van der Schaar Lab

van der Schaar Lab congratulates Alexis Bellot on doctoral defense, graduation

Following 4 years of impactful and innovative research and a successful defense of his doctoral thesis earlier this year, Alexis Bellot will graduate from the van der Schaar Lab and take on a postdoctoral position within Columbia University’s Department of Computer Science.

Alexis joined the lab as a PhD student in 2017, under the supervision of Mihaela van der Schaar and affiliated with the University of Cambridge and The Alan Turing Institute. His research has consistently focused on causal inference, hypothesis testing, and its applications, most notably in healthcare.

Through his work, Alexis has sought to broaden the use of causal insights to improve the robustness and interpretability of machine learning algorithms, as well as extend existing causal inference and causal discovery algorithms to handle modern heterogeneous datasets that inevitably manifest many complexities for algorithm development (such as high-dimensionality, biases, and missing data).

Alexis was awarded the G-research PhD competition prize in 2019, and has had a number of his papers accepted at the top conferences in machine learning and AI—including 4 papers at AISTATS, 2 papers at NeurIPS, 1 paper at ICML, and 2 papers at UAI. Alexis has also published articles introducing real-world clinical applications of his methods in a range of journals, including Diabetes Care, ACM Transactions on Computing for Healthcare, and the IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics.

To view all of Alexis’ papers, please see the lab’s publications page.

In his thesis, entitled “Hypothesis testing and causal inference with heterogeneous medical data,” Alexis investigated how modern computational techniques may broaden the fields of hypothesis testing and causal inference to handle the subtleties of large heterogeneous data sets, as well as simultaneously improve the robustness and theoretical understanding of machine learning algorithms using insights from causality and statistics.

In June 2021, Alexis was awarded his doctorate by the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge following a successful defense of his thesis.

My time with the lab has equipped me to fight for my research in the most diverse circumstances: with funders, clinicians, bioinformaticians, computer scientists, and mathematicians. It’s honed my ability to present, debate, and convey my research in such a way as to make someone think, “This is new, this is interesting, and I want to learn more.”

– Alexis Bellot
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Later this year, Alexis will join Elias Bareinboim’s research group in a postdoctoral role at the Computer Science department at Columbia. While his research will continue to focus on causal inference, hypothesis testing, and its applications, Alexis also hopes to use this time to continue to develop personally and professionally as a researcher, teacher, and supervisor.

Mihaela van der Schaar and the lab’s researchers would like to wholeheartedly congratulate Alexis on his graduation, thank him for his immeasurable contributions to the life and work of the lab, and wish him the very best of luck in his new role.

As one of the dominant forces driving progress in a burgeoning area, the van der Schaar Lab continues to grow its research team. Six PhD students joined the lab in October 2020, a new postdoc started in April 2021, and the 2021 intake of researchers will be announced in the coming months.

To see a full list of our current research team members, click here.

Nick Maxfield

Nick oversees the van der Schaar Lab’s communications, including media relations, content creation, and maintenance of the lab’s online presence.

Nick studied Japanese (BA Hons.) at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2012. Nick previously worked in HQ communications roles at Toyota (2013-2016) and Nissan (2016-2020).

Given his humanities/languages background and experience in communications, Nick is well-positioned to highlight and explain the real-world impact of research that can often be quite esoteric. Thankfully, he is comfortable asking almost endless questions in order to understand a topic.