van der Schaar Lab

The van der Schaar Lab congratulates Yao Zhang on his Graduation

The van der Schaar Lab is delighted to announce the graduation of PhD student Yao Zhang.

Yao first joined the lab in 2019, under the supervision of Mihaela van der Schaar. His PhD research has focused on conditional causal inference, answering questions about personalised treatment effects, and about handling complex experimental designs.

Through his PhD over the past 4 years, Yao has been working on practical methods that can collect and combine statistical evidence in different parts of an experiment to test a global effect of interest, how to estimate conditional average treatment effects, and how to convert black box estimates into interpretable data.

Furthermore, Yao has also worked on projects on Bayesian Optimisation, Deep Kernel Learning, Self- and Semi-supervised learning, Uncertainty Quantification, Data Imputation, and more – publishing 12 papers in the process, presenting at renowned conferences such as AISTATS and NeurIPS. You can find all of Yao’s publications here.

All of this work has culminated in Yao’s Ph.D. thesis, entitled “Topics in conditional causal inference.” Yao was awarded his doctorate by the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge.

Where are you going next?

“I will be moving to Stanford University as a postdoctoral researcher and continue my passion for research in statistics, machine learning, and their fascinating applications.”

How did your time with the van der Schaar Lab shape you as a researcher?

“I appreciate the diverse talent in the lab. Collaborating with my colleagues during my PhD has been continuously inspiring me to be more innovative and creative. At the same time, Mihaela gave me the freedom to develop my own research; helping me to grow into an independent researcher. Working with her and her diverse interests, desire, and courage in trying new things, opened my eyes to many interesting research areas and applications. This inspired me to pursue a long-term research career.”

If you could, what would you tell your younger self?

“I would tell my younger self to respect the existing research and don’t take it for granted! Enjoy the new research but don’t forget the underlying principles.”

“Mihaela gave me the freedom to develop my own research; helping me to grow into an independent researcher.”

Yao Zhang

Google Scholar

Mihaela van der Schaar and the lab’s researchers would like to wholeheartedly congratulate Yao 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 with Stanford University.

As one of the dominant forces driving progress in a burgeoning area, the van der Schaar Lab continues to grow its research team.

To see a full list of our current research team members, click here. To inquire about PhD studentships, visit this page.

Andreas Bedorf