Mendeley advisor of the month: Sunday Linus Makama (DVM, MFS, PhD, ERT)

makamaSunday Makama is a researcher with interest in Food and Environmental Health and safety, and currently works at the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom, Nigeria. He is a Chief Veterinary Research Officer (CVRO), Toxicology in the Biochemistry Division of the NVRI. He has researched into various aspects of Emerging Food borne viruses, Food and Environmental Toxicology, Nanotechnology, Ethnoveterinary medicine, and Antimicrobial and other chemical residues. Before his current position, Sunday has worked as a private Veterinary practitioner, then as a Sales and Technical representative of an Agro-allied Company. His research works were conducted in several institutions at different times including the Netherlands Food Safety Institute (RIKILT) and Wageningen University and Research (WUR), the Netherlands Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) and Alterra, the Institute for Environmental Research, WUR.

Sunday holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. He also holds a Master’s degree in Food Safety (MFS) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in toxicology from the Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands. Sunday is also a certified European Registered Toxicologist (ERT).

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

Towards the end of my Bachelors program in Veterinary College, I contemplated what I wanted to do with my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. Clinical practice, especially surgery fascinated me; so did issues of food safety and security as well as public health and environmental health and safety. I love finding answers to very intriguing questions, especially those that have significant impact on public health and environment. The research field provided a good opportunity to be involved in all these interests in a meaningful way. Afterall, multidisciplinarity is the spice of both fundamental and applied research. Now when I realized research and development was going to be the core of my career path, I wanted to be involved in doing something novel. The emerging (or re-emerging) fields in science like emerging technologies (nanotechnology) and emerging infectious diseases therefore, became my primary interests.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?

A nice, clean and comfortable environment with lots of nature and a soft music (including those from nature) is a perfect setting for me. The only addition would be some tea.

How long have you been on Mendeley? 

Officially, I have been on Mendeley since January 2015

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

I used EndNote mostly and once in a while the Microsoft Word citations & bibliography. Mendeley has now become my main reference manager and with so much interactive and simple user interface, it is safe to say Mendeley plays a significant role in my research.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?

Working in a research environment with the inherent requirement of dissemination of your findings means lots of reading and writing. Finding a tool that is well amenable to your reading, writing and networking needs is a great relief that it will be inconceivable to ignore such an excellent support. Now, when you find a helpful tool that has aided your research work, it is only proper to share the good news. Being a passionate advocate for sharing of useful knowledge and seeing the enormous need around me, I decided to contribute my quota by transferring Mendeley knowledge to those that need it; and what a blessing it has been! I could liken my experience to that of the three Samaritan lepers (in Biblical times) who found food in the time Samaria was under siege and told themselves, “we do not well!” by not sharing the good news.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I think it will be Prof. dr. Marcel H. Zwietering of Wageningen University.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

I am actually reading two books:

  1. Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
  2. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason (Read it several times).

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

The fastest person does not necessarily win the race.

What is the best part about working in research?

Getting to work in a multidisciplinary environment and overcoming the challenges of deciphering the unknown.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?

The weight of responsibility laid upon you by the fact that many depend on your findings to guide sometimes very critical decisions and policies.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

Mendeley is a sweet medley; a researcher’s best friend.

Mendeley Advisor of the Month: Chandrashekhar Vithal

Chandrashekhar is currently working as a University Librarian at AURO University, Surat, Gujarat, India. Prior to this he was associated with TEEAL-Cornell University project ((The Essential Electronic Agriculture Library.)  He was involved in implementing the project and provided training programs in Nepal, Bangladesh and India. He has been working in libraries for over three decades and has conducted over 40 training programs on Database search techniques, managing citations using reference management tools, especially  Mendeley as a user since 2015.

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

I still remember the days of my tenure with the Department of Atomic Energy, assisting the scientist in developing a bibliography on Gyroscopes, which was a game changer in my professional career. Since then I have been assisting people in developing referencing and bibliography lists. Three decades of experience is huge and now I am involved in providing training sessions on referencing tools, and other library promotion programs.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?

My preference sounds strange; people prefer silence, I love to be surrounded by people. I enjoy working with people, maybe my job demands that!

How long have you been on Mendeley?

Honestly, I was not very familiar with Mendeley until 2015, when I started working for TEEAL (The Essential Electronic Agriculture Library) a project at Cornell University. As a coordinator for South Asia, I have been involved in conducting training sessions on TEEAL for students, scholars, and Faculty. In addition, I conducted training sessions on reference management using Mendeley.

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

I am fortunate in the sense that with three decades in the profession I have witnessed technological interventions in libraries. For my master’s dissertation work I still remember I used to record all my references on bibliographic cards, which is tedious and time-consuming. Mendeley is like a divine gift to all researchers enabling referencing with one click and saving time.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are your involved with the program?

Sharing information to all is in the DNA of librarians! TEEAL-Cornell Project has given me the opportunity of conducting training programs for academia which I have enjoyed throughly. I am happy to say that over 40 training programs on Mendeley have been conducted in Nepal, Bangladesh, and India.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

For me, the invention of radio transistor is something like a miracle! In my childhood days, I used to wonder how this small radio transistor transmitted music!! I really wanted to meet Guglielmo Marconi who is an all time favorite scientist for me.

What book are your reading at the moment and why?

There are too many to list! But currently, I am reading “Life’s Amazing Secrets: How to find balance and purpose” by Gaur Gopal Das. The book explains how to conquer your daily battles, align yourself with your purpose and win at life.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

People are still not aware of referencing tools available to them, I noticed this during my recent training program on Mendeley.

What is the best part about working in research?

Research and learning are a never-ending process both contribute a lot to empower society.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?                              

The sense of invention, collaboration, learning from others is the best thing about research and the worst is when the outcome/findings of research is sometimes challenging.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

Mmmmm…. That’s a tricky question to answer! Mendeley as a whole has several features to make the life of a researcher easy.  For me the “Watch Folder” option is really handy for anyone and helps in building my library.

Mendeley Advisor of the Month: Narendra Kumar

narendra

Narendra Kumar is an Assistant Professor at The Institute of Technology Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand (India). He teaches Technical Communication. He is also enrolled as a PhD student at The Language and Cognition Lab, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar (India). He obtained his M.A degree in Linguistics from Banaras Hindu University Varanasi (India). Kumar’s research work focuses on the Neurophysiological correlates of semantic prediction during language comprehension.

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

 The question ‘how the human brain knows, what it knows?’ has always intrigued me. Here when I say the term ‘know’, I specifically mean ‘information’, not in the sense of knowledge as a whole in human beings. It is quite apparent that the prime carrier of information is natural language. In our everyday life, we comprehend a sentence so easily and smoothly that no one questions how the human brain processes various linguistic information viz. phonological morphological, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic etc. of every word in milliseconds. I started my PhD in 2013 to explore similar questions on the basis of electrophysiological (Event-Related Potentials) evidence from Hindi, a split-ergative and verb-final language. My research is focused on investigating the processing of semantic information during on-line language comprehension of Hindi sentences. The neurophysiological studies on processing syntactic information in typologically different languages have exhibited substantial differences. So, my research work aims to explore if the processing of semantic information also exhibits neurophysiological differences cross-linguistically.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?

I love to work in the lab or the library. I need a peaceful environment to work dedicatedly. Indeed, I enjoy working in a creative and challenging environment where I can push myself beyond the comfort zone to learn new things.

How long have you been on Mendeley? 

I have been using Mendeley since October 2014. I learnt about Mendeley when I was learning inserting Bibliography in LaTeX from the youtube channel of Chandra Has.

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

In the first year of my PhD, I used Endnote but didn’t feel comfortable using it, within few months I came across Mendeley. After using Mendeley once, I realized it was a one-stop solution to organize every research activity. Infact, Mendeley saved a lot of time which I used to waste in renaming and keeping PDF files in different directories according to their use.  Mendeley organizes all these PDF files in a library format and helps to retrieve them easily. Apart from citation and reference writing, I use Mendeley as a tool for reading as its PDF viewer allows me to highlight texts, adding notes and tags which has helped me keeping notes organized in the article itself. Moreover, I love two other features of Mendeley the most, they are Mendeley Web Plugin and the suggestion of article based on the documents in my library.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?

 I believe in the philosophy of sharing and spreading of knowledge and information, as mentioned in the following Sanskrit shlok (couplet):

अपूर्व: कोऽपि कोशोऽयं विद्यते तव भारति !

व्ययतो वृद्धिमायाति क्षयमायाति सञ्चयात् ॥ (सुभाषितानि)

[Translation: O Bharati (Goddess of learning)! This indescribable treasure of yours is unique – by expending it grows and by hoarding it diminishes! – Subhashitani (Sanskrit: dated back 5000BC)]

Once realised Mendeleys importance for a research student, I started sharing its features with my PhD pursuing friends. Within a few months of joining Mendeley, I attended a Mendeley event in a nearby institute and as a result decided to become an advisor to organize workshops myself. I have organized a number of workshops in my institute and nearby institutes.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

In today’s world every linguist has a dream to meet Noam Chomsky at least once. He is a living legend as the “father of modern linguistics” and one of the “makers of twentieth century” (London Times 1970). In addition, I would like to meet Steven Pinker (Harvard University), Marta Kutas (University of California-SD), Angela Friederici (MPI, Leipzig), Peter Hagoort (MPI, Nijmegen), David Poeppel (NYU) and Ray Jackendoff (Tufts University) whose works have contributed a lot to the discussion of language, mind and brain.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

These days I am reading two books Neurosemantics (2016) by Plebe & Cruz and Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

This week, I reviewed research articles based on the prediction approach of language comprehension. Prediction is one of the essential attribute of language comprehension system, yet researchers do not agree on what prediction is or what constitutes evidence for it.

What is the best part about working in research?

As a researcher, I have started believing in the philosophy of Albert Einstein: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” What I like the most about working in research is that one can enjoy his/her whole life as a student/learner where there is always something new to learn and new problems to solve.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?

The most frustrating thing for a researcher is when you do not get the results as expected after spending months/years on a problem. In such case also, supervisors/PIs don’t look at your hard work/labour, instead they start criticizing your potentials and working styles.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

Mendeley is the best on-stop solution for all research activities. Every academician/researcher should use Mendeley as it makes the life of a researcher organized and smooth.


Biography in Brief

Narendra Kumar is an Assistant Professor at Institute of Technology Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand (India). He teaches Technical Communication to the students of B.Tech. Along with he is also enrolled as a PhD student at Language and Cognition Lab, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar (India). He obtained his M.A degree in Linguistics from Banaras Hindu University Varanasi (India). Kumar’s research work focuses on the Neurophysiological correlates of semantic prediction during language comprehension.


Mendeley Advisor of the Month: July 2018

Mendeley july advisor of the month

Mendeley advisor of the month: Gabriel de Oliveira Ramos is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Artificial Intelligence Lab from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium). He obtained his PhD (with highest honours) and MSc degrees in Computer Science from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) in 2018 and 2013, respectively. Ramos’ research focuses on multiagent reinforcement learning and game theory, especially in the context of complex scenarios, such as traffic and smart grids.

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

I started to write my first computer programs at 14 and developed, since then, my passion for Computer Science. Not much later, during my bachelor’s first year, I got in contact with Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the first time and decided that AI would be my research field. In the following years, I developed my research on different AI topics, including machine learning, game theory, and planning. In all cases, my research has always been motivated by real-world problems, like traffic, electricity grids, and logistics. Moreover, the theoretical properties of my methods have always played a role in my research.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?

Any environment where I can balance insightful discussion sessions (with my peers) with silent study sessions. Good computer resources are also extremely useful, together with the traditional paper-and-pen combination.

How long have you been on Mendeley? 

I started using Mendeley in June 2013, just after I finished my masters, to organize the mess of my references at that time.

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

Keeping track of the literature is fundamental in science. Before using Mendeley, I had all my references grouped by topics into folders of my computer. The main problem, however, was to efficiently store my annotations and conclusions about such references. With Mendeley, I could finally store all my notes in an efficient and reliable way. Together with the nice search mechanism, it became easier for me to focus on my research.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?

I have been a Mendeley enthusiast since I started using it (indeed, it has considerably increased my productivity on specific tasks). As such, I always spread the word about it. Moreover, I contributed to Mendeley by suggesting important improvement several times. In this sense, I always felt as an informal advisor, which became a formal status in May 2015.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

My work has been inspired by so many brilliant researchers that I could not mention all of them here. Among them, I should definitely highlight Prof. Avrim Blum (TTI-Chicago), Prof. Michael Bowling (UAlberta), and Prof. Tim Roughgarden (Stanford), whose works motivated (and shed light on) my PhD research.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

The second edition of Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction, by Sutton and Barto. It is always important to refresh such fundamental topics.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

I attended some of the world’s most important conferences on Artificial Intelligence (ICML and AAMAS), and I enforced to myself the belief that, as a researcher, you should always be open-minded and eager for learning new things.

What is the best part about working in research?

You are always learning new ways of solving problems that could potentially improve people’s lives.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?

Sometimes (almost always, in fact) the answer is not the one you would expect. Although challenging, that is what moves science forward (and actually, that is one of the most exciting parts of doing science).

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

Mendeley really makes your reference management easier.

Join the Mendeley Advisor Program!

We want to invite YOU to be part of Mendeley by becoming a Mendeley University Advisor!

If you are a power user and are enthusiastic about Mendeley and what we want to achieve and you’d like to spread the word about us at your university – while receiving some great benefits along the way – now’s your chance!

Hundreds of your friends and colleagues around the world have joined as Mendeley Advisors. They serve as official Mendeley representatives at their institutions and help us keep in touch with Mendeley’s growing userbase. See who’s in your area on our Advisor Map or check out upcoming events on the events page.Read More »

Say congrats to the Haiku contest winner, Dr. Stewart Dods!

Handy evergreen
Leading the reference scene
Mendeley on screen

We ran a contest for a few months asking our Mendeley Advisors to submit a haiku on their Advisor application and then taking submissions from the Mendeley community at large. Dr. Stewart Dods won with the above haiku. We were well impressed at the level of erudition and subtlety among our community and hope everyone had as much fun with it as we did.

Congratulations to Dr. Dods. Here he stands by his 20 L biofermenter, ready to grow some fabulous Fab’-secreting E.coli.Read More »