit group that promotes open source software development and bioinformatics skills. In the board, I also chair the Event Fellowship Programme that is aimed at financially supporting the participation of diverse members at events and communities promoting open source practices and skills within the biological research community.

Trainer, Instructor, Committee Member - The Carpentries

2015-Present

The Carpentries is a volunteer-based organisation that teaches foundational coding and data science skills to researchers worldwide. I am an instructor, instructor trainer and current chair of the Code of Conduct committee. Between 2015-2020, I have participated in various capacities to lead and support its community efforts, for example, as a mentor, course maintainer and content curator for its biweekly newsletters. I chaired its first community conference CarpentryCon 2018 and co-organised CarpentryConnect Manchester 2019 and CarpentryCon @ HOME 2020.

Member of Selection Committee - Code for Science and Society event fund

2020-Present

Code for Science and Society (CS&S) is a nonprofit supporting open collaboration in public interest technology. The CS&S Event Funds aim to improve access to open data science practices and tools and support communities in open data science to grow sustainably and inclusively. Launched in 2020, grants are offered for virtual events focused on improving or connecting research-driven data science tools, practices, and the communities themselves. I am honoured to be in the selection committee working alongside a diverse group of community leaders.

Other Involvements

Open Science & Technology

Community Building & Leadership

Diversity & Inclusion

  • Member of Turing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (2020-): This working group works under the title "Attracting Diversity, Developing Talent and Public Engagement". We support the communication team in creating case studies highlighting diversity at the Turing and make recommendations to the EDI advisory group.
  • Women in Science mentoring for EMBL Teens (2019): The ‘Friends of EMBL’ department invited me to join their mentoring project for the EMBL Teen club for high school students interested in computation and life sciences.
  • Women in Science - Career Support System survey project and articles (2018-2019): Contributed to the project design, development, analysis and articles.
  • EMBL Equality and Diversity Committee (September 2017-January 2020): As an elected member of the Equality and Diversity Committee, I work on projects aimed at making the workplace more diverse, fair and inclusive. I led multiple projects on campus in collaboration with different teams and working groups. I contributed to the development and review of internal policy documents to make the workplace truly inclusive and equitable. A few noteworthy things that I am proud of are:
  • ISMB Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion TaskForce (2017-2019): Contributed to bringing important perspective to organizing ISMB-ECCB 2017 and 2019 in Prague and Basel respectively and led several participant-driven 'Birds of a Feather' discussion sessions at these conferences.


Talks, Workshop & Events


Talks & Lectures
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Under Development!


Training & Workshops
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Under Development!


Events & Conferences
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Under Development!


Resources


Relevant resources from my work

Will be updated soon!


Other Interest

Food history is my favourite kind of history!
I love to learn how local ingredients, rituals and communities influence the creation and evolution of dishes. I love how they build peoples' identities, sense of belonging and memories and how they travel across borders to fuse with other ingredients, rituals and communities to create new identities, belongings and memories.

When not reading about food history, you can find me binge watching comedy shows and documentaries. Most days I manage to read books (or listen to audiobooks) on science, philosophy, intersectionality, and fictions. I have started reading Sci-Fi on recommendations from a 'tiny book club in need of a name' that has brought me a lot of joy during the COVID-19 lockdown. I sometimes sketch and paint (oil painting lately), strum a ukulele or play some keys on my piano - everything I wish I learned to do better!

It would be bizarre to say that my interest is to attend conferences, but working from home has reminded me how much I miss them. So, here I am, admitting that I love well-organised conferences where I get to meet and connect with people working on wonderful projects and ideas.