New Faculty: Nhat Ho, Vagheesh Narasimhan, and Layla Guyot

September 23, 2020 • by the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences

The Department of Statistics and Data Sciences is pleased to welcome three new faculty members.

Nhat Ho joins the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences as a tenure track assistant professor. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department under professor Michael I. Jordan and professor Martin J. Wainwright. His current research focuses on the interplay of four principles of statistics and data sciences: heterogeneity of data; interpretability of models; stability and scalability of optimization; and sampling algorithms. He obtained his Ph.D. in statistics at the University of Michigan.

"I am thrilled to join the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences,” said Ho. “UT Austin is a world-renowned university and top-notch in statistics, machine learning, and data science. Besides the university, Austin is a great place to live. The city is also on the verge of a tech boom and has exciting new research and collaboration opportunities in artificial intelligence."

Vagheesh Narasimhan joins The University of Texas at Austin as an assistant professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, holding joint appointments in the Department of Population Health and the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences. Narasimhan was previously a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School under David Reich and Nick Patterson. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematical Genomics and Medicine from the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. He is interested in problems at the intersection of genomics, computer science, and statistics.

“I was excited to come to UT because I saw the tremendous strides being made to be at the forefront of the data revolution,” said Narasimhan. “From being selected as one of the new NSF AI Institutes for Foundations of Machine Learning, to exciting industry-academia collaborations possible in the Austin area, one of the fastest growing technology hubs in the country, the university is well placed to drive methods development in data science. Similarly, the establishment of a new medical school at UT, the first in an R1 institution in 50 years, shows UT’s commitment to developing its research infrastructure in the health sciences—an application area that I am intimately involved with. At UT, I’m particularly looking forward to increasing these connections between the Statistics and Data Sciences department and Dell Medical School, and build a research program to harness the new era of data-driven biomedical science.”

Layla Guyot joins the UT Department of Statistics and Data Sciences after completing her Ph.D. at Texas State University. Her research focuses on designing courses and developing curriculum materials to promote authentic statistical practices and ease the transition to the workplace. She is teaching biostatistics and applied regression courses.

“Even before moving to Austin, I had been fascinated by UT, its reputation, and its research impact,” said Guyot. “I am very excited to join the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences in particular as I believe it is the perfect place for me to thrive as an instructor, statistician, and researcher in education.”

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