Judit Mokos

Judit Mokos


Evolutionary and Theoretical Biologist | Data Scientist



Who am I?

I'm Judit, a theoretical and evolutionary biologist focusing on behaviour. I wanna save the world and solve the climate crisis! My latest work was about why I won't succeed but still can be optimistic. My work includes studying 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; how our lives changed living in big-scale societies; and how our relationship (with humans and pets) makes us happy (or not). I'm interested in all types of cooperation and well-being and my current work includes a little bit of everything:  corruption, climate crisis, helpfulness in our changing world, online social interactions, owner-pet relationship, and human well-being

As a data scientist (I'm an R-magician), I work as a consultant for small companies and other research groups. I had the chance to work together with medical doctors, psychologists, economists, and many others. I love the multidisciplinary environment, working on interdisciplinary projects. 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, and happy to give botanical fun facts anytime), 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, and epidemiological patterns of flue and coronaviruses. 

When I'm not doing science, I'm a guide in the Botanical Garden of Budapest, 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 bachelor's 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's stories (Moomins!). I also publish short stories, mainly about topics which can not be reach by science yet (unfortunately only in my native language which is not English). My latest piece is on how using generative AI interfere with our communication with loved ones. 

I'm also interested in how to create a better research environment. In 2019 I started a pet-project on how the Q&A section works, which 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 (which 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, Data Scientist, Ethology Department of Eotvos Lorand University, 2023-
    • Does owning a pet make you happy and healthy? How social relationships (friends, partner, child, family, pets) makes you happy and healthy? 
    • PI Eniko Kubinyi
  • Data Scientist - I work for companies, research groups, journalist and civil organisations. 2016-

I worked on

  • Researcher, Data Scientist, National Laboratory for Health Security, 2022-2023
    • Epidemic patterns of flu and coronaviruses. Long-term immunological effects of Covid.
    • PI: Viktor Müller
  • PhD, Evolutionary and Theoretical Biology, Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary, 2015-2024
    • Topics: Human behavioural evolution, altruism, cooperation, biostatistics, data science
    • Supervisor: Istvan Scheuring

I learnt already

  • PhD, Evolutionary and Theoretical Biology,  Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary, 2015-2024
    • Thesis: Human altruism in a real-life situation 
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

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, 2016-2024
  • teaching research methodology for undergrads in English, Eötvös University, Hungary, 2019 - 2024
  • teaching advanced R programming for graduate students, Eötvös University, Hungary, 2019 - 2024
  • teaching research methodology, evolutionary biology and science communication for high school students in English, Engame Academy, Hungary, 2019 - 
  • guide at the Botanical Garden of Budapest, holding workshops 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, Power BI,  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
    • network analysis
    • and so on
  • data visualization
  • web scraping
  • research methodology
  • science communication
  • teaching
  • team building
  • I have extended knowledge in ecology, evolutionary biology, behavioural biology, and cognitive psychology. 
  • I worked on research project about human cooperation, altruism, human psychological well-being, social media usage, climate games, and sexual selection, therefore I have detailed knowledge on these topics.

I like to do

My current projects

  • does owning a pet makes you happy and healthy?
  • do people tend to be more corrupt if they have an altruistic good excuse?  - Corruption in the lab - this is pre-registrated study.
  • can we solve the climate crises knowing there are riches and poors? - A highly competitive climate game - this is a pre-registrated study
  • why do humans like to help strangers? 
  • does your childhood experiences in societal variables influences your cooperativity in a dictator game? - this is a pre-registrated study
  • how we can make humans even more cooperative? 
  • how to lower bullying behaviour in online communication? - this is a pre-registrated study
  • how we could solve the climate crisis? 
  • academic diversity and innovation

I teach at ELTE: 

  • Research methodology for biologists (2019-2024)
  • Advanced R for biologists (2021-2024)
  • Biostatistics (2015-2022)

I teach at Engame:

  • Evolutionary Biology: Giraffes are real but unicorns are not? 
  • How curiosity turns into scientific knowledge - Research Methodology
  • How to tell your granny about science - Science communication
  • Are you smarter than an octopus - Cognition and Intelligence

If you are looking for a supervisor

The projects I offer could be interesting for students learning biology, psychology or social sciences and interested in human behaviour. 
  • Human altruism. for example: why and how we help strangers
  • Human cooperation. for example: how we cooperate on a large scale
  • Pet-keeping and well-being. for example: does owning a pet makes you happy and healthy
  • 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

If you are interested, email me!

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
  • I'm a volunteer at a Serious Fun Camp. I wrote my phd about the other volunteers.
  • 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
  • Students who work/worked under my supervison:
    • Sz. M. (MSc, 2022) The effect of double anonymized peer review on the diversity of authors in biological journals
    • M. V. (MSc, in progress) Diversity and innovation in academic life
    • M. Gy. (MSc, in progress) Cooperation and sociopolitics - How early life experience of sociopolitical variables effect adult cooperation in world-wide
    • A. B. (MSc, in progress) Epidemic caused mortality patterns in historical data
    • S. L. (Msc, in progress) Does societal variables predict altruism? 

I can speak

  • English
  • Hungarian
  • Spanish