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MedEngine Warmly Welcomes: Maria Guzman Castillo


Over the course of the year, we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming more talented people to our teams. Let us introduce you to Maria Guzman Castillo, who recently joined the Medical Data Science Team.

Maria is open, warm, and honest. She possesses a unique ability to influence people’s moods positively. Despite her occasional silliness, she has a keen sense of justice. Maria says she’s great at making others comfortable and accommodating their needs.

“My parents are both medical doctors, and it was somewhat expected that I would continue on the same path, as I always found it quite interesting and cool. However, as I grew up, I discovered I had quite an analytical mind and realized I couldn’t bear the weight of having people’s lives in my hands,” Maria recalls. “Back when I was a teenager in Mexico, there was little guidance on the wide variety of degrees one could study, so I ended up pursuing Industrial Engineering. In retrospect, I think I would have been happier with applied statistics or epidemiology. However, it was still a great choice since it expanded my options in a wide range of analytical areas. I graduated in Industrial Engineering from Anahuac University in Mexico. Within a year, I left my country for the first time ever to pursue a Master’s and PhD in Operational Research at the University of Southampton in the UK.”

Creating models that predict the future is incredibly cool to me.” 

From early on, Maria says she’s been drawn to statistical and simulation models. “My interest in healthcare began during my master’s, and my PhD delved into machine learning models to predict patient length of stay. My first position after my PhD was at the University of Liverpool. Liverpool was such a cool place to live, with a fascinating history. This historical backdrop greatly influenced the city, the university, and particularly the Public Health Department at the university, where I was based, cultivating a strong commitment to understanding the effect of inequality on health. It is there where I heard for the first time: ‘Equality: nothing more and nothing less,’” Maria proudly recalls.

After 12 years in the UK, Maria decided to move to Finland. “I was very lucky to find a new position at the University of Helsinki Center for Social Inequalities in Population Health before joining MedEngine. Both at the University of Liverpool and the University of Helsinki, I had the opportunity to expand my expertise into public health, health inequalities, and epidemiology. Creating models that predict the future is incredibly cool to me. I’m a numbers person, and I am passionate about unraveling patterns from data. I have a genuine passion for working with data and statistics, finding joy in exploring datasets, conducting statistical analyses, and deriving meaningful conclusions.”

The team continues to be amazing, and I was seriously impressed by the level of expertise.” 

“Contributing positively to society is crucial for me. I need to feel that my research matters, that it could make a difference for someone, somewhere. This is why I also chose health as an application area for my quantitative expertise. Because health is perhaps the area where my research can have the greatest impact. After all, health is an intrinsic human right.”

Maria tells us the positive vibes and kindness from everyone during the recruitment process sealed the deal for her at MedEngine. “The team continues to be amazing, and I was seriously impressed by the level of expertise in the team. I am one of those people who believe that being surrounded by people smarter than you is a blessing. I’m sure I will have so much to learn from my new colleagues!” she exclaims.

Mountains are my happy place.” ⛰️

Outside of work, Maria loves dancing. “Associated with dancing, I love listening to music, and I have the ability to completely immerse myself in live music. I used to attend music festivals, camping included, every year when I was living in the UK. Now my husband and I try to go at least one day to the Sideways festival in Helsinki during the summer,” she says.

Maria has been an avid reader since she was 11 years old. “Mountains are my happy place, and being in nature is the absolute best. I love walking and hiking, and fortunately, my husband, as a forester, shares my love for the outdoors. Being surrounded by nature is definitely a big reason why we have decided to settle in Finland. We have a couple of walking holidays on our bucket list as a family!” Maria exclaims.

Maria loves and feels very proud of Mexican cuisine. And she should, as traditional Mexican cuisine has been recognized even by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage. “Still, my favorite cuisine is Lebanese. I hope my grandmother is not reading this. Love you, granny, your ‘guava atole’ is the best!” she laughs.

Great to have you and your energy among us, Maria—a warm welcome!

Klaus Elfving

Klaus Elfving

Klaus Elfving is MedEngine's Digital Content Lead.