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New Faculty Spotlight: Statistics Professor Vladimir Minin is Pleased to Join Growing Community

Vladimir Minin, Professor of Statistics, joined the ICS faculty in July 2017.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I grew up in Odesa — a beautiful Ukrainian coastal city. After finishing my undergraduate degree in mathematics at Odessa National University, I attended a master’s degree program at the University of Idaho. There I found wonderful mentors: Professors Paul Joyce and Steve Krone, who got me hooked on mathematical biology and statistical genetics. I went to UCLA for its biomathematics Ph.D. program to pursue studying these subjects further. My Ph.D. adviser, Professor Marc Suchard, introduced me to Bayesian statistics and infectious disease epidemiology. Both of these subjects still excite me, and Marc is still is one of my favorite collaborators. After finishing my Ph.D., I spent 10 amazing years at the University of Washington, Seattle. My main appointments were in the statistics and biology departments, but I was also affiliated with the biostatistics department and the Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management program.


Q: What brought you to UCI?

Although I loved my time in Seattle, deciding to move to UCI was easy! I was a friend and fan of UCI statistics for many years, so I knew all about the great environment here. Joining a still actively growing statistical community had a special appeal to me. I am excited to be able to help further grow the Department of Statistics’ presence on campus in the years to come.


Q: What courses will you be teaching?

In the winter, I will be teaching a class on statistical methods for infectious diseases, a special topics course for graduate students. In the spring, I will be teaching Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Computer Scientists.


Q: Your research seems to apply to many different fields. How do you foster collaboration?

No matter how little time I have, I try to go to seminars outside of my department. I usually find collaborators during these excursions.


Q: What do you like best about UCI?

I love that all the people I have met so far are collegial and very approachable. Having spent only a couple of months in the School of ICS, I can already see advantages of being in a small school with only three departments: there are fewer administrative hurdles than in a big school/college, and communication between administration and faculty is much more effective.


Q: What do you do in your spare time?

I enjoy biking, especially with my daughter. I also like urban hiking with my wife — we love looking for cozy coffee shops and bookstores.


Q: Is there a book you wish everyone would read?

I recommend Statistics on the Table: The History of Statistical Concepts and Methods by Stephen Stigler (Harvard University Press, 2002). The book is not overly technical. It offers a nice collection of stories about small and big successes of statistical thinking in natural sciences.