mts_sI’m currently a post-doc researcher at the University of Sheffield, in Neil Lawrence’s lab. We’re developing new tools to allow data to be anonymised, through the framework of differential privacy. As part of an innovate UK collaboration we’re building the scikic inference tool, which will provide both a conversation interface and a backend API for inferring demographic and lifestyle features about individuals. It is hoped it will be a useful tool to demonstrate the power of machine learning. In the future we  hope to develop a user-centric data model for the analysis and storage of user data, with the motivation that personalised medicine and associated research requires access to user data.

I spent most of 2014 lecturing at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. There I became involved in the field of Development Informatics, and have several on-going research topics; covering air pollution, nutrition-data, automated microscopy, traffic collision data and malaria distribution prediction. A variety of machine learning methods have been applied (for example Gaussian Process models for the model of malaria distribution). More details about some of these projects can be found at the Artificial Intelligence in the Developing World (AI-DEV) group’s website.


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Previous work

My first MSc looked at how to infer features of distal synapses using the variance in the flow of current. My second MSc research focused on the network-level modelling of the head direction system and hands-on work with tetrode recordings of place cells in rat, in an attempt to understand if different sources of information are integrated in the dorsal presubiculum. For my PhD I switched to using fMRI in humans, but remained focused on the area of sensory integration in the head-direction and navigation systems. In particular how we integrate visual and auditory self-motion cues.


In 2015 we organised the Data @ Sheffield event, as part of the open data science initiative.

And we’re holding the second of the Data Science for Africa events in June. This time in Kampala, Uganda, as part of the wider data science Africa network.

Other work

I’m developing a tool that allows bumblebees to be tracked over several hectares. Check back in summer for the results.

Selected Publications
  • Wutte, M. G., Smith, M. T., Flanagin, V. L., & Wolbers, T. (2011). Physiological signal variability in hMT+ reflects performance on a direction discrimination task. Frontiers in psychology, 2.
  • Feldwisch-Drentrup, H., Barrett, A. B., Smith, M. T., & van Rossum, M. C. (2012). Fluctuations in the open time of synaptic channels: An application to noise analysis based on charge. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 210(1), 15-21.
  • Bett, D., Stevenson, C. H., Shires, K. L., Smith, M. T., Martin, S. J., Dudchenko, P. A., & Wood, E. R. (2013). The Postsubiculum and Spatial Learning: The Role of Postsubicular Synaptic Activity and Synaptic Plasticity in Hippocampal Place Cell, Object, and Object-Location Memory. The Journal of Neuroscience, 33(16), 6928-6943.