2021 News

Professor Karen McKinnon named as a 2021 Packard Fellow for Science and Engineering

Professor Karen McKinnon was named as a 2021 Packard Fellow for Science and Engineering. This year’s class features 20 innovative early-career scientists and engineers, who will each receive $875,000 over five years to pursue their research. Professor McKinnon uses the tools of climate dynamics, statistics, and machine learning to describe, understand, and predict climate variability with the goal of reducing uncertainty about the future climate.

You can read more, and meet the other Packard Fellows, at this link.

Please join me congratulating Professor McKinnon for receiving the prestigious Packard Fellowship.

Arash Amini and Chad Hazlett have both been promoted to Associate Professor!

Arash’s research is primarily in statistical machine learning, in particular, inference on network data, high-dimensional statistics, graphical models and convex optimization.

Chad has joint appointments in the Department of Statistics and the Department of Political Science. His work in statistics focuses on causal inference and machine learning methods.

Both promotions are effective July 1, 2021 and come with tenure. Please congratulate Arash and Chad for their tenure promotions.

Master of Applied Statistics (MAS) program alumnus – Greg Eastman has been recognized for his contribution in the 2021 Latino Donor Collaboration (LDC) Media Report!

Greg was commended for his “invaluable participation and methodology” and his “knowledge, time, and creativity to design the best system” as quoted by (our MAS Industry partner), the LDC Inc.’s Executive President, Ana Valdez. You can find the 2021 LDC Media Report on this webpage.

Professor Karen McKinnon published a paper in Nature Climate Change

Professor Karen McKinnon published a paper in Nature Climate Change last week, Hot extremes have become drier in the United States Southwest, identifying an unexpected decrease in summertime specific humidity on the hottest days in the US Southwest over the past 70 years, and particularly since 2000. Her findings indicate that the primary source of atmospheric moisture on hot days is soil moisture, so the observed decrease in humidity is a consequence of the ongoing drought. The results are, unfortunately, bad news for wildfire risk in the region, since a dry atmosphere both desiccates the vegetation and can cause more rapid wildfire spread. The work has been covered in the LATimes and NYTimes.

Statistics faculty Rob Gould debates on NISS panel the importance of K-12 statistics and data science education

This debate happened on May 19, 2021. More details as well as a recording of it are available at this link.

In Memoriam: Professor Janice Reiff, a joint faculty member in our department and in History, died unexpectedly on May 4, 2021

In Memoriam: Professor Janice Reiff, a joint faculty member in our department and in History, died unexpectedly on May 4, 2021. She was active across UCLA, widely known, and will be deeply missed. More details about her are available here.

Congratulations to Professor Jingyi Jessica Li who received the MIT Technology Review’s “Innovators Under 35 Award”!

Professor Jingyi Jessica Li has received the MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 Award. The award cites her outstanding contributions for improving the scientificity and transparency of data analysis, including the Central Dogma. The Central Dogma refers to the process of DNA making mRNAs and mRNAs making proteins, one of the most fundamental principles in modern biological sciences. More details are available here.

The MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 is an annual list that recognizes outstanding innovators who are younger than 35. The awards span a wide range of fields, including biotechnology, materials, computer hardware, energy, transportation, communications, and the Internet.

Recognition by MIT Technology Review gives these young people a platform to present themselves and their achievements to industry leaders, academic experts, and the global public. Each year, brilliant men and women are recognized for their advancements in diverse technical fields including biotechnology and medicine, computer and electronics hardware, software, internet, artificial intelligence, robotics, telecommunications, nanotechnology and materials, energy, and transportation.

Congratulations to Professor Jingyi Jessica Li for winning this prestigious award!

Congratulations to Professor Kenneth Lange who has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences

Professor Kenneth Lange has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.  Professor Lange is the Rosenfeld Professor of Computational Genetics, Professor of Computational Medicine, Human Genetics and Statistics.

Professor Lange has written four advanced textbooks and published more than 200 scientific papers in the areas of genetic epidemiology, population genetics, membrane physiology, demography, oncology, medical imaging, stochastic processes and optimization theory. Many of his landmark papers predate by a decade or more the current flood of biological applications of hidden Markov chains, Markov chain Monte Carlo and high-dimensional optimization, which are used to analyze patterns in data and can have predictive value.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that provides scientific advice to the federal government and other organizations. Professor Lange is the only UCLA faculty member elected to the National Academy of Sciences this year.  UCLA now has 55 faculty members in the academy according to UCLA Newsroom (April 30, 2021).

Congratulations to Professor Kenneth Lange on this distinguished honor! More details are available at this UCLA Newsroom link.

Congratulations to Heather Zhou, who has been awarded an iDISCOVER Predoctoral Fellowship!

The UCLA Integrated Data Science Training in Cardiovascular Medicine (iDISCOVER) Program supports graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who seek training at the intersection of data science and cardiovascular (CV) medicine.

Heather’s current research project investigates the validity of approaches to account for hidden factors in expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) studies. The iDISCOVER Program will be a great opportunity for her to examine the implications of her research on cardiovascular data science applications.

More information about the fellowship is available at this link.

Ph.D. Alumnus Jake Porway is Interviewed in Amstat News

Our Ph.D. alumnus, Jake Porway, host of National Geographic’s show “The Numbers Game“, was interviewed for Amstat News in December 2020. Please see the details of this interview at this link.