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Living in the era of big data, I’m glad to see more and more people starting to appreciate the significant role of statistics.”

Statistics, Machine Learning and Biology

Professor Shen works on general problems in statistics and machine learning, including, Bayesian models, nonparametric methods and biostatistics. “I focus on applications in biology, neuroscience, clinical trials, environmental and social studies,” he says. For example, he has collaborated with biologists and physicians to help develop new therapeutic options to treat heart diseases and to better predict the risk of developing liver cancer using information from biomarkers and other patient information.

Sports Analytics

Professor Shen is also exploring applications in sports analytics. “Recently, I have been working on developing new learning methods for analyzing data from sports games,” he says. In one project, he and his collaborators have developed a new Bayesian nonparametric clustering approach for analyzing the shot selection pattern data of NBA basketball players.

Bridging the Gap

Overall, Professor Shen’s goal is to promote the appropriate use of meaningful statistical methods in the world of science, thereby bridging the gap between theory and practice of data science. By promoting collaborations between mathematicians and statisticians and other domain experts, he works to develop flexible, efficient and robust statistical methods for modeling complex data. “A good model can be generalized to address other problems — that’s the beauty of statistics,” he says. “It lets you play in everyone’s backyard.”


Ph.D., North Carolina State University, 2013


Research Areas

View Bayesian Statistics

Bayesian Statistics

A probabilistic framework that integrates prior knowledge with new data to update and refine probability …

View Biostatistics


The application of statistical methods to analyze and interpret data in the fields of biology …

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