Judit Mokos

Judit Mokos


Evolutionary and Theoretical Biologist | Data Scientist



Who am I?

I'm Judit a theoretical and evolutionary biologist. I wanna save the world and solve the climate crisis! My PhD work was about why I won't succeed: I studied why humans are supercooperative in certain situations, but not in others; why we are happy to help a stranger, but not that helpful when it comes to big-scale problems, like climate crisis. I'm interested in all type of cooperation and my current work includes a little bit of everything: online donating, corruption, everyday helpfulness and online social interactions. I recently started to work in epidemiology. 

As a data scientist (I'm an R-magician), I work for small companies and other research groups. Because of this, I had the chance to work together with medical doctors, psychologists, economists, and many others. I love interdisciplinary environment. These methodological adventures facilitated many academic cooperations as well. 

Before becoming a theoretical and evolutionary biologist, I worked as a field botanist (I still love plants, I could give you a fun fact about any plant), I worked in a family service with special needy kids (ask me about gamification), I studied sex roles evolution (like why penguins are better fathers than peacocks), and I investigated the evolution of HIV. 

When I'm not doing science, I'm a guide in the Botanical Garden of my uni, I work on a gamification project about teaching evolution, do science communication (for example we put together a webpage about covid-19 that explains everything to a layperson, unfortunately it's only available in Hungarian, and wrote a book about how science works and what you should know about epidemics), and show the wonderful world of biology to high school student at Engame.

I love books, my very favourite topic to talk about is books that explore our world as science can not do it (have you read Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu? wanna talk about Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro?). If you want to make me happy, recommend me more books. My first degree is in teaching biology and  literature, and even though I don't teach in high school anymore, I still love everything related to literature, narrative, storytelling, and especially children stories (Moomins!). I collect modern children stories about magical realism, and I'm interested in how magic is represented in children's minds, and I also write short stories, mainly about children (unfortunatly only in my native language that is not English).

I'm also interested in how to create a better research environment. In 2019 I started a petproject on how Q+A section works, that escalated to a bigger project about how young researchers and females could be encouraged to ask Qs in the Q+A sections, and could be overall more visible. I think our built and social environment has a huge impact on doing research and innovation, and a good environment could trigger group work (group work is the best type of work). My work motto: great ideas don't come from the table you work, but from the table you have a drink with the others.

Currently I do

  • Researcher, National Laboratory for Health Security, 2022-
    • PI: Viktor Müller
  • PhD, Evolutionary and Theoretical Biology, Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary, 2015-
    • Topics: Human behavioural evolution, altruism, cooperation, biostatistics, data science
    • Supervisor: Istvan Scheuring
  • Data Scientist - I work for companies, research groups, journalist and civil organisations. 2016-

I learnt already

  • Bsc, Biology-Literature Teacher, Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary, 2010-2013
    • Thesis: Evolution of HIV’s virulence
    • Topics: informal learning, science communication, the evolution of viruses, magic realism in contemporary youth novels
  • Msc, Ecology-, Evolutionary and Conservation Biology, Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary, 2013-2015
    • Thesis: The evolutionary aspects and motivations of human altruism
    • Topics: human behavior, human evolution, human cooperation, animal cooperation, biostatistics
  • Biologist trainee, University of Bath, Milne Centre for Evolution, UK, 2017
    • Topic: Sex roles and sexual selection: testing an evolutionary hypothesis
    • Biostatistics, comparative methods, meta-analyses, behaviour ecology, phylogeny-based statistical methods, path analysis, linear models
  • GLM2017VPA: GLM for Evolutionary Ecologist, France, 2017
  • Popular Science Video Workshop, Hungary, 2018
  • High-Dimensional Data Analysis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Lund, Sweden, 2018
  • Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute, St Andrews, Scotland, 2019
  • Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute, Virtual, 2020

I have experiences

  • helping as a data scientist for several scientific programs and civil organizations. 2017-
  • holding workshops about data science and R 2017-
  • teaching biostatistics and R programming for undergrads, Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary, 2016-
  • teaching research methodology for undergrads in English, Eötvös University, Hungary, 2019 -
  • teaching advanced R programming for graduate students, Eötvös University, Hungary, 2019 -
  • teaching research methodology, evolutionary biology and science communication for high school students in English, Engame Academy, Hungary, 2019 - 
  • plant Ecologist, Field Surveyor, Danube-Ipoly National Park, Hungary, 2015
  • Volunteer-Program Coordinator, Jaffe Family Service, 2010-2017

I can do

  • statistical softwares: R, SPSS, Jamovi, you name it. 
  • any statistical methods that a psychologist, ecologist or economist would need, for example:
    • Basic statistical methods (for example t-tests, F-tests, One-way and Multiway ANOVA, correlations, simple and multiple linear regressions, Chi-square tests, non-parametric tests, etc)
    • Comparative methods
    • Phylogeny-based methods (for example Phylogenetic Generalized Least Squares, Phylogenetic Path Analysis)
    • Meta-analytical methods
    • General Linear Models, Linear Mixed Models, General Linear Mixed Models, etc
    • Receiver Operating Characteristic curve analysis
    • High-Dimensional Data Analysis
    • and so on
  • data visualization
  • web scraping
  • research methodology
  • science communication
  • teaching
  • I have extended knowledge in ecology, evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology. 
  • I worked on research project about human cooperation, social media usage, and sexual selection, therefore I have detailed knowledge on these topics.

I like to do

My current projects

  • why do humans like to help strangers? 
  • how we can make humans even more cooperative? 
  • how smartphone using affect our cognitive ability? 
  • how do humans decide to be corrupt or honest? 
  • why humans like telling and listening to stories? 
  • how we could solve the climate crisis? 
  • HIV, COVID epidemiology

I teach at ELTE: 

  • Research methodology for biologists (2019-recent)
  • Advanced R for biologists (2021-recent)
  • Biostatistics (2015-2022)

If you are looking for a supervisor

The projects I offer could be interesting for students learning biology, psychology or social sciences. 
  • Human altruism. for example: why and how we help strangers
  • Human cooperation. for example: how we cooperate on a large scale
  • Online communication. for example: how somebody becomes an internet troll, and how cyberbullying could be prevented
  • Diversity in the scientific world. for example: how gender, age, background and workplace affects the way researches behave. how diversity increases the performance of a research group
  • Science communication. gamefication, informal teaching, online teaching, teaching adults. fore example: how to teach evolution to adults
  • Epidemiology (HIV, COVID). for example: is it monetary worth to prevent the HIV epidemic, who the flue should be treated nation wide

Popular science 

I wrote it:

It was written about me:

  • Magyar kutatók adatai szerint a valóság csak részben igazolja a sejtszintű szexuális szelekcióról szóló evolúciós elméletet. Qubit.hu
  • Magyar kutatók javították ki Charles Darwin szexuális szelekciós elméletét. Index.hu

Hardcore science

I am proud ​of

  • our paper is cited on wikipedia
  • our Covid FAQ webpage was recommended by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as a trusful information source for laypeople
  • ambassador of Researchers' Night in Hungary, 2018, 2019
  • LifeScience Elevator Speech Festival, 2016, 1st place
  • FameLab Hungary, 2017, finalist

I can speak

  • Hungarian
  • English
  • Spanish