Qian Zhao

Qian Zhao

Postdoctoral Scholar in Biomedical Data Science

Stanford University

About me

I am a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford Biomedical Data Science advised by Professor Chiara Sabatti, studying genetic underpinnings of severe mental disorders. My research aims to pinpoint important genetic variants, identify similar and different factors underlying several mental disorders, and construct polygenic risk scores that applies to a diverse population.

I completed my PhD in Statistics at Stanford University in 2021, advised by Professor Emmanuel Candès. My dissertation studied how to infer model coefficients in a high-dimensional generalized linear model. High-dimension refers to the situation when the number of variables is large, or even comparable to the number of observations. Standard statistical methods often exhibit surprising behavior in this setting, and my research develops statistical theory and methods to achieve valid inference in the high-dimensional setting.

I am passionate about data science education, and I am particularly interested in exploring research-based methods, and evaluating their effectiveness in teaching data science. I have served as a technical mentor at Stanford Data Science for Social Good summer program, where I led a team of 3–4 fellows to tackle a data science project with positive social impact over eight weeks. I have written a guide for data science for good mentors. I am a mentor and outcomes officer at Stanford Future Advancers of Science and Technology, where graduate students mentor high school students on science projects of their interest and present their work at state and local science fairs and an annual symposium at Stanford.

In my free time, I enjoy reading, hiking and baking.

Download my CV .

  • High-dimensional statistical inference
  • Nonparametric density estimation
  • Statistical genetics
  • Data science education
  • PhD in Statistics, 2021

    Stanford University

  • MS in Statistics, 2016

    The University of Chicago

  • BSc in Physics, 2014

    Fudan University, Shanghai, China


(2019). Exploratory Gene Ontology Analysis with Interactive Visualization. Sci Rep 9(1):7793.

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(2018). QFMatch: multidimensional flow and mass cytometry samples alignment. Sci Rep 8, 3291.

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Technical Mentor
Jun 2022 – Aug 2022 California
I guided a team of student fellows to tackle data science projects with positive social impact in the course of eight weeks. In this project, we collaborated with journalists from the California reporting project to identify behavioral health conditions in police encounters. Final presentation slides.
Technical Mentor
Jun 2021 – Aug 2021 California
In this project, we partnered with San Francisco Unified School District to develop an equity tie breaker and evaluate its effect on improving equity in elementary student assignment. Final presentation slides.
Teaching Assistant
Stanford University, Department of Statistics
Sep 2016 – Jun 2021 California

I have served as teaching assistant for the following courses. I received a Departmental Teaching Assistant Award in June 2020.

  • Biostatistics, Winter 2021, Fall 2018
  • Applied multivariate analysis, Winter 2020
  • Statistical methods in engineering and the physical sciences, Fall 2020, Spring 2017
  • Introduction to statistical methods, Summer 2020
  • Data science 101, Spring 2020
  • Advanced statistical theory, Spring 2019
  • Modern applied statistics: learning, Winter 2019
  • Riding the data wave, Fall 2019
  • Theory of statistics, Spring 2018
  • Introduction to statistical learning, Winter 2018
  • Data mining and analysis, Fall 2016, Summer 2017