» July 2017 Member Highlight: Katarzyna Wac - International Society for Quality of Life Studies - ISQOLS

July 2017 Member Highlight: Katarzyna Wac

Katarzyna Wac

Associate Professor of Human Centered-Computing at the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Invited Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, affiliated with Stanford University

 

ISQOLS Board of Directors Member

 

 

 

 

Describe your background, experience, and research as it relates to Quality-of-life studies.

I am an Associate Professor of Human Centered-Computing at the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Invited Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, affiliated with Stanford University since 2013. I am leading "Quality of Life Technologies” reserach lab - in which we are assessing and leveraging behavioral markers to quantify QoL in new ways – drawing on new emerging models from Computer Science incorporating examination of daily life as an “organ” – much like a cardiologist examines heart.
Specifically, we researcher how emerging sensor/actuator-based mobile and wearable technologies can be leveraged for a personalized assessment of the individual’s behavior and QoL, as they unfold naturally over time and in context, and improvement of the latter.
To date, we have been researching ways of assessing and modelling of individual’s mobility, physical activity, public transportation usage, sleep quality and quantity, as well as physical safety and security (via an intimacy perception), stress and productivity patterns. My research have appeared in more than 100 to date peer reviewed proceedings and journals in computer science, human-computer interaction and health informatics. I am is a (co)-PI in several European and Swiss National Science Foundation projects and in two Stanford Medicine projects. I contribute to ITU European Regional Initiative for mHealth. In 2015 I was a TEDMED Research Scholar. I am also a Senior Member of ACM and IEEE.

 

What initially attracted you to the field of quality-of-life studies?

For over 15 years so far I have been truly passionate about technology and its potential to enable us to become better human beings, striving for improvement of the quality of life for ourselves, our loved ones and societies at large. Science is since then a tool enabling me to describe and understand the world around me and to realize this potential. Quality of Life studies come along my research journey and help me to progress my research, as well as disseminate it to other scientists.

 

What are some areas of quality-of-life studies you feel are lacking attention? Any advice for future QoL researchers?

Ambulatory assessment is definitely lacking attention at the moment and I contribute to its development. Ambulatory assessment enables an assessment of the individual’s behavior and QoL outside of the typical “lab” settings (where life happens!) and can be a source of valuable data for the QoL researchers. Methodological approaches that assure the quality of the data and the validity of the results are needed (including the results reproducibility).

 

How long have you been a member of ISQOLS?

Since 2016

 

Why did you choose to be a member of ISQOLS?

It was a pure coincidence to become a ISQOLS member! One afternoon I have just searched conferences in the QOL area, since I have got some time to start expanding beyond my usual community of computer science (IEEE, ACM). I stumbled upon ISQOLS and got immediately involved.

How has your involvement in ISQOLS impacted your career/research/advancement in your knowledge of QoL studies?

I have learned a lot since I have joined the community and there is still much I have to learn. I have specifically benefited from the perspective of the scientific methodologies leveraged in the ISQOLS studies. Namely, the QoL field leverages so far mostly the qualitative data, while I leverage the quantitative one. The real progress happens when both can be accurately and timely leveraged and provide view on the same QoL-related phenomena from different perspectives.

I would welcome the members of the ISQOLS to contact me for any “technology" - related questions; i am becoming a “Digital QoL” expert.

Video highlight of my lab: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S734KYwBq7k&feature=youtu.be

Website: www.qol.unige.ch

 

Katarzyna can be reached at: katarzyna.wac@unige.ch