Liqun Diao, Pierre Robillard Award 2014

 Liqun Diao
Pierre Robillard Award
University of Waterloo

Thesis Advisor: 

Richard Cook

Thesis Topic: 

“Copula Models for Multi-type Life History Processes.”

Liqun Diao is the winner of the 2013 Pierre Robillard Award of the Statistical Society of Canada. This prize recognizes the best PhD thesis in probability or statistics defended at a Canadian university in a given year.

Liqun’s thesis is entitled “Copula Models for Multi-type Life History Processes.”It was written at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Richard Cook.

Liqun’s PhD work focused on the modeling and analysis of multifaceted life history processes. Liqun was devoted to developing innovative statistical models that have appealing marginal properties and convenient parameterizations of association. She tackled different statistical issues in the field of life history analysis including marked point processes, multiple multistate processes and bivariate survival data under right-censored or current status observation schemes. The techniques used to handle the complex dependence structures have a common theme in which multivariate density decomposition and dependence structure are modeled through copula functions. Robust estimation and model misspecification are also part of an underlying theme of this research.
Liqun was born in Jilin, China. She received her Bachelor of Economics in Statistics from the Renmin University of China in 2007. After completing her Master of Mathematics in Statistics - Biostatistics at the University of Waterloo in 2009, Liqun stayed on to join the doctoral program and defended her PhD thesis in August 2013. Liqun is currently working as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology at the University of Rochester. Her postdoctoral work is to develop novel statistical methods for building, selecting and evaluating clinically relevant risk indices using recursive partitioning methods and other techniques from machine learning.
The criteria used in selecting the winner of the Pierre Robillard Award include the originality of ideas and techniques, the possible applications and their treatment, and the potential impact of the work. The award is named in memory of Professor Pierre Robillard, an outstanding dynamic young statistician at the Université de Montréal, whose untimely death in 1975 cut short what promised to be a highly distinguished career.

Liqun Diao will present the results of her thesis in a special session at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada to be held in Toronto, Ontario, May 25 to 28, 2014.