Department of Statistics

Research by staff

A wide range of research areas are represented by academic staff in the Department of Statistics. Research students and postdoctoral fellows contribute to this research at all levels and publish their research in a wide range of well known international scientific journals.

View - Staff Member Research Interests

Staff Member

Research Interests

Alan Lee Alan's research interests include the analysis of directional data, non-parametric statistics, statistical computing, the analysis of correlated categorical data, the application of capture-recapture methods to the estimation of population size, regression for response-selective sampling designs and the creation of synthtic data sets.
Andrew Sporle Novel applications of linked administrative data, social inequalities, social research methods, ethnicity/indigeneity, Māori health, Māori responsive research policy, investment and design, youth health, gastric cancer, epigenetics.
Anna-Marie Fergusson My MProfStuds (Mathematics Education) explored how teachers use informal tests to determine the fit of a probability distribution model. I developed a new informal test for the fit of a probability distribution model that incorporates sample size and the expected variation of sample proportions within my simulation-based modelling visualisation tool.
My PhD research aims to find accessible ways to introduce students to the modern art and science of learning from data. This will including building data science capabilities within the New Zealand Curriculum for Statistics.
Arden Miller Arden's current research interests include total quality managment and industrial applications of statistics.
Avinesh Pillai Avinesh's research interests include longitudinal data methods and statistical computing.
Azam Asanjarani Applied probability. Structured Markov Models. Queuing Theory. Matrix Analytic Methods. Statistics of dynamic models. Control Theory and Stability Analysis. Stochastic Modelling. Operations Research.
Beatrix Jones Gaussian Graphical Models. Multivariate methods for characterising the human diet. Modelling relationship between diet, information from high throughput biological assays (eg metabolomics) and health outcome data.
Ben Stevenson I develop statistical methods and the associated software to estimate ecological parameters of interest, usually animal abundance or density. I am currently working on new spatial capture-recapture methods, and modelling uncertain animal identification on capture-recapture surveys.
Binyamin Oz Applications of game theory, applied probability, and operations research, with special interest in analysis of strategic behavior in queuing systems.
Brendon Brewer Bayesian inference, information theory, and related topics.  Computational methods (particularly Nested Sampling).  Astrostatistics (in various fields including gravitational lensing and reverberation mapping, among others).
Bruce Weir Statistical Genetics and Genomics. Forensic Genetics.
Chris Triggs Chris' current research interests include experimental design, biometrics, and multivariate analysis.
Chris Wild Currently, his main research interests are in developing methods for modelling response-selective data (e.g. case-control studies) and missing data problems, and in statistics education with particular emphasis on visualisation, software for data analysis and conceptual dcevelpment, statistical thinking and reasoning processes.
Ciprian Giurcaneanu Statistical signal processing; Model selection; Analysis and prediction of time series; Stochastic complexity; Hypothesis testing; Graphical models.
Claudia Rivera Rodriguez My research interests follow three general themes. They are highly motivated by my PhD and my post-doctoral research experiences. My main interest focuses on two-phase sampling designs and its application to the solution of different statistical issues. Currently I am particularly interested in developing a valid statistical inference methodology that admits clustered correlated data or non-independent sampling designs. In addition to this, I am also interested in the asymptotic properties of these estimators. This is achieved with the help of empirical processes, which allow for more complex situations. My second statistical research interest is the study of efficiency for semi parametric estimators. This has been driven by the use of Cox model, and because it is necessary to quantify the loss that can result from considering semi--parametric models. My third research interest is more practical. It involves proposing strategies that help investigators carry out survey sampling designs in non-ideal conditions, specially where several logistic issues have to be accounted for. This is particularly the case in studies conducted in developing countries. This part of my research is directed by collaborative research on immunization across different countries, with applications to Honduras and Brazil. In 2012, I was awarded the University of Auckland doctoral scholarship and in May 2015 I finished my PhD studies in Statistics. After completing my PhD I was offered a Research fellow position at the departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, at Harvard University. During this 2-3 year period, I undertook a series of research projects related to two-phase designs.  
David Scott David has worked in probability theory, inference for stochastic processes, categorical data analysis, Bayesian analysis, applied statistics and statistical computing.
Currently his major research interests are in applied statistics, and statistical computing. He is the author of a number of statistical packages most of which are available on CRAN. The packages DistributionUtils, GeneralizedHyperbolic, SkewHyperbolic, VarianceGamma  and NormalLaplace provide functionality for dealing with distributions. hwriterPlus is useful for automatic report generation and reproducible research. David is also the joint author of glarma for modelling count time series and metaplot for flexible creation of forest plots (available on gitHub). He also maintains the package xtable.
Geoffrey Pritchard My research is in probability and stochastic processes, with diverse applications in social science and energy markets. I am particularly interested in the interplay of electricity markets and statistical hydrology.
George Seber Statistical ecology and the sampling of biological populations. Sampling and the analysis of survey data. Estimation of animal abundance and adaptive sampling. Medical Statistics. Statistical Ecology.
Hadley Alexander Wickham Most of my work is in the form of open source R code. You can roughly divide my work into three categories: tools for data science, tools for data import, and software engineering tools.
Heti Afimeimounga PhD title - Modelling and optimal control of Queuing Networks
Ian Tuck He has particular interests in scampi, and other shellfish fisheries, having been heavily involved in scampi assessment within the ICES system, and leading scampi research, survey and assessment activities for NIWA. He also has research experience investigating the effects of fishing on the seabed, and ecosystem indicators, and currently leads research in these areas.
Ilze Ziedins Ilze's primary research interest is the modelling, analysis and optimisation of stochastic networks, with particular application to communications networks, transportation networks, and latterly, healthcare systems.
Particular themes that she is currently working on include
Phase transitions and controls in tree loss networks
System optimal and user optimal admission and routing controls in queueing networks
Modelling and optimisation of patient flow in hospital systems.
Irene Zeng My PhD research investigated and created statistical methods in clinical proteomics. The extension from the PhD research is statistical methods and softwares in integrated "omics", which includes data analysis, pathway assisted data analysis, Bayesian method in the data analysis.
James Curran My main interests are in statistical problems in forensic science. I consult with forensic agencies in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom, and produce and maintain expert systems software for the interpretation of evidence. I have experience as an expert witness for DNA and glass evidence, appearing in courts in the United States and Australia.
In addition to my forensic interests, I have very strong interests in statistical computing, and in automation projects.
James Russell My research focuses broadly on biodiversity, biosecurity and conservation with a particular emphasis on island ecosystems.
Jesse Goodman Probability theory, including scaling of random processes; conformally invariant processes; random graphs and other random spatial structures.
Joss Cumming N/A
Judi Hewitt Coastal and estuarine marine statistical ecology. Scale dependent processes in heterogeneous environments. Analysis of spatial and temporal variation in populations and communities. Functional, community and habitat biodiversity. Biological and ecological mapping.
Katya (Kathy) Ruggiero Optimal design and analysis of two-phase experiments, particularly with application to high-throughput omics experiments, experiments involving singly replicated treatments, forensic experiments using Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). Software support for experimental design.
Maxine Pfannkuch My area of research is in statistics education. Currently I am exploring new ways of developing students' statistical inferential reasoning at the secondary school and undergraduate levels.
Mehdi Soleymani Machine learning. Bootstrap. Nonparametric. Asymptotic statistics.
Nichola Shackleton My substantive research interests include inequalities in child health, the interplay between the school environment and child health, and improving children's educational outcomes.  I use advanced quantitative methodology to analyze survey data, and now work regularly with 'big data' in the Integrated Data Infrastructure. 
Nick Shears My main research interests lie in rocky reef ecology and marine conservation. I aim to address fundamental questions in modern ecology that have clear applications to management of marine ecosystems.
Current research areas include:
Long-term change in sea surface temperature around the New Zealand coast (in collaboration with Dr Melissa Bowen, School of Environment)
Using hydrothermal vents to examine the effects of ocean acidification on reef ecosystems (in collaboration with Drs Craig Radford and Mary Sewell)
Blooms of benthic dinoflagellates (Ostreopsis) on shallow reefs (in collaboration with Dr Luisa Mangialajo, University of Nice)
Investigating long-term changes in marine reserves (Department of Conservation, eCoast Ltd) and on rocky reefs in the Hauraki Gulf (Auckland Council)
Patricia Metcalf Patricia's research interest is medical statistics.
Paul Murrell Paul's research interests include computational and graphical statistics. He is currently part of the development team for the R and Omegahat statistical computing projects.
Peter Davis Sociology of health including health inequalities
Public policy (including health policy and health services research)
Research methodology, especially indicator development, statistical techniques and survey practice
Peter Mullins Clinical trials (diabetes, antibiotics, respiratory tract infections). Statistics education. Statistical consulting. Statistical computing/software/graphics. Statistical applications in industry (Sometimes labelled "Industrial Statistics").
Rachel Fewster Currently coordinating the development of CatchIT, a data management, mapping, and analysis system for community and scientific pest control projects.
Renate Meyer Bayesian statistics.
Markov chain Monte Carlo methods.
Survival analysis, multiple events, non-and semi-parametric models.
Astrophysics, gravity waves, cosmic microwave background radiation.
State-space modelling.
Fisheries statistics.
Econometrics, financial time series, stochastic volatility models.
Longitudinal data analysis, dynamic and semiparametric models.
Rhys Jones Statistics education, especially across disciplines.
Mathematical and statistical anxiety.
Curriculum design.
Peer learning.
Emotional intelligence in education.
Quasi-experimental methods in education.
Rolf Turner His research interests are many and varied, with an emphasis on spatial point processes and on hidden Markov models.  He also has a peripheral interest in linear mixed models.  He is heavily involved in statistical computing, mainly in "R" and is a frequent contributor to the R-help mailiing list.
Ross Ihaka My principal research interests are statistical computing and graphics. One result of my research is a statistical software system called R. This is now ''all grown up'' and has taken on a life of its own.
Russell Millar Bayesian Inference.
Bayesian model comparison (information criteria).
Fisheries stock assessment and selectivity.
Population dynamics and state-space modeling.
Latent variable models.
Shanika Wickramasuriya I am interested in Computational Statistics, Time series analysis and Forecasting and especially on time series with hierarchical data structures.
Simon Harris Probability theory. Branching processes, coalescent processes, Brownian motion, Fisher-Kolmogorov-Piscounov-Petrovski (FKPP) reaction-diffusion equation, martingales.
Steffen Klaere Phylogenetic inference, population genetics, data analysis
Stephanie Budgett My primary area of research is in the field of statistics education. I am interested in improving student learning through the development of innovative tools using dynamic visual imagery in the areas of statistics and probability. A recent $130k grant from the NZ Council of Educational Research enabled me, with a colleague, to develop and trial 4 open-source software tools and associated tasks for use in the teaching and learning of probability. The design of these tools was informed by interviews that we conducted with people who use probability modelling in their daily lives, connecting education with practice. I also work collaboratively with researchers in other disciplines at the University of Auckland such as Nutrition and the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI).
Thomas Lumley Semiparametric models.
Survey sampling.
Statistical computing.
Foundations of statistics.
And whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with -- currently, multiple imputation on big datasets.
Thomas Yee Thomas' research interests are nonparametric regression and generalized linear models, with particular application to medical studies and ecology. Statistical computing is also a strong interest.
Yalu Wen My research interests primarily lie in statistical genetics. Specifically, I am interested in developing and evaluating new statistical genetic risk prediction models for both population-based and family-based studies using high-dimensional data. In parallel with this line of research, I am also interested in the development and application of new statistical methods for association analysis using next generation sequencing data.
Yannan Jiang My current research areas include: clincial trials in nutrition and physical activity, newborn and pregnant women, diabetes and heart diseases; cluster randomized trial design; national survey design and analysis, longitudinal studies and missing data problems.
Yong Wang Computational statistics. Mixture models. Survival analysis. Data mining.

View - Broad research interests

Areas of current research activity Research staff
Analysis of circular and spherical data
Bayesian inference
Case-control sampling and extension
Experimental design
Fitting statistical models to population density data 
Forensic statistics
High-throughput biological data
Improvement and industrial statistics
Longitudinal data and correlated responses
Markov chain Monte Carlo methods
Medical Statistics
Mixed models
Multivariate analysis and modelling
Nonparametric methods and regression
Operations research
Probability and statistical physics
Sampling and the analysis of survey data
Statistical computing and the "R" statistical programming language
Statistical ecology and animal abundance
Statistics education
Stochastic processes / applied probability
Time series analysis