Thu 17th April 2014

Professor Rob Tibshirani's Recording on Mathtube

Rob Tibshirani’s April 10 Constance van Eeden talk is now available on mathtube: 
We thank PIMS for their contribution to this event, including filming and posting.  We also thank Dr van Eeden for her generous support of the talk, through the van Eeden Fund.

Thu 17th April 2014

Acadia-SFU-UBC Team Receives CANSSI Grant 2014 - 2017

The Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI) has awarded a Collaborative Research Team grant to the Acadia-SFU-UBC project "Statistical modeling of the world: Computer and physical models in earth, ocean, and atmospheric sciences".  The UBC component on atmospheric sciences involves Professors Will Welch in Statistics and Douw Steyn in the Department of Earth, Ocean, and  Atmospheric Sciences.  More details may be found at

Mon 14th April 2014

2013 Marshall Prize Winner - Camila de Souza

The Departmental Awards Committee is pleased to announce that the winner
of the 2013 Marshall Prize is Camila de Souza. Camila completed a PhD
thesis "Switching Non-Parametric Regression Models" under the supervision
of Nancy Heckman, and was active in Departmental academic affairs and other
research collaborations.

Congratulations to Camila!

The prize honours Professor Emeritus Albert Marshall for his scholarly
contributions and his role in establishing the Department of Statistics
at UBC.  It is awarded to statistics graduate students who have achieved
great distinction. 


Fri 11th April 2014

2013/14 Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award - Andy Leung

Andy Leung, PhD student, has received a 2013/14 Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for his valued contributions to the teaching and learning mission of UBC.  This is a very big honour - only 5 are awarded in all of the Faculty of Science.   Thank you, Andy, on behalf of the Department -  of the graduate students you have mentored, of the undergraduates in courses where you have had an impact, of the faculty with whom you have worked.

Congratulations to Andy!


Thu 10th April 2014

Robert Tibshirani, Constance van Eden Invited Speaker: Presentation April 10th, 2014 at 4pm (ESB 1013)

Robert Tibshirani is a Professor in the Departments of Statistics and Health Research and Policy
at Stanford University, internationally known for his work in data mining and applied statistics.  
He develops statistical tools and makes exceptional contributions to methodology and theory for 
the analysis of complex data sets, for smoothing and regression methodology, in statistical 
learning and classification, and in application areas that include public health, genomics, 
and proteomics.

His impact has spanned decades, from his thesis work on local likelihood estimation, to his 
development of and continuing work with his well-known LASSO method, which uses an L1 penalization 
in regression and related problems.  Another important contribution is his work on Significance 
Analysis of Microarrays. He has also co-authored three well-known books: "Generalized Additive 
Models", "An Introduction to the Bootstrap", and "The Elements of Statistical Learning”. The last 
book has become one of the classic texts in data mining. 

Prof. Tibshirani has received numerous honors and awards for his great contributions, including 
the 1996 COPSS Presidents' Award and 2012 Statisticial Society of Canada's Gold Medal. He is a 
Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, the American Statistical Association, and the 
Royal Society of Canada, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

This event is jointly supported by the Prof. Constance van Eeden Fund
Department of Statistics and PIMS 

Title and abstract of presentation can be found here.

Tue 8th April 2014

Case Studies in Statistics - PosterSession April 8th

Poster Session for STAT 450
When: April 8th, 9:30-11:30
Where: ESB Atrium
Poster 1: Home-Fortification with Micronutrient Powders (MNP) in Rwanda
Researcher: Kristina Michaux, Department of Human Nutrition
STAT450: Yung Ming Huang, Angela Cotton, Chuan Zhang, Hong Xuan Zhao.
STAT550: Jack Ni
Rwanda is a country with an extremely high burden of childhood malnutrition and a high prevalence of diarrhea. Home-Fortification is a process in which MNP can be added to home grown foods. The primary objective of this study is to investigate the impact of Home-Fortification with MNP on anemia, growth, and incidences of diarrhea in young children.
Poster 2: In imperial China, Who Was Living Long Lives?
Researcher: Robban A. J. Toleno, Dept. of Asian Studies
STAT450: Qing Wei Li, Kathy Ng, Kevin Zeng
STAT550: Huiting Ma
China is famous for narratives of Daoists who sought immortality and Buddhist monks who achieved notable longevity, but little has been done to test the rhetoric of longevity against strong statistical evidence. The aim of this study is to understand the role of lifestyle in longevity and reveal unknown longevity patterns spread over two millennia from over 27,000 individual records in Chinese history compiled in different databases.
Poster 3: Statistical Tool to Assess TA Grading Consistency
Researcher: Liane Chen, Ph.D. Departments of Zoology and Botany
STAT450: Cristiana Hrehorciuc, Zhen Huang, Haoyi Jiang
STAT550: Andres Sanchez-Ordonez
Large classes commonly have many teaching assistants (TAs) leading individual tutorials/labs, as well as grading for their own sections and the class as a whole. Maintaining grading consistency among all TAs is a major concern. The goal of this work is to establish a statistical tool to allow TAs and instructors to evaluate the consistency of course grading.
Poster 4: Predictors of anemia in Cambodian women of reproductive age
Researcher: Crystal Karakochuk, Department of Human Nutrition
STAT450: Derek Cho, Fangyu Di, Yi Terri Zhang
STAT550: Daniel Dinsdale
Anemia is common in Cambodian women and can lead to an increased risk of maternal and infant mortality. Potential causes of anemia include micronutrient deficiencies, inflammation, disease, and genetic hemoglobin disorders. The aim of this study is to investigate the major predictors of anemia in Cambodian women of reproductive age and to determine the magnitude of association between genetic hemoglobin disorders and anemia in this population.
Poster 5: The role of DNA structure in aging of cells
Researcher: Elisa York, Neuroscience
STAT450: HyunWoo Kim, Jonathan Luo, Mengping Tien
STAT550: Chiara di Gravio and Sean Jewell
Neuron death in Alzheimer’s disease may be amplified with the loss of microglia‘s protection.  Microglia, the immune cells of the central nervous system, become less functional as they age. Aging of cells throughout the body can be regulated by how tightly their DNA is stored. The goal of this study is to determine if compounds that loosen DNA are capable of restoring the ability of aged microglia to protect neurons.
Poster 6: Spruce Budworm Resistance in Douglas-Fir Trees
Researcher: Melissa H Mageroy, Plant biochemistry, Michael Smith Laboratories
STAT450: Nannan Wu, Wenyan Zhao, Ying Cui
STAT550: Neil Spencer
Chemical composition of spruce needles is known to be important in conferring resistance to defoliating (needle-eating) pests. Presence and absence of certain molecules can be the determining fact in whether a tree will be resistant or susceptible to  attack by a major defoliating pest, the spruce budworm. The goal of this project is to determine if needles of Douglas-Fir trees make a similar kind of compound that provides resistance to spruce budworm.
Poster 7: Effects of Visual Adaptation on the Sensitivity to Recognize Facial Expressions
Researcher: Dr. Ipek Oruc, Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
STAT450: Jonny Po Hong Tang, Tommy Po Chung Tang, Shengyi Zhu
STAT550: Yifang Zhang and Jinyuan Zhang
Recognition of different facial expressions is crucial for building and maintaining social interactions. The purpose of this research is to study the occurrence of an adaptation aftereffect, which is the observer’s improved ability to discriminate face expression after exposure to a preceding stimulus[NH1] . Moreover, we want to identify factors that affect the efficacy of the adaptation including demographic factors and the congruency of identity and expression between the test and adapting stimulus.

 [NH1]"known as" appeared to be modifying "stimulus"

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