Hi, Could you introduce yourself?

Hello, my name is Kristina but all my friends and family call me kix! I run the Instagram and YouTube account kixcodes and study Biomedical Computing at the Technical University of Munich.

What are you working on?

At the moment I'm working on an end-to-end deep learning system that will add great value to prostate biopsy procedures by lowering the chance of receiving a false negative result. Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer among men. The system I'm working on will enable the doctor to see a high-resolution MRI while using transrectal ultrasound. The ultrasound is grainy and it is hard to localize a specific region where the tumour might be. With the MRI image live, the doctor can take a test of a region where the tumour might be with greater accuracy.  For the reader that is more technically interested, I'm proposing to use a network combined with two GAN's. One GAN for the synthesis of a US from an MRI and then another GAN for mono-modal registration.

female in STEM kixcodes

How did you get into your current field?

I had a mandatory coding course in python during the first semester of my engineering degree, I absolutely loved it! After that, I changed my major to computer science and during an exchange semester at the University of Edinburgh, I learned about machine learning, computer vision, and robotics. I worked as a data scientist in Stockholm after my bachelor's with clients ranging from construction companies to banks. Somehow I still missed a purpose, something good to work towards. During that period I read a lot of papers about the newest in computer vision. The ones that mostly caught my interest were connected to the medical field and from that, I decided to pursue a master's degree in medical AI, that’s where I am now!

I do not have clear goals, my life has always been steered by what I think is fun and interesting at the moment

What are your goals?

I do not have clear goals, my life has always been steered by what I think is fun and interesting at the moment. My perception of fun is made out of what challenges me and it enables me to dig deep into a subject with incredible joy. If I do not find it challenging or interesting anymore, I do not do a big deal out of changing directions and goals. I'm 100% or nothing.

female AI researcher kixcodes

You are studying AI How will AI affect the medical field?

It is already affecting it, in so many ways!

With surgical robotics, we can see that post-surgical trauma is reduced for patients. On the whole, procedures are shorter and more precise which makes it easier for the patients to rehabilitate quicker with less pain. Just that is a huge improvement. In the diagnostic field, we've also seen tremendous improvement, where image-based diagnostics are more reliable when a doctor is adding a machine learning tool for support in decision making.

Today there are algorithms that can, with the help of a camera, analyze diabetic retinopathy in eyes without help from a doctor, which brings healthcare accessible in regions with less economic resources. Most of the patients with vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy are found in low-income countries and affect tens of millions per year. Another great thing that has come out is teleoperation which enables surgeons to do a procedure from another geographical point, this is not so common since a surgeon still needs to be on-site bc of safety reasons but I'm excited to see this field evolve!

Female AI researcher

What could the tech industry do to better foster female talent?

I do believe that a lot is already happening. I'm very positive regarding the future. What we can continue to do is to make coding and IT more accessible for young girls. If they're not comfortable with the subject before or during high school, they will not choose computer science at a university. We can only do it by continuously making female role models visible and introducing simple coding early to all genders.

What advice would you give to people getting into your field?

Before you accept a new job, have a coffee with the person that will be your supervisor/boss. That person is having a greater impact on what you think about your work than your actual tasks. If it is your first job you might be happy to sign anything, that is understandable and ok. Just bear in mind that the university campus is mostly, in my experience, sheltered from sexist comments and inequality. In the workplace, on the other hand, you might meet men from another generation that has not been taught feminism in school. Even if it is your first job, I want you to be ok with the idea of changing the workplace early in your carrier if you're unfortunate to have landed a job in a toxic environment. There are great workplaces out there, you don't want to spend your first years, where you have the most energy, in a place that is not right.

What's the best and worst advice you have received?

The best and worse advice at the same time is to continue doing what you're good at. I think that's a piece of reasonable advice, but for me, it does not work.

I only do things I believe to be fun.

Who do you follow? What blogs do you read? What’s the best way to keep up to date with what you’re doing?

I follow a lot of people, from tech, fashion to baking influencers. But I mostly keep up to date by reading new papers that have been accepted for conferences I'm interested in and by subscribing to a lot of news sites. You can add tags like machine learning or artificial intelligence and they give you a bi-weekly summation of articles.