Shixiao Zhang, Pierre Robillard Award 2020
This prize recognizes the best PhD thesis in probability or statistics defended at a Canadian university in a given year.
Shixiao Zhang is the winner of the Pierre Robillard Award of the Statistical Society of Canada. Shixiao’s thesis, entitled “Multiply Robust Empirical Likelihood Inference for Missing Data and Causal Inference Problems”, was written while he was a doctoral student in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo working under the supervision of Peisong Han and Changbao Wu. This prize recognizes the best PhD thesis in probability or statistics defended at a Canadian university in a given year.
Currently Shixiao is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, having completed his PhD studies in July 2019. He has a BSc in Statistics and Mathematics from the University of Hong Kong (2014) and an MA in Statistics from York University (2015).
Shixiao’s research interests are broadly focused on missing data, causal inference and personalized medicine. His PhD and postdoctoral studies focused on the application of important techniques such as empirical likelihood and calibration methods to improve estimation efficiency and robustness against possible model mis-specification. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center he is developing individualized treatment rules (ITRs) using statistical learning techniques such as support vector machines. Shixiao is focused on finding the optimal treatment recommendation that maximizes treatment benefit for patients based on their individual characteristics.
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.
The citation for the award reads:
"To Shixiao Zhang, for the thesis entitled “Multiply Robust Empirical Likelihood Inference for Missing Data and Causal Inference Problems".
This article was written by Juli Atherton.