Data Engineer & Bioinformatician Anne van Winzum

Meet OMOP-specialist Anne van Winzum (27).

Anne joined the Real World Data group in April 2019. As a data engineer and bioinformatician she is involved in pipeline development and implementation for a range of clients. Anne has a favorite way of spending the holidays: long distance hiking in remote areas, far from the madding crowd.

Can you tell me a bit about your background?

It took a couple of years before I figured out which study suited me. When I started the bachelor in Bioinformatics in Leiden, with a minor in Systems Biology, I soon realized it was a perfect fit.

I enjoyed the time I spent as an intern at Naturalis Biodiversity Center, during my final year. In those months, I developed a pipeline for assembling, mapping, annotating and quantifying orchid transcriptomes. The group consisted of biologists. I was the only one with a background in bioinformatics, so I could play a significant role in the development and implementation of the pipeline. After finishing my studies, I really liked the idea of getting a job in bioinformatics.

How did you get to know The Hyve?

Looking for a SME company providing bioinformatics services, The Hyve was one that popped up. So I sent an email and got an invitation for an interview in reply. I immediately liked the atmosphere in the office and the services the company provides. The rest is history: I was hired and soon started work at The Hyve.

What do you do at The Hyve?

I used to be part of the Real World Data team. That group recently merged with two other teams to form the Health Data Infrastructure group. I’m mainly involved with data engineering work on Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership (OMOP) projects. I design and implement ETL-pipelines for our clients where we convert patient data stored in a certain model to the Common Data Model. This universal model allows other parties, both in healthcare and in biomedical research, to easily access and analyse the data. The data we work with comes from a range of clientes: GPs, hospitals and pharmacies.

Apart from this, I also participated in a data landscaping project that The Hyve trialled last year. The results were positive so these activities have continued.

What do you like about working at The Hyve?

The company isn’t too big, so you know everyone. The atmosphere is informal, which makes it easy to settle in. I like the diversity that colleagues from different countries bring to the office and the fun things we do together, such as games nights or eating out.

I also appreciate the fact that I’m allowed to focus on areas I’m interested in and the skills I want to develop. Looking back at the months I’ve been working here, I realize I’ve learned a lot.

Can you mention an exciting development in your field?

The OMOP Common Data Model is currently used primarily for patient and medical claims data as its usability for medical research is limited. We would very much like to expand the operability by extending the CDM to, say, oncology, genomics and clinical trials data. At the moment, it is difficult to map genomics data to the Common Data Model, but with certain adaptations it should be possible to include this type of data. It’s also what I like about this model: it improves. You’re not limited by a certain format, it is continuously being updated.

What do you like to do when you're 'off-duty'?

I like playing games, both computer games and board games. I love animals. I’d happily take care of an entire petting zoo, but now it’s just our cat Luna. I take tons of pictures of her.

I think my most unusual hobby is long distance hiking. My partner and I love to walk in the middle of nowhere. We bring our tent and provisions and camp along the way. Last year, we hiked the Kingstrail in Swedish Lapland and covered 430 kilometers in three weeks. That was the most amazing trip we did so far. Our ultimate dream is to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in North America.