PhD in Epidemiology and Clinical Research

PhD Students

2019 Cohort

Xiaojuan Liu, MS obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Preventive Medicine and a BS in Financial Mathematics in 2016, and graduated with a Master's degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 2019 from Shandong University, China. She completed her Global Learning program at Duke Kunshan University and internships at Provincial Health Commission, Provincial CDC and local hospitals before coming to Stanford. Her research interest includes cardiovascular epidemiology, with a focus on risk assessment, disease prevention and prediction based on large longitudinal cohort studies, and casual inference, especially adopting cutting edge approaches to simulate randomization and generate causality from observational study. She also has passion in applying novel biostatistics models to dealing with nonstandard study designs, integrating heterogeneous data and promoting precision medicine. Alongside research and work, Xiaojuan enjoys singing, movies, exercising and traveling.

Yan Min completed her medical training and surgical residency at Peking University, Beijing, as an undergraduate student. She then pursued her master’s degree in health economics at Stanford University. She took a gap year during the master program working as a health policy analyst in the health finance cluster at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. After she returned from Geneva, Yan also took a leadership role in establishing the Wellness Living Laboratory Cohort at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. Yan is extremely passionate about rigorous causal inference theories and applying causal inference models to large-scale observational studies. She currently focuses on constructing a causal model to address the effects of surgeon volumes and hospital volumes on long-term patient outcomes in six cardiothoracic surgery procedures. On the side, she is also having fun in statistical learning and employing bioinformatic methodology to her studies of microbiome, metabolomics, and human health. Outside of work, Yan enjoys karate, photography, backpacking, and carpentry. Also, she is willing to take on any challengers on any racket sports.

Megan Roche, MD completed a medical degree from Stanford in 2018 and a BS in Neuroscience from Duke in 2012. She is interested in bone health in athletes, genetic predictors of sports injury, and sports epidemiology. Megan is a five-time trail running national champion and a co-author of the book, “The Happy Runner.” She co-founded Some Work All Play, a coaching group centered around finding long-term fulfillment in the process of running. Megan is pursuing her PhD in Epidemiology and is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Stanford Center on Longevity. Outside of work, Megan enjoys biking, reading, strong coffee, nearly all forms of music, and trying to keep up with her dog, Addie, and her husband and co-author, David.

2018 Cohort

Sindiso Nyathi graduated from Princeton University in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  He spent two years working as a Systems Modeler at the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins University.  His work with the GOPC focused on assessing the effectiveness of obesity-related interventions in communitites using systems science tools.  His research interests include Global Health, Infectious Disease modeling and Health Policy in Low and Middle Income Countries.  Sindiso is passionate about working to leverage the range of mathematical and computational tools available today to improve public health and combat disease in LMICs.  His current research includes vaccine policy work, mathematical modeling of temperature dependence of arthropod vectors and vector control modeling work.  Outside of class and research, Sindiso enjoys reading, swimming, photography and exploring the outdoors.

Biyao Zou graduated with a Bachelor of Economics and a BA in English Literature from Tsinghua University, China, and obtained her Master of Public Policy at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. Before joining the PhD program in Epidemiology and Clinical Research, she worked as a research coordinator in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Stanford, where she studied the disease and economic burden and risk factors of liver disease in the United States and Asia. She has given oral and poster presentations at international conferences such as DDW, AASLD, and EASL. Currently, she focuses on identifying causal risk factors for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and the causal role of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in various diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer using a genetic epidemiology approach. Biyao enjoys cooking, hiking and spending time with her labradoodle puppy.

2017 Cohort

Jessica Hinman completed an undergraduate program at the University of Southern California in 2010 and obtained a MS in Epidemiology at the University of Iowa in 2017 prior to joining the PhD program at Stanford. Her research centers around leveraging technology to improve design and analysis methods in the study of complex disease etiology, particularly with respect to progressive neurological disorders. She feels that an interdisciplinary approach is crucial to untangling the interactions between genetic risk, environmental exposures, and lifestyle factors that underpin these disease courses. She believes epidemiologic research must be motivated by, and grounded in, measurable improvements to health access, equity, and outcomes for patients. Outside of work, Jessica enjoys reading, hiking, eating, and spending time with her husband and their rescue dogs at their home in the East Bay.

Eileen B. Leary is a tenacious sleep nerd with over 20 years of research and data analysis experience. She began her career as a sleep technologist at UCSF before transitioning to data science and obtaining her Master in Epidemiology and Clinical Research from Stanford. As the Senior Manager of Clinical Research at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, Eileen is directing a project to improve the understanding of the genetic basis of sleep and sleep disorders by creating a large cohort and making the data freely available to the scientific community. Eileen is pursuing her PhD with the goal of improving the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders through machine learning.

Tahmina Nasserie graduated with a Bachelor's of Science and Master's of Public Health from the University of Toronto. Prior to joining the PhD program, she worked as an epidemiologist at BlueDot, a start-up focused on reducing the risk of global infectious disease spread. In this role, she was involved in a range of applied and research-based activities, including collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support the development of a web-based public health analysis tool. She was also a trainee with the Canadian Immunization Research Network and led a project using mathematical modeling approaches to forecast the epidemic spread of seasonal influenza. Tahmina is broadly interested in the application of computational, statistical, and mathematical techniques to understand the spread of infectious diseases and to assess the cost-effectiveness of epidemiologic interventions. Tahmina enjoys brewing coffee (as well as drinking it), cooking, and trying new restaurants. She also loves cycling, exploring California, and traveling.

2016 Cohort

Stylianos (Stelios) Serghiou joined the PhD program in Epidemiology and Clinical Research in 2016. After spending two years as a second lieutenant for the National Guard of Cyprus, he attended the University of Edinburgh, where he obtained a BSc with Honors in Neuroscience in 2012 and received his medical degree (MBChB) with Honors in 2015. He was then awarded a post and worked for a year as an Academic Foundation Doctor for NHS Lothian and as an Honorary Clinical Fellow of the University of Edinburgh. Over his time in Edinburgh, he obtained multiple awards, including scholarships by the Royal College of Physicians of UK and Ireland, Royal College of Ophthalmologists and being an AMGEN scholar. He is moving to Stanford to work on his interests in improving the quality of medical research and exploring the application of novel computational techniques to analyzing big data in medicine.  Alongside medicine, he is especially interested in music and had served with his violin as the leader of the National Youth Orchestra of Cyprus and a first violin of the University of Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Christophe Toukam Tchakoute joined the epidemiology PhD program in 2016. He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry and molecular cell biology at the University of Cape Town (South Africa). After working in an immunology lab in Cape Town and Seattle for two years where he did research on vaccines strategies for HIV-exposed neonates, He did an internship in the HIV /AIDS department at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Switzerland. Before coming to Stanford, Christophe completed his MpH in infectious disease epidemiology at Columbia University in New York City, in May 2016. His research interests include HIV/Tuberculosis prevention and clinical trials. He is also particularly eager to learn how to use novel statistical methods in the context of clinical research. Christophe enjoys going to live music festivals, playing Jambo drums and doing outdoor physical activities.

Yuan Jin Tan graduated with a B.S. in Biology (Microbes & Immunity) from Stanford University in 2016. Originally from an experimental virology background, YJ joined the PhD program in Epidemiology & Clinical Research to pursue his interest in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of translational medical research. He is currently working with the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS) and SPARK Translational Research at Stanford to develop and implement some of his ideas. YJ is particularly interested in identifying best practices for research and designing more effective funding strategies for academic drug development. In his free time, YJ can often be found volunteering for non-profits, exploring the bay area, or prancing around his kitchen pretending to be a professional chef.

2015 Cohort

Katherine Holsteen is a fourth-year graduate student in the Epidemiology & Clinical Research PhD and Statistics MS programs.  She is interested in contributing to health improvement through mobile technology, robust statistical analysis, and personalized medicine.  She completed her BS in Mathematical & Computational Science at Stanford in 2014.  As an undergraduate, she helped build statistical software to evaluate and promote model robustness in sociological studies.  Currently for her primary dissertation project, she is working with Professor Lorene Nelson to conduct a mobile-app based study on the triggers of episodic migraine headaches at the group and person (n-of-1) level.  Katherine enjoys spending time with her husband Aaron, and particularly running, cooking, and exploring the beautiful Bay Area together.

Kathleen (Katie) Watson, MS received a BA in psychology and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies at New York University.  From 2007 to 2012 she served as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Microclinic International (MCI), during which time the organization established public health programs in Jordan, India, Kenya, and the United States. Katie currently serves MCI as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and as a research investigator.  In 2015, she received an MS in Epidemiology at Columbia University while managing research operations at the Stanford Center for Neuroscience and Women’s Health (SCWNH). Katie is currently a PhD candidate in Epidemiology and Clinical Research. Her research interests include global health, chronic disease management and epidemiologic methods including longitudinal data analysis, and network analysis/complex systems.

Not Pictured

Matthew Sigurdson (2017 cohort)