I am a data scientist, with extensive and various experience drawing inference from large data sets. In education research, I work to understand and improve postsecondary student outcomes using the rich, extensive, and complex digital data produced in the course of educating students in the 21st century. In 2011, we launched the E2Coach computer tailored support system, and in 2014, we began the REBUILD project, a college-wide effort to increase the use of evidence-based methods in introductory STEM courses. In 2015, we launched the Digital Innovation Greenhouse, an education technology accelerator within the UM Office of Digital Education and Innovation. In astrophysics, my main research tools have been the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Dark Energy Survey, and the simulations which support them both. We use these tools to probe the growth and nature of cosmic structure as well as the expansion history of the Universe, especially through studies of galaxy clusters. I have also studied astrophysical transients as part of the Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment.
My research currently focuses on the analysis of high-throughput biological data as well as other types of high-dimensional data. More specifically, I am working with collaborators on developing methods that can be used when the data are corrupted by systematic measurement errors of unknown origin, or when the data suffer from the effects of unobserved confounders. For example, gene expression data suffer from both systematic measurement errors of unknown origin (due to uncontrolled variations in laboratory conditions) and the effects of unobserved confounders (such as whether a patient had just eaten before a tissue sample was taken). We are developing methodology that is able to correct for these systematic errors using “negative controls.” Negative controls are variables that (1) are known to have no true association with the biological signal of interest, and (2) are corrupted by the systematic errors, just like the variables that are of interest. The negative controls allow us to learn about the structure of the errors, so that we may then remove the errors from the other variables.
Daniel Almirall, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Survey Research Center and Faculty Associate in the Population Studies Center in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.
Prof. Almirall’s current methodological research interests lie in the broad area of causal inference. He is particularly interested in methods for causal inference using longitudinal data sets in which treatments, covariates, and outcomes are all time-varying. He is also interested in developing statistical methods that can be used to form adaptive interventions, sometimes known as dynamic treatment regimes. An adaptive intervention is a sequence of individually tailored decisions rules that specify whether, how, and when to alter the intensity, type, or delivery of treatment at critical decision points in the medical care process. Adaptive interventions are particularly well-suited for the management of chronic diseases, but can be used in any clinical setting in which sequential medical decision making is essential for the welfare of the patient. They hold the promise of enhancing clinical practice by flexibly tailoring treatments to patients when they need it most, and in the most appropriate dose, thereby improving the efficacy and effectiveness of treatment.
Study Design Interests: In addition to developing new statistical methodologies, Prof. Almirall devotes a portion of his research to the design of sequential multiple assignment randomized trials (SMARTs). SMARTs are randomized trial designs that give rise to high-quality data that can be used to develop and optimize adaptive interventions.
Substantive Interests: As an investigator and methodologist in the Institute for Social Research, Prof. Almirall takes part in research in a wide variety of areas of social science and treatment (or interventions) research. He is particularly interested in the substantive areas of mental health (depression, anxiety) and substance abuse, especially as related to children and adolescents.
Jun Li’s main research interests are empirical operations management and business analytics, with special emphases on revenue management, pricing, consumer behavior, economic and social networks. She has worked extensively with large-scale data, including transactions, pricing, inventory and capacity, consumer online search and click stream data, supply chain relationships and disruptions, clinical and healthcare claims. She is the Winner of INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Practice Award for her close collaboration with retailing practitioners in implementing best response pricing algorithms. Her paper on airline pricing and consumer behavior is the finalist for Best Management Science Papers in Operations Management 2012 to 2014. She is also the principal investigator of a National Science Foundation funded project: “Gaining Visibility Into Supply Network Risks Using Large-Scale Textual Analysis”. Her work has enjoyed coverage by The Economist, New York Times and Forbes.