Our people

The Centre for Translational Data Science comprises a group of collaborating academics and postdoctoral fellows from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, the University of Sydney Business School, the Faculty of Science and the University of Sydney Medical School. The Centre is building new translational data science research capacity for the University of Sydney.

Professor Sally Cripps


Professor Sally Cripps is an ARC Future Fellow (2014-18) and Professor in the discipline of analytics at the University of Sydney Business School. She has deep expertise in Bayesian statistics, non-parametric methods and the learning of topological (network and graph) structures. She has a body of work in areas including disease modelling and mental health. Sally's research interests lie mainly in Bayesian methodology, in particular:
developing methods for the spectral analysis of time series
flexible models for panel and longitudinal data
Gaussian and non-Gaussian nonparametric regression developing efficient algorithms for large datasets.

Sally’s applied work includes modelling cognitive development and voltage fluctuations obtained from an intracranial electroencephalogram (IEEG). She also works with researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of Sydney and in the Centre of Ethical Leadership at Ormond College at the University of Melbourne to study the development of leadership in China.


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Associate Professor Fabio Ramos


Fabio has been with the University of Sydney since 2003, working to replicate human information processing capabilities in machines, from autonomous cars that can drive themselves to iron ore mines with multiple heavy automated vehicles and, in a new and exciting project, fusing geophysical data collected from the entire continent being to estimate potential locations for geothermal power plants. Fabio is intrigued with how humans can process so much information so quickly through their senses. He aims to develop a robot that can learn about the world by experience, as a child does in the early stages of life. Another goal is to develop devices to help people with cognitive impairment (such as from dementia) to regain some of their independence. Fabio is also focused on ensuring the efficient use of information arising from the proliferation of sensors and embedded computer systems in everyday devices that capture vast amounts of data in almost all areas of human activity: cars with GPSs and reverse-parking sensors, mobile phones with integrated cameras, outdoor lights that automatically come on at dusk.

University of Sydney Research Network

Dr Lamiae Azizi


Lamiae received her PhD in Applied Mathematics from Joseph Fourier University (France) in December 2011.

Her research interests are developing Statistical Machine Learning models which aim at understanding real-world processes in high dimensional data; as well as developing appropriate softwares and visualisation tools.

Her contributions lie particularly in Bayesian nonparametrics, Graphical modelling, Variational methods, and probabilistic learning. Applications of interest include problems arising in the biomedical field, image analysis and Engineering.
She is a member of the Statistics research group at the School of Mathematics and Statistics and the Centre for Translational Data Science at USYD:

Professor Athman Bouguettaya


Professor Bouguettaya is the Head of school, School of Information Technologies, and IEEE Fellow and ACM Distinguished Scientist.

Professor John Buchanan


Professor John Buchanan is Chair of the Discipline of Business Analytics at the University of Sydney Business School. Previously, between 1988 and 1991 he was part of the team that undertook the first Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey (AWIRS). In 1991, he joined the Workplace Research Centre (formerly acirrt) and served as its Director from 2005 - 2014.

Between 1988 and 1991 he was part of the team that undertook the first Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey (AWIRS). He joined the Workplace Research Centre (formerly acirrt) in 1991 and has been its Director since 2005. Until recently his major research interest has been the demise of the classical wage earner model of employment and the role of the state in nurturing new forms of multi-employer co-ordination to promote both efficiency and fairness in the labour market. Building on this research, he is now devoting special attention to the evolution of working life transition, the dynamics of workforce development and the connection between work, health and wellbeing. Professor Buchanan is currently Network Leader for the University of Sydney's Health and Work Research Network - a consortium involving experts from the Business School, Medical, Health Sciences and four other faculties.

He was one of the authors of Australia at work: just managing? (1999) of Fragmented Futures: New Challenges in Working Life published by Federation Press in 2003. These texts provide an overview of the restructuring of work in Australia since the 1970s. He most recently co-edited a book called Inclusive Growth in Australia: Social policy as economic investment, published by Allen & Unwin in 2013.

Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark


Deborah Cobb-Clark is Professor of Economics at the University of Sydney. She is Director of the Program in Gender and Families at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany; a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course; and an elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

Deborah earned a PhD in Economics from the University of Michigan (1990). Prior to joining the University of Sydney, she was the Ronald Henderson Professor and Director of the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne. She has also held positions at the US Labor Department, Illinois State University, and the Australian National University where she was the founding director of The Social Policy Evaluation, Analysis and Research (SPEAR) Centre. Her research agenda centres on the effect of social policy on labour market outcomes including immigration, sexual and racial harassment, health, old-age support, education and youth transitions. She has published more than four dozen academic articles in leading international journals and is a former co-editor of the Journal of Population Economics.

Professor Elizabeth Cowley


Elizabeth Cowley has an MBA in Marketing and Management Information Systems from McGill University in Montreal. After graduating, Elizabeth worked for several years in the Marketing and Marketing Planning departments of the largest integrated oil company in Canada. Her doctorate was completed under the supervision of Andrew Mitchell from the University of Toronto where she studied under some of the world's leading memory researchers. Her research interests are consumer memory and decision making. Elizabeth's memory research focuses on how the organisation of memory affects the retrieval of brand information and the conditions under which memory is distorted during retrieval. Her research of memory distortion is not limited to memory for facts, but also memory for affective reactions to consumption experiences, an important input for future choice. She has also investigated the role that retrieval confidence plays in choice.

Elizabeth's research is published in the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the International Journal of Research in Marketing, the Academy of Marketing Science, the Journal of Advertising, and the Journal of Business Research.

Professor Alan Fekete


Alan is Professor of Enterprise Software Systems within the School of Information Technologies at the University of Sydney. His undergraduate education was at the University of Sydney, and his doctorate was earned in the mathematics department of Harvard University. He has been an academic at the University of Sydney since 1988, and was promoted to Professor from 2010. He is a member of ACM and ACS, and of the IEEE Computer Society. He has been recognized as a Distinguished Scientist by ACM for "significant accomplishments in, and impact on, the computing field".

The motivation for his research and teaching is to improve the state-of-practice in the IT profession when dealing with enterprise software. In research, he tries to provide intellectual tools that will help software developers who work with, or who design, major infrastructure "systems" software, such as communication networks and databases. The drive behind his teaching is to help enterprises and our students by producing graduates who will advance the state-of-practice in the IT profession. He does this by conveying key ways of thinking and essential skills while they are students. He tries to give students experience of the best current practice, and awareness of new ideas that are not yet common in the profession, but give hope of improving our graduates' skills. His philosophy in both teaching and research is that better software depends on a clear understanding of the behaviour (both functionality and performance etc characteristics) of each piece of the system, and knowledge of how different pieces of a system influence one another.

He is affiliated with the Database Research group, and also with Middleware research group. I also interact somewhat with the Computer Human Adapted Interaction research group.

Professor Richard Gerlach


Richard Gerlach's research interests lie mainly in financial econometrics and time series. His work has concerned developing time series models for measuring, forecasting and managing risk in financial markets as well as computationally intensive Bayesian methods for inference, diagnosis, forecasting and model comparison for these models. Recent focus has been on nonlinear threshold heteroskedastic models for volatility, Value-at-Risk and Expected Shortfall forecasting. He has developed structural break and intervention detection tools for use in state space models; also has an interest in estimating logit models incorporating misclassification and variable selection. His applied work has involved forecasting risk levels during and after the Global Financial Crisis; assessing asymmetry in major international stock markets, in response to local and exogenous factors; co-integration analysis assessing the effect of the Asian financial crisis on long term relationships between international real estate investment markets; stock selection for financial investment using logit models; option pricing and hedging involving barriers; and factors influencing the 2004 Federal election.

His research papers have been published in Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Journal of Time Series Analysis and the International Journal of Forecasting. He has been an invited speaker and regular presenter at international conferences such as the International conference for Computational and Financial Econometrics, the International Symposium on Forecasting and the International Statistical Institute sessions.

Professor Seokhee Hong


Professor Seokhee Hong is a Professor and a Future Fellow (2013-16) at the School of Information Technologies. She was a Humboldt Fellow in 2013-14, ARC Research Fellow in 2008-12, and a project leader of VALACON (Visualisation and Analysis of Large and Complex Networks) project at National ICT Australia (NICTA) in 2004-07. Her main research interests include graph drawing, algorithms, information visualisation and visual analytics. Seokhee is developing new, scalable algorithms to address information visualisation of massive complex networks arising from big data. “These algorithms will enable security analysts to detect fraud, biologists to understand protein-protein interaction networks and give engineers new ways of understanding large software systems,” Seokhee says. Grants include:

Beyond Planarity: Algorithms for Visualisation of Sparse Non-Planar Graphs; Hong S, Eades P; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

The Integrated Mental Health Atlas of Sydney Local Health District; Salvador-Carulla L, Glozier N, Eades P, Hong S, Gupta L, Morgan G, Bennett-Levy J, Astell-Burt T, Gillespie J, Fernandez Sanchez A; DVC Research/HMR+ Implementation Fund - University.

Capturing the benefits of ICT in a digital economy – Korea Australia Emerging Researchers Exchange Program; Hong S; Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering/Korea Australia Emerging Researchers Exchange Program.

Professor Simon Jackman


Simon Jackman commenced as CEO of the US Studies Centre in April 2016. Between 1996 and 2016, he was a Professor of Political Science and Statistics at Stanford University.

Jackman's teaching and research centres on public opinion, election campaigns, political participation, and electoral systems with special emphasis on American and Australian politics. His research has appeared in the leading journals of political science, including the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Analysis, the British Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies and the Australian Journal of Political Science. Jackman is the author of Bayesian Analysis for the Social Sciences (Wiley 2009), a widely used textbook on Bayesian statistical methods with an emphasis on applications in the social sciences.

From 2009 to 2016, Jackman was one of the Principal Investigators of the American National Election Studies, the world’s longest running and most authoritative survey of political behaviour and attitudes, directing this project over both the 2012 and 2016 presidential election cycles in the United States.

Jackman is also well known for his work on poll averaging, combining polls over the course of an election campaign to produce better predictions of election outcomes; he partnered with the Huffington Post in the American 2012 presidential election and with Guardian Australia during the 2013 Australian election, supplying exclusive analysis and commentary on pre-election polling. Jackman is also a frequent commentator on American politics in Australia media, regularly appearing on the ABC’s The World Today, News 24 and the 7.30 Report.

Jackman’s current research projects focus on the opportunities and challenges of web-based survey research, the political and scientific consequences of under-representing unlisted or hard-to-reach populations in social research, predictive models of political behaviour, and methods for large scale, automated coding and analysis of political speech.

Jackman was born and raised in Brisbane, and graduated with first class Honours in Government from the University of Queensland. Jackman earned his doctorate at the University of Rochester and Princeton University.

Professor Geraint Lewis


Geraint F. Lewis is a Professor of Astrophysics (Teaching and Research) at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, part of the University of Sydney's School of Physics. He is head of the Gravitational Astrophysics Group, is the Associate Head for Research, and Deputy Director of the Sydney Informatics Hub. He is a Welsh astrophysicist, who is best known for his work on dark energy, gravitational lensing and galactic cannibalism.

He completed his first degree at the University of London and PhD at the University of Cambridge's Institute of Astronomy. He has worked in the State University of New York, the University of Victoria in Canada, and the University of Washington in Seattle. After research positions in the US and Canada, he then became a Research Astronomer at the Anglo-Australian Observatory in 2000. In 2002, Lewis joined the University of Sydney.

Lewis undertakes a broad spectrum of research in cosmology. On the largest scales, his program involves looking at the influence of dark energy and dark matter on the evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

Another aspect of Lewis's research uses the phenomenon of gravitational lensing to probe the nature and distribution of the pervasive dark matter, and employing individual stars to magnify the hearts of quasars, the most luminous objects in the universe.

Closer to home, Lewis's research focuses upon galactic cannibalism, where small dwarf galaxies are torn apart by the much more massive Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy. Using telescopes from around the world, including the 10-m Keck telescope in Hawaii, he has mapped the tell-tale signs of tidal disruption and destruction, providing important clues to how large galaxies have grown over time.

Dr Erick (Zhaolin) Li


Erick (Zhaolin) Li received a Ph.D. in Business Administration from The Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Commerce in Accounting from The University of New South Wales, and a Bachelor of Engineering in Materials Science & Industrial Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Dr. Li has been with The University of Sydney Business School since January 2009. Before moving to Sydney, he had worked in Ernst & Young LLP, Southern Arkansas University, and City University of Hong Kong.

His research interests spans two areas of interest: supply chain management (SCM) and the interfaces between operations management (OM) and other areas. His research has considered the impact of technology developments, supply interruptions, consumer preferences, asymmetric information, equity-based incentives, and chain-to-chain competition on the firm's operational strategies. His research used a variety of techniques, including multidimensional mechanism designs, multidimensional signalling games, and calculus of variations. He has published research articles in Decision Sciences, Management Science, and Production & Operations Management. He has been appointed as an Associate Editor by Asian Pacific Journal of Operational Research since 2017.

Professor Jonathan Morris AM


Professor Jonathan Morris is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and completed his Obstetric and Maternal Fetal Medicine sub specialty training in Sydney. He completed his PhD in Oxford and returned to Sydney in 1998 at the Royal North Shore Hospital. Since then he has built a perinatal research group that extends from basic science to population health. He is currently Director of the Kolling Institute for Medical Research. His major research interests are the prediction, prevention and management of pregnancy complications.

Professor Dietmar Muller


Dietmar Müller received his undergraduate degree from the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel in Germany, followed by a PhD in Earth Science from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego/California in 1993. After joining the University of Sydney as a Lecturer in Geophysics in 1993, he established the University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science and built the EarthByte e-research group.

His EarthByte research group is known for pursuing open innovation, involving the collaborative development of open-source paleogeographic information system software as well as global digital data sets made available under a creative commons license. One of the fundamental aims of the EarthByte Group is geodata synthesis through space and time, assimilating the wealth of disparate geological and geophysical data into four-dimensional (space-time) plate tectonic and Earth models. His research interests include marine geology and geophysics, plate tectonics, geodynamics, basin evolution, paleoclimate, paleoceanography, the deep carbon cycle,virtual globes, simulation and modelling as well as big/complex geoscience data analysis.

Professor Philippa Pattison


Professor Pip Pattison joined the University of Sydney as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) in June 2014. She is a quantitative psychologist by background, and the primary focus of her research is the development and application of mathematical and statistical models for social networks and network processes. Her work has broad application and has most recently focussed on the transmission of infectious diseases and the recovery of communities following the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Dr Aldo Saavedra


Dr Aldo Saavedra’s research involves applying statistical methods and machine learning to extract insights from data. The need for security and privacy in data analysis, which requires the linkage of different datasets, has prompted a new area of research that entails the use of blockchain technology and homomorphic encryption. The research is conducted within the domains of health (Sydney Health Partners), resources and vocational education and training (NSW Department of Industry). Aldo has substantial expertise in data analysis in the field of particle physics. He is a founding member of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (CERN) where he performed novel measurements of fundamental processes within the standard model of particle physics and searches for phenomena beyond it.


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Professor Stephen Simpson AC FAA FRS


Steve Simpson is Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre and Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney.
After graduating as a biologist from the University of Queensland, Steve undertook his PhD at the University of London, then spent 22 years at Oxford before returning to Australia in 2005 as an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, then ARC Laureate Fellow.

Stephen developed an integrative modelling framework for nutrition (the Geometric Framework), which was devised and tested using insects. This has since been applied to a wide range of organisms, from slime moulds to humans, and problems, from aquaculture and conservation biology to the dietary causes of human obesity and ageing. He has also revolutionised understanding of swarming in locusts, with research spanning neurochemical events within the brains of individual locusts to continental-scale mass migration.

In 2007 Steve was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, in 2008 he won the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, in 2009 he was NSW Scientist of the Year, in 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and in 2015 was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Steve has also been prominent in the media, including presenting a four-part documentary series for ABC TV, “Great Southern Land”.

Dr Charmaine Tam


Charmaine Tam is an NHMRC Early Career Fellow with 10 years experience investigating the physiological mechanisms behind obesity and its metabolic complications using clinical studies and preclinical models. After spending the majority of her research career collecting and producing data, Charmaine has turned her research focus to health data science and analytics and how we can use routinely collected health data such as electronic medical records to address important questions to improve patient outcomes and health.


Dr Andrey Vasnev


Andrey Vasnev (Perm, 1976) graduated in Applied Mathematics from Moscow State University in 1998. In 2001 he completed his Master's degree in Economics in the New Economic School, Moscow. In 2006 he received Ph.D. degree in Economics from the Department of Econometrics and Operations Research at Tilburg University under the supervision of Jan R. Magnus. He worked as a credit risk analyst in ABN AMRO bank before joining the University of Sydney.

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Professor Jean Yang


Professor Jean Yang is an applied statistician with expertise in statistical bioinformatics. She was awarded the 2015 Moran Medal in statistics from the Australian Academy of Science in recognition of her work on developing methods for molecular data arising in cutting edge biomedical research.

Her research stands at the interface between medicine and methodology development and has centered on the development of methods and the application of statistics to problems in -omics and biomedical research. She has made contributions to the development of novel statistical methodology and software for the design and analysis of high-throughput biotechnological data including that from micro arrays, mass spectrometry and next generation sequencing.Recently, much of her focus is on integration of multiple bio-technologies with clinical data to answer a variety of scientific questions. This includes developing various approaches and methodologies in statistical machine learning and network analysis. As a statistician who works in the bioinformatics area, she enjoys research in a collaborative environment, working closely with scientific investigators from diverse backgrounds.

Researchers and Post-Docs

Dr Rohitash Chandra


Dr. Rohitash Chandra is Chancellor's Fellow working in methodologies and applications of machine learning. His research interests are in areas of deep learning, recurrent neural networks, neuro-evolution, time series analysis, and cognitive and developmental systems. He will be developing novel deep learning architectures and learning algorithms with application to climate modeling, particularly in areas of earthquakes and cyclones. His research will provide a synergy of deep learning methods with Bayesian inference, multi-task and transfer learning. Moreover, Dr. Chandra is interested in developing learning algorithms inspired from cognitive systems and to simulate aspects of consciousness that include personality and attention. Dr. Chandra is a reviewer for several journals that include IEEE TNNLS, IEEE TEVC, Neurocomputing, Applied Soft Computing, IEEE TGRS and IEEE J-STARS.

Prior to joining the University of Sydney, Dr. Chandra was a Research Fellow in machine learning at the Rolls Royce @ NTU Corporate Lab, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He was part of a project in the use of machine learning methodologies for the efficient design of Jet Engines. Prior to that, he was a Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji (from December 2012 – January 2016). Dr. Chandra is originally from Nausori, Fiji. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science (May 2012) from Victoria University of Wellington. He also holds a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science and Engineering Technology, 2006) and Master of Science (Computer Science, 2008) from the University of the South Pacific and the University of Fiji, respectively. He took the role of the University of Sydney Fellow from March 2017 for a period of three years at the Centre for Translational Data Science.

Dr Roman Marchant


Dr Roman Marchant has recently completed a PhD in the School of Information Technologies at the University of Sydney. His research at the centre focuses on applying data science to the social sciences, particularly predicting crime and understanding criminal behaviour. His area of expertise is sequential Bayesian optimisation,a novel probabilistic method for finding the optimal sequence of decisions that maximise a long-term reward.
Dr Marchant has considerable experience in machine learning and data science. Since 2011 he has participated as an active researcher at National ICT Australia (NICTA). Here, he actively contributed in the development of several projects that engage with industry and government agencies:

Environmental monitoring for the Environment Protection Authority: a platform that continuously learns patterns over space and time for predicting air pollution in the Hunter Valley region.

Network optimisation for the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources of South Australia: optimising a network of sensors that monitor groundwater reservoirs.

Anomaly detection for Ecotech: an autonomous system that detects anomalies in environmental sensors.
Roman has received several awards including Best Student Presentation at the University of Sydney Student Conference 2013 and 2014 and the Google Publication Prize 2013. He was selected by the Chilean government for a full PhD scholarship in 2011 then received a top-up scholarship from NICTA in 2012.


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Dr Richard Scalzo


Dr Richard Scalzo is a Research Scientist heavily involved in the centre’s metabolism effort. He is leading the development of probabilistic graphical models for cell biology processes such as insulin signalling. Richard’s work before joining the University of Sydney was in applied probabilistic inference and machine learning. He has also worked in astrophysics, including hierarchical statistical (Bayesian) modelling of type Ia supernova progenitor properties and development of scalable image processing and transient discovery pipelines for the SkyMapper Supernova Search and the Nearby Supernova Factory.

Research Affiliates

We are fortunate to have as active research affiliates:

Tiberio Caetano - He is a particular expert in the development and application of data analytics problems in business and education.

Junbin Gao - Discipline of Business Analytics University of Sydney, Junbin Gao

Robert Kohn who is at the Australian School of Business (ASB) UNSW Robert Kohn

Richard Nock - Internationally respected researcher in machine learning and currently a Senior Research Scientist at Data61 (CSIRO) in Sydney. His expertise is in the area of confidential analytics, and the ability to apply analytics to data that is kept private.
Richard Nock

Richard Xu - Particular expertise in the development and application of data anlaytics to problems in business and education.
Richard Xu

Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte


Hugh Durrant-Whyte is a Professor and ARC Federation Fellow at the University of Sydney. He was the inaugural Director of the CTDS. From 2010-14, he was chief executive of National ICT Australia (NICTA), and from 1995-2010, the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems and of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics. Hugh has published more than 350 research papers, graduated more than 70 PhD students, and won numerous awards and prizes for his work, including being named NSW Engineer of the Year in 2008 and NSW Scientist of the Year in 2010. Hugh has also worked with major companies, including Rio Tinto, Patrick Stevedores and BAE Systems, to deliver robotics and machine learning technology. He has founded three successful start-up companies. He is Chair of the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
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