Meet Our New Faculty

Irina Gaynanova

Assistant Professor of Statistics
Beginning July 1, 2015


MS        Statistics            Cornell University, May 2013
Ph.D.    Statistics            Cornell University, May 2015

My research interests are at the intersection of applied, computational and theoretical statistics. I believe that challenging applied problems give rise to better statistical methodology and my primary goal is to aid the discovery of scientifically meaningful low-dimensional structures in high-dimensional data. I believe that collaboration plays a key role in achieving this goal and I enjoy working with both domain scientists and methodological researchers.


My methodological interests are in the areas of multivariate analysis, machine learning and computational statistics. The classical multivariate analysis tools, which can be used for the analysis of variance (principal components), classification (discriminant analysis) or network recovery (canonical correlation), perform poorly when applied to modern datasets due to the presence of spurious correlations and over-selection of relevant features. I am interested in addressing these problems jointly in the high-dimensional settings by developing new statistical methodology that is both computationally efficient and theoretically sound. I have found that penalization techniques and the tools of convex optimization are particularly useful in achieving this goal.


I have worked on a variety of applied problems such as classification of leukemia patients based on DNA methylation profiles, control of false discovery rates in sample size calculations and study of antibiotic molecular actions based on the metabolic profiles.  My methodological work has been strongly motivated by these applied projects and I am looking forward to new collaborations in the future.

Xianyang Zhang

Assistant Professor of Statistics
Beginning August 1, 2015



B.S.       Statistics            University of Science and Technology of China, 2008
Ph.D.    Statistics            University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013

My research interests include high-dimensional statistics, functional data analysis, econometrics, time series analysis and spatial statistics. My current research focuses on developing new statistical inference procedures for large and complex data sets. In particular, I am working on simultaneous inference for high dimensional data with dependence, and nonparametric estimation and inference for big data.