Doctoral student Mai GhannamDoctoral student Mai Ghannam won the Probability Section Presentation Award at the Statistical Society of Canada’s 2021 meeting.

Research presentation wins national notice for stats student

Doctoral student Mai Ghannam (BSc 2014, MSc 2016) won the Probability Section Presentation Award at the 2021 Statistical Society of Canada meeting with her research in high and ultra-high dimensional data, which have applications into how regions of the brain are connected to disease.

Ghannam’s presentation, “Shrinkage Estimators in Tensor Regression with Change-Points,” won the award June 8. Her research involves generalizing the classical regression model and estimation to multi-dimensional structures known as tensors.

“Applications to our research, for example, include the ability to pinpoint a possible relationship between certain brain regions and a disease state such as ADHD and Alzheimer’s, by applying our methods to three-dimensional neuro-imaging data,” she says.

Sévérien Nkurunziza, a professor of mathematics and statistics and Ghannam’s supervisor, says it is very challenging to win this competition.

“The student needs to highlight the probabilistic aspects of the work and in Mai’s case, her main contributions are expected to improve the statistical analysis of neuro-imaging data — these are important contributions,” says Dr. Nkurunziza.

“I would like to highlight the fact that, for the last 16 years, this is the first time one of our students has won an SSC student research presentation award and thus, as Mai’s thesis supervisor, I am very happy with her accomplishment.”

Ghannam receives a certificate and cash prize of $750.