Madeleine Bonsma-Fisher, a cycling activist and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto’s Data Sciences Institute, is using data analysis to study traffic patterns in Toronto. Her current research focuses on whether essential destinations such as grocery stores, healthcare, and schools can be reached by bike within 30 minutes using only bike lanes and traffic-calmed roads. Madeleine is working with advisers from the Institute to pinpoint locations where infrastructure could improve access to cycling as a comfortable and convenient mode of transportation, such as dedicated bike lanes and physical separation from car traffic. Madeleine’s turn toward sustainability-oriented research around cycling came naturally while living in Toronto, as she commuted to campus on her bike.
Madeleine completed her masters and doctoral studies in the Department of Physics working with Prof. Sidhartha Goyal. As part of her PhD research, Madeleine built a simple mathematical model to explore how computer-simulated interactions between populations of bacteria and viruses shape the immune systems of bacteria. Down the road, Madeleine says the model could contribute to our understanding of immunity in more complex organisms, including humans. The common thread between her current research and her doctoral research is data analysis, which has given her the freedom to explore whatever interests her.