Faculty

The MDA courses are delivered by a cohort of over 20 outstanding professors, Canada Research Chairs, faculty scholars, current and former department chairs and lecturers from the Departments of Computer Science and Statistical & Actuarial Sciences, including instructors with direct industry experience. Their wealth of knowledge in data science is translated into engaging course content that prepares MDA candidates for the challenges and opportunities of a career in a rapidly evolving landscape in data analytics. 

Please note that active members of the faculty may change periodically.

Michael Bauer, PhD

Professor - Department of Computer Science

Michael Bauer is a Professor of Computer Science at Western University. He is currently the Scientific Director for SHARCNET, a multi-university high-performance computing grid, the co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for SOSCIP (Southwestern Ontario Smart Computer Infrastructure Platform), and the Principle Investigator for the SOSCIP Analytics Cloud system of SOSCIP. Bauer served as Chair of the Computer Science Department (1991-1996 and from 2002-2007) and as the Associate Vice-President Information Technology (1996-2001).

Research Interests:

  • Distributed Systems
  • Cloud Computing
  • Environments Systems and Application Management
  • Resource Management In Distributed and Grid Systems
  • Software Engineering

Simon Bonner, PhD

Assistant Professor - Department of Biology & Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Research Interests:

  • Biological statistics
  • Mark-recapture methodology
  • Applied Bayesian inference

Matt Davison, PhD

Dean - Faculty of Science
Professor - Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences
Canada Research Chair - Quantitative Finance

Matt Davison is the Dean, Faculty of Science and Professor in the Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences at Western University. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Quantitative Finance. Dr Davison has a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto (1991) and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from Western University (1995). After postdoctoral research at the University of Bern in Switzerland, Davison worked as a front office quant at Deutsche Bank Canada. He joined Western University as a member of the faculty in 1999. Matt is the author of the CRC press book Quantitative Finance: A Simulation Based Introduction using Excel, published in 2014.

Research Interests:

  • Energy finance
  • Options pricing
  • Portfolio optimization
  • Real options (with application in Defence and Medicine)

Jörn Diedrichsen, PhD

Western Research Chair for Motor Control and Computational Neuroscience Brain and Mind Institute, Department for Computer Science, Department for Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Research Interests:

  • Movement is the ultimate goal purpose of the brain. If we weren't able to act on the world, we would not possess a nervous system. Our laboratory is therefore trying to understand how the brain controls movements and how it changes with motor learning or after motor recovery after strokes. We also work on understanding motor control in the larger context of human cognition, as the two are intimately related. How the brain organises complex actions? How does the cerebellum (a classical motor control structure) contribute to mental function in general?
  • Because studying the brain demands technical and statistical sophistication, the lab also has developed a number of methodological innovations, including fMRI-compatible robotic device for imaging research, and analysis tools for MRI and behavioural data.

Marcos Escobar-Anel, PhD

Professor and Graduate Chair - Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Research Interests:

  • Stochastic Processes: Multivariate, Stochastic Covariance, First passage time
  • Financial Mathematics: Pricing exotic products, Dynamic portfolio optimisation
  • Statistics: Estimation stochastic processes. Biostatistics

Hyukjun Gweon, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department for Statistical and Actuarial Science

Research Interests:

  • Statistical Learning and its application
  • Machine learning model assessment
  • Nonparametric modelling

Wenqing He, PhD

Associate Professor - Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Research Interests:

  • Multivariate lifetime data analysis
  • Gene expression data analysis
  • Analysis of longitudinal data
  • Analysis of missing data
  • Data mining
  • Biostatistics

Kyle Leistner, FSA, FCIA, CFA

Kyle Leistner is a lecturer in the Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences at Western University.  He has over 10 years of experience in the life insurance industry, where his focus was on pricing and product development of participating whole life insurance.  Kyle is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA), a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA), and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).  Kyle teaches undergraduate courses in actuarial science and financial modeling.

Charles Ling, BEng, PhD

Professor - Department of Computer Science

Charles Ling is an internationally known scholar in machine learning, data mining and big data analytics, and applications of data mining. In recent years, he led the creation a novel platform for people with Type 2 diabetes, called GlucoGuide, founded on data mining, software engineering and mobile technologies and is now the CEO of a start-up company, which strives to bring benefit to the millions of people with diabetes, and reduce medical costs for corporations and insurance companies.

Research Interests:

  • Data Mining and its Applications
  • Machine Learning
  • Cognitive Modeling

Xiaoming Liu, PhD

Associate Professor - Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Xiaoming Liu received her PhD from the University of Toronto. Dr Liu’s research focuses on mortality risk modelling and its related problems such as pricing and risk management of insurance policies with the consideration of different risk factors.

Research Interests:

  • Actuarial Science
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Mathematical Finance

Dan Lizotte, PhD

Assistant Professor - Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Department of Computer Science
Associate Director – Master of Data Analytics

Dan Lizotte became a member of the faculty at Western University in 2015. His main interests lie in the study of rigorous methods for making good decisions based on observations of the world. This kind of analysis, in the computing science field, is formalised in part by the field of reinforcement learning, which is considered part of machine learning, which in turn is considered part of the field of artificial intelligence. Methods for solving reinforcement learning draw from techniques in statistics, computer science, engineering, operations research, and similar fields.

Research Interests:

  • Machine Learning for Medical Health Informatics with a focus on decision support.
  • Methodological interests include reinforcement learning with multiple outcomes and predictive models for heterogeneous populations.

Hanan Lutfiyya, PhD

Professor and Chair - Department of Computer Science

Hanan Lutfiyya’s research broadly falls into distributed systems and software engineering. More specifically her interest is in systems management. Systems management refers to the operation, administration and maintenance of a computing system. The goal is to ensure that the system behaves as expected with respect to availability, performance and security - commonly known as Quality of Service (QoS). Systems are taken to include applications, services and devices. The systems are distributed. The software engineering aspect is with respect to how to make software manageable.

  • Distributed Applications and Systems Management
  • Policy-Based Management, QoS Management, Autonomic Computing, Context-Aware Applications
  • Cloud Computing, Virtualization, Resource Management

Rogemar Mamon, PhD, CSci, CMath, FIMA, FHEA, FRS

Professor - Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Rogemar Mamon is known for his contributions to the development and application of regime-switching framework useful in economic, financial and actuarial modelling. The majority of his works promote regime-switching paradigms modulated by either discrete- or continuous-time hidden Markov models (HMM). A recurrent theme of his research is dynamic parameter estimation via HMM filtering recursions. He also made contributions in the areas of derivative pricing, asset allocation, risk measurement, filtering to remove noise from data as well as inverse problems in quantitative finance. He was the lead editor of the handbook Hidden Markov Models in Finance, published by Springer.

Research Interests:

  • Quantitative finance
  • Applications of stochastic processes to financial and actuarial modelling
  • Optimal estimation of Markov-modulated models: filtering, smoothing and prediction

Yalda Mohsenzadeh, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Brain and Mind Institute

Research Interests:

  • Humans are able to recognize and remember visual experiences effortlessly in rich detail, a feat that current artificial systems still struggle to accomplish. Our goal is to understand how the human brain achieve this impressive computational feat to develop “cognitive machines”— biologically inspired computational models that can recognize and interact with the world like humans. To achieve this goal, we investigate human perception and memory processes using a combination of human neuroimaging (fMRI and MEG/EEG), behavior, computational modeling and machine learning.

Marc Moreno Maza, PhD

Professor and Graduate Chair - Department of Computer Science

Marc Moreno Maza applies computer science to mathematics. While certain questions such as computing GCDs of integers have been studied for centuries, it remains a challenge today to solve them efficiently on computers, in particular on parallel architectures. His favourite problem is the solving of systems of polynomial equations. This fundamental question, well studied in Algebra textbooks, still offers many algorithmic and implementation challenges in order to address users' needs.

Research Interests:

  • Computer Algebra
  • Non-linear system solving, Parallel processing
  • High-Performance Computing
  • Algebraic Geometry
  • Programming Languages

Laura Reid - MSc, BEd, BSc

Lecturer – Department of Computer Science

Ms. Reid received her BSc with a Major in Computer Science and a Minor in Math from Western University. She worked in industry in Toronto for a few years before returning to Western to get her Bachelor of Education from Althouse College. She then moved to the Middle East for three years where she taught computer science at the United Arab Emirate University and found she had passion for teaching at the university level. She returned back to Canada and completed a Masters of Science in the field of databases. She was hired in the Computer Science Department as a lecturer. Ms. Reid has served as Undergraduate Chair of Computer Science, Computer Science Outreach Chair and as the Faculty of Science Outreach Chair. She loves teaching and her students and considers herself extremely blessed to have a job where she can’t wait to get to work everyday!

Jiandong Ren, PhD

Professor - Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Jiandong Ren graduated from Temple University with a PhD in Risk Management and Insurance in 2003. He has been a member of the Actuarial Science Section of the Statistical Society of Canada since it was established in 2012. His research interests are in the area of applications of stochastic process theory and statistics in actuarial science.

Research Interests:

  • Insurance
  • Actuarial Science
  • Risk Management

Cristián Bravo Roman, PhD

Associate Professor - Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences | Canada Research Chair in Banking and Insurance Analytics

Jb. Cristián received his PhD from the University of Chile in 2013. He joined Western’s Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences in 2019 as an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Banking and Insurance Analytics. His research focuses on business analytics and data science applied to micro-entrepreneur and SME credit risk, including the development and application of data science methodologies in areas such as deep learning, text analytics, image processing, and social network analysis to credit risk analytics. He also serves on the editorial boards of Applied Soft Computing and the Journal of Business Analytics (OR Society).

Research Interests:

  • Big data analytics
  • Credit scoring systems
  • Fraud analytics
  • Deep learning
  • Risk management
  • Machine learning

Kristina Sendova, PhD

Chair & Associate Professor, Department for Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Research Interests:

  • Ruin Theory
  • Risk Theory
  • Actuarial applications of reliability theory

Camila de Souza, PhD

Assistant Professor - Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Research Interests

  • Method development and analysis of genomic data, single-cell sequencing
  • Functional data analysis, latent variable modeling, nonparametric regrssion, semi-parametric models
  • Machine learning
  • Big data analytics

Lars Stentoft, PhD

Associate Professor – jointly appointed between the Department of Economics and the Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Research Interests

  • Finance
  • Financial Econometrics
  • Computational Finance
  • Econometrics

Douglas Woolford, PhD, P.Stat.

Associate Professor - Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences
Director - Master of Data Analytics
TD Professor in Data Analytics

Doug Woolford’s main research area is Environmetrics, where he develops methodology, stochastic models and other quantitative tools to investigate issues related to environmental processes through the analysis of large longitudinal or spatiotemporal data sets. Much of his research has been related to forestry, where he collaborates with other scientists as well as individuals from federal and provincial agencies. His current research interests include stochastic modelling and inference related to forest fire science and the integration of such tools into decision support systems for fire management.

Research Interests:

  • Environmetrics
  • Forest fire science/wildland fire science
  • Forest fire management/wildland fire management
  • Forest fire occurrence prediction/wildland fire occurrence prediction
  • Risk assessment and risk modelling
  • Stochastic models, statistical models
  • Data science, data analytics

Grace Yi, PhD

Professor- Canada Research Chair in Data Science (Tier 1), Joint with the Department of Computer Science

Research Interests:

  • Professor Yi's research interests focus on developing methodology to address various challenges concerning Data Science, public health, cancer research, epidemiological studies, environmental studies, and social science.
  • Recent research has been centered around investigating machine learning and statistical methods to tackle problems concerning imaging data, missing data, measurement error in variables, causal inference, high dimensional data, survival data, and longitudinal data.

Hao Yu, PhD

Professor - Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Research Interests:

  • Statistical Computing, Parallel Programming and Rmpi
  • Financial Time Series
  • Stochastic Modelling and Residual Analyses
  • Approximation in Statistics and Probability

Ricardas Zitikis, PhD

Associate Professor - Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Ričardas Zitikis received his PhD in Mathematics at Vilnius University, Lithuania, in 1988. He proceeded to work at the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences for a decade, with visiting positions at the University of Bielefeld in Germany and Carleton University in Canada. Zitikis has published extensively in the areas of mathematics (applied and theoretical), probability (applied and theoretical), statistics (applied and theoretical), stochastic processes (empirical and related ones), actuarial science (risk measures, insurance), econometrics (economic inequality, time series), risk analysis (reliability engineering, lifetime analysis), and theoretical biology (lifetime analysis, ageing).

Research Interests:

  • Risk Analysis and Management
  • Risk Measures
  • Reliability Engineering
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Mathematical Inequalities