Quantitative Initiative

Duke has launched a Quantitative Initiative to build strength broadly in quantitative science and to establish Duke as an internationally recognized center of excellence in the methods and applications of quantitative science. The initiative seeks to expand faculty in Trinity College departments and to increase collaboration between those departments and Duke’s School of Medicine and the Pratt School of Engineering. The hiring effort is led by Vice Provost for Research Larry Carin and Dan Kiehart, dean of the Natural Sciences in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences.

New Faculty

Nicolas Brunel

Professor of Physics & Neurobiology

Nicolas Brunel, Duke University Professor of Physics & NeurobiologyBrunel holds a Ph.D. PhD from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris and came to Duke from the University of Chicago. His computational neuroscience research uses theoretical tools from applied mathematics and statistical physics to understand the dynamics of neural systems, and how they encode and store information. His research efforts have been focused on the single synaptic level, with the development of a new synaptic plasticity model that captures a large body of experimental data; and on the single neuron level, with the mathematical analysis of the stochastic dynamics of a large range of simplified spiking neuron models, and the development of a new spiking neuron model (the EIF model) that captures accurately spiking generation dynamics of real neurons. At the network level, Brunel’s research group has developed tools for analyzing network states with irregular single neuron activity, and investigated the mechanisms of synchronized oscillations in randomly connected networks. He has studied information storage in large networks of neurons, and shown that an information optimization principle can explain many experimentally observed features of synaptic connectivity. His work has been applied to understand phenomena such as persistent activity seen in delayed response experiments in behaving monkeys, as well as oscillations in various systems such as monkey V1 or rodent cerebellum.

Xiuyuan Cheng

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Chen holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University in applied and computational mathematics and comes to Duke from Yale University following a postdoc in the Departement d’Informatique from École Normale Supérieure, France. Chen’s dissertation focused on random matrices in high-dimensional data analysis and neural networks.

David Carlson

Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Carlson holds a Ph.D. from Duke University in electrical and computer engineering and conducted a postdoc in the Data Science Institute and Department of Statistics at Columbia University. Carlson’s work in machine focuses on neuroscience, where novel devices cancollect data orders of magnitude larger than current measurement technologies. He is developing machine learning approaches that can adapt to this complexity to give state-of-the-art predictions. In addition to predictive performance, he is interested in applying interpretable methods to neurological disorders in order to enable design of medical interventions.

Amy Goldberg

Assistant Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology (2018 start)

Goldberg specializes in populations genetics and will earn her Ph.D. in 2017 from Stanford University and join Duke in 2018. Both a population geneticist and anthropologist by training, I study the population biology of humans and related species. She develops methods to study population histories and dynamics, integrating techniques from population genetics, ecology, and archeology. Additionally, she is interested in the genetic signatures of sex-specific processes on the autosomes and X chromosome, including mutation, recombination, and admixture. Her dissertation focused on methods for the study of temporary varying populations histories. She has already been published in Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

Amy Herring

Professor of Statistics

Herring earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University and comes to Duke from the Department of Biostatistics in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research emphasizes longitudinal and multivariate data, hierarchical models, latent variables, Bayesian methods, reproductive epidemiology and environmental health. She won the Mortimer Spiegelman Award for outstanding public health statistician under the age of 40 from the American Public Health Association in 2012. Her published work has created insight into health issues such as multi-ethnic studies of atherosclerosis; modeling birth outcomes such as congenital heart defects and pre-term births; and women’s dietary patterns from pregnancy through postpartum.

Peter Hoff

Professor of Statistical Science

Hoff holds a Ph.D. in Statistics with an emphasis in biostatistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He comes to Duke from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Hoff deepens Duke’s bench as a leader in Bayesian statistics and has authored a text book titled “A First Course in Bayesian Statistical Models (Springer New York, 2010). He specializes in building statistical tools to analyze network or “relational” data. These types of data, which document the complex, changing sets of interactions between different individuals within a group, are currently popping up in all areas of research, from the social sciences to genomics, Hoff’s tools are designed to extract patterns and meaning from these wide-ranging subjects, which can vary from friendships within social networks and relationships between countries on the international stage, to interactions between different sets of proteins within a cell.

Vahid Tarokh

Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Vahid TarokhTarokh holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and comes to Duke from Harvard University. His work focuses on telecommunications, specifically to statistical signal processing and data analysis for wireless communications. In 2014, Science-watch named Tarokh one of the World’s Most Influence Scientific Minds in the field of computer science. A former Gugenheim Fellow in Applied Mathematics, he is an IEEE Fellow and winner of the IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award for his contributions to communications technology.

Hau-tieng Wu

Associate Professor of Mathematics & Statistical Science

Hau-tieng WuWu is an M.D./Ph.D. who earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Princeton University under the guidance of mathematician Ingrid Daubechies, and her M.D. from the National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan.  Her research interests range from mathematical study to data analysis with a focus on analyzing big/massive datasets by applying proper mathematical tools/theorems. Her main field of application field is medicine where she works on the following problems: anesthesia/sedation/sleep analysis based on different physiological signals, breathing/heart rate variation analysis and coupling effect, weaning prediction, ECG waveform analysis like fetal ECG analysis and f-wave analysis, seasonality analysis of diseases, etc.