Dr Nicole Wheeler

Data Scientist, Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute


Nicole works as a data scientist, taking large amounts of data from the real world, and using it to discover rules about how the world works. She has developed expertise in machine learning, genomics, antibiotics resistance and infectious disease.

She develops AI products that can be used to identify antibiotic resistant infections. These products can be used to monitor antibiotic resistance in public health surveillance systems, to improve the decisions we make about when and how to prescribe antibiotics, and could in the future be used by doctors to prescribe the right antibiotics to treat infections.

The data she uses to build these algorithms often comes from wealthier communities linked with large universities. AI products are sensitive to bias, so she is working to test whether this data collection strategy lowers performance in low-income settings, and develop ways to prevent this. This includes developing methods to correct for this bias, and developing capacity for low-income areas to collect and contribute their own data.

She also works to educate the public, policy makers and experts on how to prevent the spread of superbugs and produce trustworthy AI products. She achieves this through writing, speaking and designing activities which encourage people to explore why things go wrong in nature and in AI.

Her work allows her to collaborate with people all over the world from biology, computing, physics, mathematics, public health, global development and policy. This diverse network allows her to bring together key partners to make progress on pressing global issues.