Professors Simonsen and Zhu Earn Promotions in 2006

July,  2006

Congratulations to Professors Katy Simonsen and Michael Zhu on their recent promotions to Associate Professors. Their positions were effective July 1, 2006.

Professor Katy Simonsen Professor Simonsen received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1996. She entered the Department of Statistics in 1998 after completing a Post-Doctoral program at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.

Professor Simonsen's research is at the interface of statistics, genetics, applied probability, mathematical modeling, and scientific computation. The major objective of Professor Simonsen's multidisciplinary research is to understand and include the forces which contribute to genetic variability in natural populations, and the consequences of that variability on future natural populations and our ability to interpret data from present-day organisms. Natural populations of organisms such as humans are produced by naturally occurring matings without experimental intervention. Understanding the way DNA sequences vary among organisms is essential to our ability to detect and locate genes for specific traits and diseases. The impact of this can be felt in highly prevalent complex diseases such as diabetes and mental illness, and in disease management strategies such as pharmacogenomics. Phenomena such as natural selection, genetic recombination, population structure, mutation, and random genetic drift are examples of major forces that interact to create, maintain, and eliminate genetic variability. Professor Simonsen's research is centered on developing novel mathematical and computational models of such phenomena, and she uses these models to construct reliable procedures for estimating parameters and testing hypotheses about genes, traits, organisms, and their natural history.

Professor Simonsen won the Teaching for Tomorrow Award in 2002 and the College of Science Faculty Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Teaching by an Assistant Professor in 2004.

Professor Michael Zhu Professor Zhu entered the Department of Statistics in 2000 after receiving his Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Michigan.

His research interests are Design and Analysis of Experiments; High Dimensional Data Analysis and Data Mining; Privacy Preserving Data Mining; Nonparametric and Semiparametric Regression; and Statistical Computing. Recent publications include: Privacy Preserving Data Mining, Advances in Information Security Vol. 19, Springer-Verlag, 2005, written with J. Vaidya and C. Clifton; Fourier Methods for Estimating the Central Subspace and the Central Mean Subspace in Regression, to appear in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, written with P. Zeng; and Optimal Compound Orthogonal Arrays and Single Arrays for Robust Parameter Design Experiments, to appear in Technometrics, written with P. Zeng and K. Jennings.

Professor Zhu won the Teaching for Tomorrow Award in 2005.